Welcome to Yorkshire to be ‘down to earth and humble’, claims senior councillor

Welcome to Yorkshire will be run in a ‘more down to earth and humble’ way in future, according to a senior Leeds city councillor.

It was also confirmed that no decision had yet been made on whether to award the tourism body the £1.4m it had requested last month.

The comments were made at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s strategy and resources scrutiny board this week, during a discussion on the authority’s finances.

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Council deputy leader James Lewis (Lab) said: “A lot of councils in Yorkshire have indicated that they would like the work Welcome to Yorkshire does continues.

Welcome to Yorkshire CEO James Mason.Welcome to Yorkshire CEO James Mason.
Welcome to Yorkshire CEO James Mason.

“We haven’t made a final decision on funding Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY). I hope nobody is working under the impression that a decision has been made.

“We attended a meeting, and their approach going forward will be much more down to earth and humble than it has been in the past.”

Leeds City Council’s chief financial officer Victoria Bradshaw told the meeting Welcome to Yorkshire’s accounts were currently being audited, and that local authorities would be able to see the accounts once this had finished.

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Council officer Neil Evans added WTY was meeting later this week to discuss its future plans.

He added: “People are aware they are going through redundancies and are shifting to a digital platform and pulling back on previous pieces of work they have done.

“They have stripped it back to pretty much the bare minimum. The situation has been very much disrupted by Covid.”

Coun Matthew Robinson (Con) asked when the final decision on funding would be due.

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Mr Evans said: “Subscriptions from B&Bs, hotels and private companies has dropped away dramatically over the last few months because of Covid. The reliance on pub sec funding as a proportion of funding will go up.

“Their plan is to rebalance that going forward by getting private sector back on board.”

According to a report by the Yorkshire Post in June, councils were asked to help plug a gap in WTY’s funding, after it cancelled membership fees due to Covid-19-related pressures faced by businesses.

West Yorkshire councils were being asked to fund £550,000 while the figure for North Yorkshire is around £450,000. South Yorkshire is being asked to contribute £300,000 with £100,000 coming from East Yorkshire.