Peer calls on police to investigate Gary Verity’s expenses

Gary Verity is the former chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. He is pictured here in 2018. Pic: Scott Merrylees
Gary Verity is the former chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. He is pictured here in 2018. Pic: Scott Merrylees

Pressure is growing for a police investigation to be launched into expenses claims made by Welcome to Yorkshire’s ex-chief executive Sir Gary Verity.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven, a former leader of Sheffield City Council, confirmed to The Yorkshire Post that he has written to West Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable Dee Collins to ask for a criminal inquiry to be launched.

Council leaders demand urgent meeting with Welcome to Yorkshire bosses

The tourism agency’s board decided last week not to call in officers after Sir Gary decided to “voluntarily reimburse” expense claims which are understood to total a five-figure sum.

Lord Scriven said he was “astounded and angry” the board had not called in the police.

Welcome to Yorkshire is a private limited company but has received millions of pounds of public funding to support its activities promoting the region since being established as a successor to the Yorkshire Tourist Board in 2009.

The organisation is planning an “independent review” of issues surrounding Sir Gary’s departure - which also included bullying allegations from former staff. A person to lead the review is yet to be appointed and there is no timeline for when it will conclude.

Chairman Ron McMillan said: “Should that review highlight any irregularities which require further investigation, we will make sure those investigations take place promptly and whatever steps need to be taken, are taken.”

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said: “West Yorkshire Police has not received a complaint from Welcome to Yorkshire, however, we can confirm that we have recently received a report from Lord Scriven who has expressed his concerns.”

The force would not say whether or not an investigation has been launched.