Scottish councillor raises doubts over value of public money spent on Glasgow: Scotland with Style

A Scottish National Party leader in Glasgow has spoken of his ‘real reservations’ over the city council’s investment in one of the yachts Glasgow: Scotland with Style in the Clipper Round the World Race, claiming it was ‘hard to measure the real benefits that participation supposedly brings.’

A total of £805,000 will be spent on running costs for the vessel, £300,000 of which is being funded by the city council. However, officials claimed continued participation in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race would generate millions in publicity for the city.

Councillor John Mason, the leader of the opposition and councillor for Garrowhill is quoted as saying: ‘I have some real reservations about the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. It seems very hard to measure the real benefits that participation supposedly brings. It’s often said by the council that taking part raises the city’s profile. I would think the administration may struggle to tell me the business or a group of visitors that have come to the city after seeing the ship. I also wonder about the image the ship sends out of the city as it seems to come last all the time. In the grand scheme of things, £100,000 per year may not be huge money but I am not enthusiastic.’

According to a council approved report, the 33,000-mile race generated more than £14m in media exposure in the UK in 2002 and is expected to trigger around £56m in coverage for the 2005-06 event.

B&Q and its parent company Kingfisher reportedly paid around £10m to sponsor Ellen McArthur’s around-the-world sailing campaigns. Independent assessments suggest the sponsorship has generated media exposure for the company worth up to £150m.

The Glasgow: Scotland with Style clipper is currently in eighth place, 88 miles behind New York, with 3,500 miles to go on the 5,600-mile section of the race across the Pacific from Qingdao, China, to Victoria, Canada.