Sir Gary Verity has been sacked by the Yorkshire Tourism development company “Welcome to Yorkshire”. Sir Gary left the company on Friday citing “health” reasons.
An article in today’s Sunday Time puts more flesh on the bones of the announcement.
It includes worrying allegations of bullying and expenses irregularities.
Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) replaced the Yorkshire Tourist Board which used to have its headquarters in York on Tadcaster Road. WTY moved out and currently lets the Tadcaster Road building to another organisation. Its registered office address is now in Leeds.
Tourism in York is run via “Visit York” which in turn is partly funded by the “Make it York” Quango. Over £1 million a year is paid by York taxpayers to that organisation. It is not however directly linked with WTY.
York does get some benefits from WTY publicity. A local race meeting has been sponsored and some advertising has taken place at the railway station.
Welcome to Yorkshire receives grants from both central and local government. Its Board includes four Councillors (3 Tory and 1 Labour). They are Carl Les (North Yorkshire), Richard Cooper (Harrogate), Stephen Parnaby (East Yorkshire) and Steve Brady (Hull)
Other Board members mainly have business backgrounds. The Chair is Ron McMillan who was formerly with Price Waterhouse.
Two other Directors left the company in March
WTY is a private company limited by guarantee. Its detailed expenditure – and income – is largely opaque. However, it is most widely known for sponsorship of sporting events. These include cycle races. cricket and horse racing. The level of hospitality associated with these events is likely to be the subject of conjecture over the next few days.
WTY had a turnover of just over £4 million in the year to March 2018 (the last figures available).
About half this went on the cost of employing 46 staff. One Director – understood to be Sir Gary – received £243,453 .
WTY reported a profit of £251,173 in the year.
As a private company Welcome to Yorkshire is not subject to Freedom of Information legislation.
However with a significant part of its income coming from taxpayers, many will feel that more transparency is required in its dealings.