Last Monday, January 27, a joint meeting of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committees of Rother Council discussed the draft revenue budget proposals for the year commencing April 2014.
Alarmingly, the Conservative Cabinet had already approved a recommendation reducing Tourist Information provision by 54% from £ 65,000 to just £30,000. In a revenue budget of £ 11,983,480 (almost twelve million pounds), this represents a saving of just 0.03%. That’s a saving of just £ 1 for every £ 3,000 spent.
I believe this cut to be economically flawed and seriously counter-productive. Tourism revenue in terms of guest houses, restaurants, cafés and local shops in Bexhill, Battle and Rye is worth millions of pounds per year. It’s a major source of local employment. We need to enhance the local Tourist experience, not hinder it.
As a graduate in Economics with a private sector business background, I would advocate an increase in this tiny budget as opposed to a massive cut. My aim would be to ensure that there’s a Tourist Enquiry Point with a face to face response in Bexhill, Battle and Rye.
Sadly, Rother Conservatives seem to forget that their Council’s aim is to benefit the people they represent. They also seem to lack the economic literacy to grasp what economists describe as “cost-benefit analysis.” In essence, that requires an assessment of the wider picture.