Scarborough Council leader responds to questions over future relationship with Welcome to Yorkshire

The leader of Scarborough Council says the authority must “wait and see” as it decides what to do about its relationship with troubled tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire.

The future relationship between Scarborough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire was discussed at a meeting yesterday.

The West and North Yorkshire business rates joint committee, which includes Scarborough, met in Leeds last week and agreed to make its first payment to Welcome to Yorkshire as it awaits the outcome of two investigations into the agency.

Cllr Steve Siddons, speaking at yesterday’s meeting of the borough council, said the committee only agreed to make an “interim” payment to Welcome to Yorkshire until the full facts were known so he could not give his fellow councillors a long-term response on what may happen in the future.

He told the councillors: “Frustratingly this is a case of wait and see. I have already stated my view that when the report is ready it should be released in full.

“This is mainly public funds and people should get the full information.

“If Welcome to Yorkshire is not open about the findings then people will be suspicious.”

Welcome To Yorkshire said last week that the two investigations, one into expenses and one into claims of bullying, have concluded but the reports are yet to be finalised before details can be made public.

The full findings of the expenses review are to be shared with West Yorkshire Police. However, it was also reported that the former chief executive of the agency, Sir Gary Verity, had refused to be interviewed as part of the process.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service Cllr Siddons (Lab) added that it was right to be patient.

He said: “There are some legal issues that have to be dealt with, we don’t know if the police will become involved or if there will be any other investigations.

“There are some good people who work at Welcome to Yorkshire and they have done some fantastic things and I think we have to stay with them for the time being until we are absolutely clear what has gone on there.

“We don’t want the personal details, that’s for others to work through, but as a collective of local authorities in North and West Yorkshire we are as one in the sense that we are prepared to put some more money into Welcome to Yokshire on an interim basis so we will keep them afloat until we are clear about the outcome of the investigations and then we will look again and make a decision collectively about what we do.”