21st Sep, 2018

£4.5m of council taxpayers' cash set aside for City of Culture bid

Editorial Correspondent 23rd Nov, 2017 Updated: 29th Nov, 2017

Coventry council is set to approve up to £4.7million financial backing using taxpayers’ money for the UK City of Culture 2021.

Coventry was shortlisted for the title of City of Culture in July, alongside Sunderland, Swansea, Stoke and Paisley. A decision is expected next month (December).

Coun Linda Bigham, cabinet member for community development, said: “We want to do everything in our power to back the bid for Coventry, and if we win, support the programme to put on a series of incredible events and activities for the city.

“The money that we are set to commit will bring a host of benefits for the city – we view it as an investment into Coventry’s future.

“We’ve seen how gaining the title of City of Culture can raise the profile of a city, bring fresh experiences and activities to local people and visitors, boost image, increase tourism numbers and support the local economy.

“We are confident the same will happen if Coventry gets the title.

“Hull is reporting huge economic impact – and the predictions for Coventry are even greater – an amazing £349million – and we want a bit of that for Coventry.

“Of course we are proud of what our wonderful city has to offer – we are a city rich in culture and as a council we want to help celebrate this.”

Leading Labour councillors on the cabinet on Tuesday (November 28) considered the council’s financial commitment if the bid is successful, alongside a reduced contribution if the city does not secure the title.

The council will also act as guarantor for the UK City of Culture 2021 programme if Coventry wins the accolade.

If approved by full council next Tuesday (December 5), £4.75million of corporate reserves will be awarded to the City of Culture build-up programme, title year and legacy programme between 2018 and 2024.

David Burbidge, chairman of Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, said: “Coventry City Council has shown an extremely strong commitment to being UK City of Culture over several years.

“That commitment has helped the city move from being a potential runner to being on a shortlist of five to land the prize – with just a few weeks to go before we find out if we have been successful.

“Winning UK City of Culture in 2021 would be a game-changer for Coventry as it has been for Hull. It would bring new visitors, more jobs and more investment in the city and would not only have an economic and cultural impact, but would leave a social legacy too.

“Coventry City Council’s commitment is echoed by the whole city, with well over 100 businesses supporting the bid financially and that will only grow should we be named UK City of Culture 2021.”

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