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

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.

Saturday, 26th September 2015, 7:19 pm
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 used to 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 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.”

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.

Richmondshire district councillor Stuart Parsons said: “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.”

WtY said they had taken KPMG’s recommendations on board and emphasised that the figures were a snapshot in time.

It said: “Earlier this year, as part of Welcome to Yorkshire’s funding activity planning for 2015-16, Leeds City Council commissioned KPMG to carry out a high level review of finance and governance arrangements at Welcome to Yorkshire.

“This in-year assessment has helped to inform WtY’s financial and governance plans and its recommendations are being implemented.

“Our full accounts for 2014-2015 will be published in December 2015.

“WtY aims to raise the profile of Yorkshire and its businesses in the UK and around the world.

“When Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France in 2014, it was described by the Tour Director as the ‘greatest Grand Départ’ in the history of the race, bringing as estimated boost of £102 million to the Yorkshire economy.

“This year’s Tour de Yorkshire brought 1.5 million people out around the county, with many local businesses seeing large increases in profits. “Yorkshire remains in the national spotlight and just last week was shortlisted in VisitEngland’s search to find the country’s Home of Sport.

“Latest statistics show that visitors to Yorkshire are up almost a quarter on 2014.

“WtY will continue our work to make Yorkshire a place that people around the world want to visit.”