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.”