THE new boss of a cash-strapped tourism agency has slammed a “culture of spend now, worry about it later” at the organisation, after warnings it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks.

Peter Box, the new chair of Welcome to Yorkshire, said governance and strategic oversight at the organisation had been "largely absent", adding "you cannot run any organisation based on the cult of personality."

Last week, council leaders from across Yorkshire agreed to release £1m of public money to the organisation with a number of conditions attached, but Welcome to Yorkshire is still in need of additional financial support to stay afloat including a £500,000 loan from North Yorkshire County Council.

Despite the funding boost, the organisation is still forecasting it will be overdrawn by around £250k in March next year, and they may be forced to cut back on events and activities.

Bosses have also warned, without these payments, Welcome to Yorkshire will run out of cash by November at the latest and staff may not be paid.

Although not a recommend approach, Welcome to Yorkshire have warned a “managed closedown” of the organisation would cost more than £3m, result in almost 50 people losing their jobs, and see the loss of the Tour de Yorkshire and any future chances of hosting a stage of the Tour de France.

It has been a turbulent six months for the organisation with the departure of its former chief executive, Sir Gary Verity and former chair Ron McMillan.

Following Mr Verity's departure, subsequent investigations into the organisation’s culture and management found greater focus needed to be put on employee wellbeing. The report also identified issues of expenses being used for personal rather than business use.

Welcome to Yorkshire spent £250k on its activities at the Chelsea Flower Show despite only having budgeted for £80k, and hundreds of thousands of pounds have also been spent on independent investigations.

Mr Box said: “It’s clear to me that governance and strategic oversight of the operations of WTY have been largely absent. Financial planning was not robust enough which led to a culture of spend now, worry about it later.

“These reports provided leaders across the region with the evidence that led to the decision to invest £1m of public money dependent upon certain condition being met. Political leaders across the region are clear that continued investment of public funds is dependent on significant change in accountability, transparency and governance of public resources.

“The options before us were stark, including the managed closure of WTY. That would have been bad for the region and, obviously bad for the hard-working frontline staff who I have the greatest admiration for.

"This region needs a dynamic, creative and accountable strategic destination marketing organisation, but it must be one that upholds the same values and governance enshrined in the principles of spending public funds.

“You cannot run any organisation – public or private – based on the ‘cult of personality’. Stronger governance, financial planning and a long term, strategic plan are my priorities, along with the recruitment of new board members and a chief executive.

"Since taking up my role, I’ve been heartened by the messages of support, including from people who are interested in joining the board."