Tour de France left Welcome to Yorkshire ‘£1m losses’

Welcome to Yorkshire, organisers of the Grand Depart, was left with £750,000 worth of unsold merchandise after the event and £1m losses overall, it has emerged.

Sunday, 27th September 2015, 8:42 am
Fans cheering on cyclists as they tackle the Holme Moss climb on the Tour de France Stage 2 in July 2014.

A report by accountancy firm KPMG also revealed the WtY’s “financial governance arrangements are not as strong as they should be” as a result of less secure funding and less staff.

The confidential report, written in February, which has only emerged now, says WtY tried to narrow a funding gap by selling branded merchandise, including Tour de France T-shirts, mugs and pens - but was left with £750,000 worth of stock.

By the end of January this had reduced to £503,000.

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The company also owed 310,000 Euro to Amaury Sports Organisation for marketing expenditure, which had not been included in an underlying £450,000 underlying deficit, as WtY believed it would be rolled into a new contract.

A separate WtY business plan also revealed that chief executive Sir Gary Verity’s salary will be nearly £210,000 in 2015/2016 - an increase of 40 per cent on 2011 when he was paid £150,000.

It said it would post a deficit of £1,031,515 for 2014/2015 “predominantly due to the unrecovered cost to the company of delivering the Tour de France”, but had a plan “to recover the balance sheet towards pre Tour de France levels over a three year period.”

It added: “The organisation has written off unsold merchandising costs in the year, and despite using up its remaining reserves will start 2015/16 in a cash positive position.”

Richmondshire district councillor Stuart Parsons said Sir Gary should have taken a pay cut as a gesture.

Councils in North Yorkshire have agreed to pay in over £200,000 to help get the organisation back on track, with Richmondshire giving an extra £27,000 on top of its £10,000 membership fee.

Coun Parsons said: “Everyone else is having to pour in money, but his salary has grown. I don’t think council taxpayers will be over the moon, I think they would rather it went to keep front-line services going.

“All the money the local authorities is giving will help WtY in the short to medium term, but how can we be sure that it will be sustainable in the long term - there is no evidence for that so far.”

No one was available from WtY for an up to date financial statement.

In July Sir Gary said the county and its businesses were “reaping the rewards of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ” after Visit England statistics showed overall visitor spend has almost doubled in 12 months.