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UK City of Culture 2021 competition launches

The search for the UK’s next City of Culture has today officially been launched by the Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock.

Following on from the success of Londonderry in 2013, Hull was named the UK’s City of Culture for 2017 and it is predicted that this will add £60M to the local economy across the year. It has also stimulated an estimated £1Bn investment in the city since the announcement.

Hull 2017’s launch was marked with a fireworks display which was attended by over 50,000 people and a series of further events throughout the week which attracted almost 350,000 people. The key driver behind the City of Culture title is to boost tourism and attract investment primarily into the arts and culture sector.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “The UK City of Culture is not only a prestigious title, but as Hull has shown, it is a great opportunity to use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration.

“It showcases the unique identity of our cities, helps boost tourism, and raises the profile of art and culture. I urge local authorities and partnerships across the whole UK to consider entering the competition and I hope to see plenty of ambitious, exciting and innovative bids for 2021.

“Those interested in submitting bids to be UK City of Culture 2021 are invited to register with DCMS by the end of February. Bids for the 2021 competition must be received by 28 April 2017 after which they will be assessed by an Independent Advisory Panel. A shortlist will then be announced in the summer, before the winning city is announced in Hull in December.”

Phil Redmond, Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, said: “Having been on the journey from Liverpool 2008, Derry-Londonderry 2013 and now Hull 2017, I am delighted other cities will have the opportunity to bid and build upon the award for 2021.”

Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council, said: “Hull is already demonstrating how UK City of Culture can transform the fortunes of a city. For Hull, bidding and hosting UK City of Culture is part of a long-term plan to harness our city’s wonderful heritage and culture to change perceptions of the city, attract investment and create much-needed jobs for local people.

“Whilst culture and the arts are just one part of the jigsaw, we are already seeing huge benefits. Confidence in the city has never been higher and more than £1 billion of investment is flowing into Hull, creating thousands of new jobs. Visitor numbers are increasing, new businesses are opening in the city centre and the volume of positive media coverage Hull is enjoying in the UK and around the world is staggering.

“Winning UK City of Culture has generated an enormous sense of local pride among local people and a renewed sense of confidence and self-belief in what the city can achieve. This started during the bidding process and is why I would encourage other councils to consider bidding to be the next UK City of Culture.”

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