The future of Yorkshire Forward discussed –

The future of Yorkshire Forward discussed Published:  20 July, 2009

A SENIOR Conservative politician has told Grimsby’s seafood industry that they will get a less bureaucratic avenue to funding for major projects should his party win the General Election next year.

Lord Michael Bates, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and shadow regional government minister, met the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association chief executive Steve Norton and the two co-chairman Chris Sparkes and Mike Woods at the weekend to discuss the future of Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency.

A £5-million modernisation plan for Grimsby Fish Market and a similar scheme to build a new seafood processing village are currently awaiting a funding decision from Yorkshire Forward.

But Victoria Ayling, the Grimsby Conservative candidate who will be opposing Austin Mitchell at the election, said one of the biggest issues with the agency was that it showed a bias towards Yorkshire (Grimsby is in Lincolnshire) and it was a cumbersome and unwieldy organisation to deal with.

Steve Norton said: “We had a very constructive meeting. Lord Bates took note of concerns regarding Yorkshire Forward and their role in facilitating expansion and business funding opportunities. He also acknowledged that for far too long the seafood industry had suffered because of lengthy bureaucratic procedures and it was refreshing to hear that he will introduce a simpler, locally managed and answerable structure.”

Lord Bates said afterwards that he was interested to know more about the fishing industry and has accepted an invitation from the FMA to return to visit the Grimsby auction and meet processors.