SENIOR council officials yesterday welcomed news of a £47m investment in North Yorkshire but said they will be pushing for even more money in the future.

The cash is coming from Yorkshire Forward and will be spent on the economic development of the county over the next five years.

It will be used to help new businesses set up, promote North Yorkshire as a tourist destination, provide workspace and regenerate market towns.

County council officers say the idea is to regenerate the economy and create jobs and sustainable communities.

But Gordon Gresty, director of business and community services, said the authority needs even more money because of the problems associated with working in such a large, rural area.

He said: "£47m sounds a lot of money and we welcome it." But he added: "We think we should get a larger proportion of the money for North Yorkshire because we believe that the difficulties of providing services in large rural areas are not very often reflected

"We need to use the money carefully and use it to make sure that it creates the jobs and the possibilities that it is supposed to.

"We will obviously be pushing for a larger amount next time."

Councillor Carl Les, executive member for economic development, has warned that further challenges lay ahead for the area.

He said: "The county council, together with the City of York Council and other partners has worked hard to win this funding commitment from Yorkshire Forward and to increase the planned investment compared with earlier proposals.

"So we welcome the agreement on new development priorities in our market towns, the coalfield and along the coast.

"There are many new business opportunities to develop and we aim to support that process. But there are also many challenges to our county, particularly the rural and coastal economies.

"It is important to recognise the higher costs of delivering services in rural area.

"The county council will therefore continue to press for increasing investment in the rural and coastal economies in order to help maintain our competitive position compared with the rest of the region."