Welcome to Yorkshire requests extension to £500,000 council loan
Mar 2, 2021
Welcome to Yorkshire

North Yorkshire County Council looks set to approve another extension to a £500,000 loan given to Welcome to Yorkshire.

The troubled tourism organisation took out the loan in September 2019 and secured it against a property it owns on Tadcaster Road in York.

The loan, which has been used to help cashflow, was due to be repaid in full by November 2020.

Council officials later agreed to extend the terms until November 2021, giving WtY more time to repay.

Now, senior councillors have been urged to grant another extension until April 2022 following a request from WtY.

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A report due before the council’s executive next week says the loan will continue to be secured on the investment property and at the same seven per cent interest rate.

It says:

“Such an extension has been requested for administrative reasons as the new period would then simply span the whole of the Welcome to Yorkshire financial year.”

WtY posted losses of £198,997 in the last two years, according to its latest accounts.

WtY 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.

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.”