YORK'S tourism body wants to increase the amount it can pay staff and contractors without authorisation from the council by £15,000 - despite currently losing money.

Make it York (MIY) is also set to ask City of York Council for almost £100,000 in financial assistance at a meeting of the council’s shareholder committee next week.

The struggling agency, set up and wholly owned by the council, has seen its revenues decimated by the pandemic.

Documents show the council is funding it to the tune of £112,000, and MIY is set to lose around £300,000 over the year 2021-2022.

The organisation, which runs York’s Christmas market and Shambles Market, has come in for criticism over recent months following an audit report which found “significant weaknesses” in its operation.

Among items to be discussed by councillors Paula Widdowson and Andy D’Agorne on Monday is a request to change the articles of association so that MIY can pay its staff and consultants up to £65,000 without permission from the council.

The previous £50,000 figure is now considered “out of date” as it was set six years ago and has remained unchanged.

The chair of MIY, former BBC director general Greg Dyke, has requested the rise in order to bring salary levels in line with inflation, a council report states.

Councillors are being asked to agree to the change in order “to enable Make it York Limited to agree appropriate levels of remuneration for officers of or consultants to the company".

Council reports show MIY is also to ask the council for: relief on business rates on Museum Street offices, to the tune of £6,400; a reduction in revenue paid to the council to cover the period the Shambles market was closed, costing £14,300; and support with the cost of counter-terrorism measures during the Chrismtas market period, at a cost of £78,900.

Council papers state: “These requests appear reasonable under the circumstances and there are funding streams that could be used to fund the requests such as Covid Grant, Additional Restrictions Grant and Welcome Back Funding.”

If granted these measures will mean MIY will not have to draw upon a £300,000 loan offered by the council to MIY last year.

In December, the council’s executive offered a significant bailout package to try to secure the future of the company, including a guarantee to cover its liabilities up to £1 million over the following two years.

The audit report earlier this year revealed the organisation had not produced performance reports since September 2018.

At a scrutiny committee meeting in September, the council’s assistant director for customer and communities Charlie Croft said the reports that were produced were “totally inadequate”.

He also admitted the council “had not been a very good client to Make it York”.

In May of this year, MIY was scaled down and its inward investment and economic development functions were returned to the council.

Managing director Sean Bullick stepped down in March, with Sarah Loftus set to take the helm before Christmas.