Tour de Yorkshire under threat as organiser requests bail-out

Welcome to Yorkshire is in financial difficulty and has faced controversy in recent years

Stage one of the Women's Tour de Yorkshire 2019 (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour de Yorkshire is under threat as the organisers are seeking a financial bail-out.

Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism board responsible for organising the popular British race, is requesting a further £1.4million public money and says it will have to consider closure if the money cannot be raised.

Director of the private company, Peter Box, has written to councils in Yorkshire asking for a cash injection but has been met with resistance from politicians, The Yorkshire Post reports.

Welcome to Yorkshire has faced controversy and financial difficulty recently, including CEO Gary Verity resigning last year amid an expenses and bullying scandal.

In a letter published by The Yorkshire Post this week, Box said taxpayer money was needed to support Welcome to Yorkshire for the rest of the financial year, until a new funding system could be found.

But the leader of Rydedale Council, Keane Duncan, responded saying his authority would not be offering up its £33,000 share, suggesting that Welcome to Yorkshire should fold in order to be replaced by a new tourism body.

Hambleton Council leader Mark Robson agreed, withholding £53,000 and saying he needs more evidence of where the money is going.

He said: ”I am not prepared to put something into an organisation that I am not sure will be around in the next financial year.”

Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Verity resigned in March last year, citing health reason and admitting he had “made errors of judgement regarding his expenses”.

The findings of an independent investigation identified £26,000 of expenses had been claimed for “personal” items without a business justification. £25,800 of this total were claims related to Verity and the 55-year-old has since voluntarily repaid £25,000 to the organisation.

Concerns were also raised over Verity’s behaviour towards staff, although Welcome to Yorkshire said these matters were not directly linked to his departure.

Verity was a key figure in bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014 and in running the Tour de Yorkshire, which was set up the following year as part of the legacy of the Tour’s Grand Départ.

In November last year, news emerged that Welcome to Yorkshire had 12 months to repay a £500,000 rescue loan given to them by councils to prevent its collapse.

>>> Tour de France director gives update on safety measures for fans and riders 

The privately-run organisation, which has received millions in public funding, runs the Tour de Yorkshire alongside Tour de France organiser ASO.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1