Perth favourite with book­mak­ers in race to be­come City of Culture


BOOK­MAK­ERS have cut the odds on Perth be­ing named 2021 City of Culture as the cam­paign’s 10 ri­vals were con­firmed.

The Fair City is the 3/1 favourite to see off chal­lenges from Coven­try and Swansea – each at 5/1 – and Bri­tain’s small­est city, St Davids in Pem­brokeshire, south Wales, at 6/1. Pais­ley is next up at 8/1.

Perth, which only in Jan­uary was be­ing quoted at 7/2 favourite by Wil­liam Hill’s, has moved fur­ther ahead af­ter a flurry of bets. “When we of­fered a mar­ket on the 2017 UK City of Culture, there was a great deal of bet­ting ac­tiv­ity with a new favourite al­most on a weekly ba­sis so we ex­pect the same to hap­pen here,” said Wil­liam Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

“Hav­ing said that, how­ever, Perth is the early favourite given that we are yet to have a win­ner from north of the Bor­der.”

Oth­ers bid­ding for the ti­tle are Here­ford, Portsmouth, Stoke-onTrent, Sun­der­land, War­ring­ton and Wells. St Davids, which has at its cen­tre a stun­ning Nor­man cathe­dral, in­cludes the sur­round­ing ru­ral area of the Hun­dred of Dewis­land in the bid.

Since Pais­ley’s bid was launched in Novem­ber 2015, the team be­hind it has had more than 8,000 con­ver­sa­tions with mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The bid has also re­ceived high-pro­file back­ing from lo­cally born cul­tural fig­ures such as Paolo Nu­tini, John Byrne, Ger­ard Butler and An­drew Neil.

The Her­itage Lot­tery Fund an­nounced it was com­mit­ting £3 mil­lion to each suc­cess­ful bid­der from 2021 on­wards to boost lo­cal her­itage.

Hull’s City of Culture year, which kicked off with a mas­sive fire­works dis­play on Jan­uary 1, is fore­cast to de­liver a £60m boost to the lo­cal econ­omy.

Culture Min­is­ter Matt Han­cock said: “UK City of Culture is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for towns and cities to cel­e­brate their cre­ativ­ity and use culture as a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic growth.”

Perth’s coun­cil leader Ian Miller has said of the city’s bid: “We have a great plan to im­prove the cul­tural ameni­ties in the city, in­clud­ing plans to ren­o­vate Perth The­atre and a scheme to re­gen­er­ate the City Hall.”

UP­BEAT: Perth coun­cil leader Ian Miller has hailed the city’s 2021 ti­tle bid.

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