DCMS to spend £2 million replacing "boring" boundary signs on the back of the Olympics

July 18, 2012 3:00 PM

With only ten days to go until the Olympic opening ceremony and London already grinding to a halt, it will be months until we know the true cost of hosting the Games.

But the direct costs of stadia, accommodation and security aren’t the only things for which taxpayers have to pick up the tab; lots of hidden costs are cropping up too. Only yesterday the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced plans to revamp county boundary signs in Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Norfolk and North Yorkshire “to boost the country’s tourism industry on the back of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”. These six counties have been selected for a pilot scheme which is estimated to cost taxpayers a cool £2 million.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State in charge of the department, says the current signs are too boring and just aren’t enticing enough for tourists. But a picture of a windmill on a motorway sign marking the border for, say, Norfolk is hardly going to stop drivers from taking their holidays in Thailand or Tenerife. It’s this sort of naivety that inevitably means massive bills for taxpayers. Throwing money at unenticing signage won’t suddenly ignite the tourist industry in destinations across the UK.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to fork out £2 million just because the minister finds the signs “boring”. If he’s right, let the local businesses who would supposedly benefit from a change pay for them. Why not approach private businesses to help cover the costs - because if they really believe they will benefit from the increased tourism they’ll surely help. Throwing more taxpayers’ money at projects in the name of the Olympics is insulting to taxpayers. The Government needs to be more imaginative in how it funds these schemes instead of always fleecing taxpayers for their pet projects.With only ten days to go until the Olympic opening ceremony and London already grinding to a halt, it will be months until we know the true cost of hosting the Games.

But the direct costs of stadia, accommodation and security aren’t the only things for which taxpayers have to pick up the tab; lots of hidden costs are cropping up too. Only yesterday the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced plans to revamp county boundary signs in Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Norfolk and North Yorkshire “to boost the country’s tourism industry on the back of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”. These six counties have been selected for a pilot scheme which is estimated to cost taxpayers a cool £2 million.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State in charge of the department, says the current signs are too boring and just aren’t enticing enough for tourists. But a picture of a windmill on a motorway sign marking the border for, say, Norfolk is hardly going to stop drivers from taking their holidays in Thailand or Tenerife. It’s this sort of naivety that inevitably means massive bills for taxpayers. Throwing money at unenticing signage won’t suddenly ignite the tourist industry in destinations across the UK.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to fork out £2 million just because the minister finds the signs “boring”. If he’s right, let the local businesses who would supposedly benefit from a change pay for them. Why not approach private businesses to help cover the costs - because if they really believe they will benefit from the increased tourism they’ll surely help. Throwing more taxpayers’ money at projects in the name of the Olympics is insulting to taxpayers. The Government needs to be more imaginative in how it funds these schemes instead of always fleecing taxpayers for their pet projects.

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