Council’s £500k Welcome to Yorkshire loan extended for ‘technical reasons’
Mar 9, 2021
Welcome to Yorkshire requested financial support back in July.

A loan given by North Yorkshire County Council to tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire will be extended for another six months.

The £500,000 agreement was taken out in September 2019 to help cashflow and was originally due to be repaid by November last year.

However, the council agreed to extend the term by a year to November 2021, and has now added a further six months to the term. NYCC’s executive today voted unanimously to support the deadline of April 2022 for the loan to be repaid.

Cllr Gareth Dadd, deputy leader of NYCC, said:

“This is done for a technical reason – it’s not offering any more funding to Welcome to Yorkshire in any shape or form. It’s merely a technical extension to that loan repayment period in order for them to cover their accounting year.”

The loan was secured on a property owned by WtY on Tadcaster Road in York, and will continue at an interest rate of seven per cent. Cllr Dadd added:

“Financially, we do OK out of this loan to Welcome to Yorkshire, and that wants emphasising. And I would suggest, given the value of the property, it’s absolutely secure.”

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WtY posted losses of £198,997 in the last two years, according to its latest accounts. It published two sets of accounts last month, which covered the six months to March 31, 2020, and the 18 months to September 30, 2019.

The organisation, which is a limited company, was bailed out last year by Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council, plus other local authorities across the region.

Both authorities approved funding totalling more than £300,000 after WtY warned it faced a £1.4 million funding gap amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson for the organisation told the Stray Ferret previously that it had been a “difficult time” but added the organisation had undergone “significant operational, staffing, cultural and strategic changes” since the periods covered by the two sets of accounts.

The spokesperson said:

“The accounts were filed after an extended period as a result of issues relating to the coronavirus crisis, including subsequent uncertainty of funding which had previously been assigned from the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Committee.

“The organisation is focusing on the future, moving forward and supporting the economic recovery of the tourism sector in Yorkshire through the coronavirus crisis and post-pandemic to reopen, recover and rebuild as part of Welcome to Yorkshire’s tourism recovery plan, working closely with the county’s businesses and local authorities.”