What Welcome To Yorkshire need to do to rebuild trust after Sir Gary Verity scandal – Yorkshire Post letters

Sir Gary Verity has resigned as chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Sir Gary Verity has resigned as chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
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From: Susan Briggs, Director, The Tourism Network, Millgate, Masham.

I AGREE with Jayne Dowle’s recent opinion piece on several points – Welcome To Yorkshire’s hard-working team has done much good work, we should all now take an interest in what happens next at WTY and we should all take any opportunity we can to promote Yorkshire.

Sir Gary Verity’s shadow looms large as Welcome To York hosts muted 10th anniversary celebrations

However, I take issue with some of her other points. My inbox contains numerous emails from people (including business owners) who felt ‘bullied’. “Less-than-gentlemanly behaviour” is a terrible understatement and underplays the victims’ suffering. Some have still not recovered.

Welcome to Yorkshire has now said there will be investigations into both the expenses claims and the allegations of poor behaviour towards staff. But following recent comments by WTY’s chair Ron McMillan, I disagree that we must ‘trust the existing board to ensure that as far as possible, it’s business as usual’. ‘Business as usual’ is the last thing we need and will lead to WTY’s demise.

The existing board has not shown an ability to impose checks and balances to ensure good governance and value for money for the taxpayer and business owners.

A review is necessary and we need to all be made aware of the outcome. Rebuilding trust is essential.

Your columnist says WTY has promoted Yorkshire ‘without generous central government support’. This is not true. The Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire wasn’t attracted solely through Sir Gary Verity’s ‘charm’.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport provided £10m towards the Tour de France. There has been other government funding. There has also been more than generous local government funding for Welcome to Yorkshire – several millions in fact.

WTY has played a strong role in transforming the image of Yorkshire. However, we should not forget the role played by the many new and exciting attractions, accommodation and activity businesses in the area, nor the marketing activities undertaken by smaller organisations, local tourism officers and business owners.

The industry is made up of thousands of businesses and organisations who all play their part. I’d argue that we can all now be much more successful by establishing more meaningful industry collaborations.

I’m not sure how much Sir Gary did for the cause of One Yorkshire devolution. He may have had his own related aspirations. Many think a One Yorkshire is more likely now that he has resigned.

Cycling tourism has brought pleasure to millions and some economic benefit to the region, but there is a growing body of people who feel strongly it has overshadowed support for other forms of tourism in Yorkshire. It has also acted as a smokescreen which meant few questions were asked, resulting in the current situation.

Sir Gary’s departure will not stop TDY from happening in future, but there may need to be consideration of whether it might be desirable to create an arms-length body to run it, leaving WTY to look at other sectors of tourism.

I’d agree that Sir Gary instilled self-confidence in Yorkshire. I don’t think we will lose that with his departure. Some organisations and individuals felt undermined by him – now they may flourish.

WTY was never just Sir Gary – his tenure was thanks to having a very talented, hard-working team behind him.

I’m looking forward to meeting with some of them to talk about the next steps.

Yorkshire tourism is also not just WTY – it’s a myriad of businesses, a plethora of organisations and people committed to its future.

Redefining ‘moderate’

From: Brian Nugent, Pecket Well Mill, Hebden Bridge.

ACCORDING to Jayne Dowle (The Yorkshire Post, April 1), “ultra-left” polices are apparently building council houses and taking back into public ownership utilities and infrastructure companies.

I presume therefore that homelessness, and the repeated collapses of large firms built 
on public money, are moderation? Or perhaps illegal wars such as Iraq?

Jayne then goes on to blow smoke for Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader. It is well to remember that the man at the centre of the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown disunity, undermining Ed Miliband and now Jeremy Corbyn, was – and is – none other than Tom Watson!

Keep your moderation Jayne, you’re welcome to it.

Impact of police cuts

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

PERHAPS Theresa May would explain to a simple soul like me that, if there is no correlation between reduction in police numbers and crime figures, why there has been a massive increase in stabbings and killings not only in London, but in other cities?

When I was a young PC many years ago, cyclists did not jump red lights by riding on the pavement, speed limits actually were enforced and cars were not parked willy-nilly, obstructing roads and on pavements.

Most cars had insurance and drivers had the correct licence. I think she is fooling no one but herself.

Responsible education

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

FINALLY a sensible idea from the Education Secretary (The Yorkshire Post, April 2) that all children not attending a state-funded or independent school should be registered.

Making the parents responsible for this, hopefully with penalties if they don’t register, is a small step to making individuals liable for their decisions about their children.