A PANEL of council leaders has agreed to give £1 million to troubled tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire after it emerged it would cost more than £3 million to close it down.

A report said the agency had struggled with its finances following the resignation of chief executive Sir Gary Verity, and subsequent investigations, and a ‘managed closedown’ had been looked into.

But Jacqui Gedman, chief executive of Kirklees Council, told the North and West Yorkshire business rates joint committee it would be more cost-effective to release the £1million, adding: “It would be over £3million to close it down.”

She said the funding would be released with conditions attached, in three tranches. “With each tranche there would be a report back to the business rates board, so we can consider progress that has been made.”

York council leader Keith Aspden said: “I am pleased to see, on the revised recommendations, that the £1 million would be given in smaller amounts, but subject to appropriate reports coming back to this body.”

Scarborough council leader Steve Siddons said: “I think this is a prudent way to move forward. Closing down an organisation like WtY would have significant costs attached to it.”

Members also agreed that a new chief executive should be recruited as soon as possible and that Ms Gedman should be asked to provide support to WtY until this happened.

The report said the organisation’s finances were ‘challenging’ and it had had to make use of a loan facility it had with North Yorkshire County Council.