GET SET FOR CUL­TURE CLASH

CARDIFF AMONG THE EARLY FAVOURITES TO BE CROWNED NEXT UK CITY OF CUL­TURE

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - RUTH MOS­AL­SKI Lo­cal govern­ment re­porter ruth.mos­al­ski@waleson­line.co.uk

CARDIFF is an early favourite to be 2021’s UK City of Cul­ture – as bid­ding for the ti­tle gets un­der way.

Hull is the cur­rent City of Cul­ture, hav­ing beaten Swansea to the ti­tle in 2013.

But calls yes­ter­day were led by Sec­re­tary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, who has said one of Wales’ cities should put them­selves for­ward for the 2021 ti­tle.

He made the call af­ter the Depart­ment of Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport opened the com­pe­ti­tion to cities across the UK to bid for the ti­tle.

And ac­cord­ing to Lad­brokes, Cardiff is cur­rently third favourite with odds of 5/1.

Coven­try is cur­rently favourite to take the ti­tle at 2/1, with Perth’s odds stand­ing at 4/1.

The UK City of Cul­ture ti­tle is de­signed to “use cul­ture as a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic and so­cial re­gen­er­a­tion and raise the pro­file of arts and cre­ativ­ity lo­cally and across the coun­try”.

As well as boost­ing arts and cul­ture, it also helps at­tract in­vest­ment and boost tourism.

Cardiff has en­joyed past suc­cess in pro­mot­ing its art and cul­ture – in­clud­ing last year’s City of the Un­ex­pected which cel­e­brated the cen­te­nary of the birth of Roald Dahl.

Thou­sands of per­form­ers were in­volved in the week­end ex­trav­a­ganza which saw tightrope-walk­ing foxes, a wed­ding be­tween a fire­man and a la­dy­bird and even a gi­ant peach make its way to the city cen­tre in ex­tra­or­di­nary street per­for­mances and spec­tac­u­lar sights for fam­i­lies and vis­i­tors to en­joy.

Mr Cairns said: “I would be de­lighted to see one of Wales’ great cities putting them­selves for­ward to be the UK City of Cul­ture in 2021. This is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for a city to show­case its arts and cul­ture pro­file to boost tourism, raise its pro­file and in­crease in­vest­ment. I urge lo­cal au­thor­i­ties across Wales to look at the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits and se­ri­ously con­sider a bid.”

The lo­cal author­ity would have to give it their sup­port and each party in Cardiff was asked if they would sup­port it.

A Labour group spokesman said: “Cardiff is al­ways look­ing to pro­mote it­self and we have a pretty im­pres­sive record, in­clud­ing host­ing this year’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

“The ball is firmly in Alun Cairns’ court. Is he will­ing to sup­port such a bid with his money rather than warm words or will he do his usual? Will he con­tinue with his usual pro­ce­dure of big words while fail­ing to de­liver the fi­nan­cials that this city needs to sup­port such a bid.”

Lib Dem Coun­cil­lor Nigel How­ells said: “Be­com­ing the UK’s City of Cul­ture would be a golden op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate and pro­mote not only Cardiff’s cul­tural as­sets but also the rich and di­verse com­mu­ni­ties of Cardiff.

“There is no doubt that when it comes to host­ing ma­jor events, Cardiff is one of Europe’s lead­ing play­ers. A fu­ture Lib­eral Demo­crat ad­min­is­tra­tion would be keen to se­cure this event as part of our vi­sion for a more pros­per­ous Cardiff.”

Con­ser­va­tive group leader David Walker said: “I would fully sup­port a Cardiff bid for UK City of Cul­ture 2021. Our city has a great Welsh cul­tural tra­di­tion and his­tory and many great things to show­case. I be­lieve that in seek­ing such recog­ni­tion we are well placed in Cardiff to put a strong bid for­ward.

“I would be op­ti­mistic of suc­cess and if awarded it would boost the city’s grow­ing pro­file na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally”.

Plaid Cymru were also con­tacted for com­ment.

The launch of the 2021 com­pe­ti­tion comes in the same month that Hull kicked off its year as the sec­ond UK City of Cul­ture, af­ter Derry/ Lon­don­derry in 2013.

Cities have to reg­is­ter by the end of Fe­bru­ary with fi­nal bids by April 28.

It is es­ti­mated that be­ing the UK City of Cul­ture 2017 will de­liver £60m to Hull’s econ­omy in 2017. The city has seen a £1bn boost in in­vest­ment since win­ning the ti­tle in 2013.

There was talk of Cardiff and the Val­ley au­thor­i­ties bid­ding to be the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture but once the Brexit vote took place, it was seen as un­vi­able.

Cardiff City Hall dur­ing the City of the Un­ex­pected Roald Dahl cel­e­bra­tions

Roald Dahl cel­e­bra­tions in Cardiff last year – proof that the city can host big cul­tural events

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