Battle begins for UK City of Culture 2021 title

Eleven towns and cities have thrown their hats into the ring, and registered bids to be the third UK City of Culture 2021.

Hull is currently the UK City of Culture and the first was Derry-Londonderry in 2013.

Matt Hancock (pictured), the digital and culture minister, announced that bids for the 2021 title have come from Coventry, Hereford, Paisley, Perth, Portsmouth, St David’s and the Hundred of Dewisland, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Warrington and Wells.

He 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.

“I am delighted to see so many bids from across the country, showing how many areas recognise the important role culture can play in the development and regeneration of communities.

“UK City of Culture helps boost tourism and raises the profile of arts and culture.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund has committed £3 million to the holder of the UK City of Culture title from 2021 onwards to boost local heritage.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This list shows there is clearly a great deal of enthusiasm among the UK’s cities for celebrating their unique culture.

“Heritage, much of which has benefitted over the past 23 years from National Lottery funding, is so important to a city’s identity, as well as making a huge contribution to tourism, jobs and the local economy.

“Building on the support we have given to Hull 2017, this funding will allow the UK City of Culture 2021 to showcase its heritage to the world.”

It is estimated that the UK City of Culture 2017 will deliver a £60 million boost to Hull’s economy this year.

The city has also seen a £1 billion investment since winning the title in 2013.

A shortlist of the bidding areas will be announced in the summer before the winning area is announced in December.