Wednesday 08th February 2023,
North Yorks Enquirer

VINDICATED: “DLUHC £1m Deception” Claim

Vindicated: “DLUHC £1m Deception” Claim

North Yorks Enquirer Harbours correspondent ALLAN ROBERTS responds to mistaken criticism of an earlier article, providing full clarification of figures quoted.

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Readers may recall a piece written by me and published on the North Yorks Enquirer on 14th December 2022.

The article covered what, in my view, was a deceptive data-set published by the Scarborough Town Deal Board (STDB) in their Business Plan for the West Pier ‘Regeneration’ Plan.

That Business Plan was submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Homes & Communities (DLUHC), and was clearly intended to persuade the DLUHC to part with £5m on the grounds that the fishing industry was in [quote]Gradual decline” and to justify a ‘Case for Change’ at Scarborough Harbour:

1.3 Project Objectives and Case for Change

Scarborough’s fleet of 35 local and 23 visiting vessels landed 851.7 tonnes of product in 2020, which generated revenues of £2.8m from fishing and associated revenues of £300,000.  

The benefit of fishing to local economy is in excess of £3.1m a year. Scarborough’s standing as a key fishing port, and its legacy as a whitefish port have been in gradual decline with the reduction of its whitefish fleet.

I provided evidence to show that the Business Plan data, when compared to data published on the SBC website by the Borough Harbour Master, showed a discrepancy of £1.1m.

However, I have since been alerted to this comment on a social media platform regarding the data used in my article.

Ever mindful of the SBC’s policy of “openness and transparency”, I have revisited the Scarborough Borough Council website and downloaded the Harbour Masters returns for the Calendar Year of 1st January to 31st December 2020.

For convenience, I have highlighted the relevant columns in green:

Using the data published above, these are the total year-end figures for the Calendar Year of 2020.

  • Total Weight = 509 tonnes
  • Total Value = £2,330,561

I was surprised to find that this data, too, did not match the data published in the Scarborough Town Deal Board Business Plan as:

“Scarborough’s fleet of 35 local and 23 visiting vessels landed 851.7 tonnes of product in 2020, which generated revenues of £2.8m from fishing and associated revenues of £300,000. ” 

The Total Weight landed was 509 tonnesnot 851.7 tonnes… a discrepancy of 342.7 tonnes.

The Total Value of those landings was £2,330,561, not £2.8m… a discrepancy of  £469,439.

So, we have now two sets of data; one based on a ‘fiscal’ year favoured by the Borough Harbour Master (in accordance with standard Council practice), and the other based on the Calendar Year, neither of which is accurate.

It is apparent that whichever set of data one chooses to use, there is a discrepancy of either £1.1m or £469,439.

Not exactly petty cash.

It is apparent also, that none of the data matches the information provided to the Department for Levelling Up, Homes & Communities, by the Scarborough Town Deal Board (STDB) within its Business Plan.

My view is that I stand by my earlier criticism of the Scarborough Town Deal Board, which remains justified, in that:

  • the data contained within the West Pier Business Plan is incorrect and misleading and therefore renders that Business Plan to be invalid;
  • that the Scarborough Town Deal Board and its inaccurate Business Plan are not fit for purpose;
  • that the bar graph below, covering the last 17 years, does not indicate a fishing industry in ‘gradual decline’, as the Scarborough Town Deal Board claims, and this despite the problems of COVID 19, and the recent and continuing shellfish die-off associated with the Teesside dredging pollution.

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