Groundswell of goodwill for Leeds capital of culture bid could help slash running costs

Dancing into 2023: Cultural gems like Northern Ballet are helping galvanise support for the bid
Dancing into 2023: Cultural gems like Northern Ballet are helping galvanise support for the bid
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A GROUNDSWELL of grassroots goodwill for Leeds bidding to be European Capital of Culture has meant the costs of applying could be slashed, one of the key people spearheading the campaign has said.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the city is in talks to potentially put in a bid for the prestigious title in 2023.

However questions have been raised about the potential financing of the bid in a time of austerity - leading to an investigation by an internal council watchdog ahead of a crunch cabinet meeting next month.

Cluny Macpherson, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for culture, told the Sustainable Economy and Culture Scrutiny Board that there had been a “hugely energetic” response from grassroots arts organisations and experts in the sector. “We have had a lot of incoming support, he said. “The energy coming from the city is getting a life of its own. We are sure that the authority will be a minority funder in any bidding process.”

He said offers of free help had already been received from people with high-level expertise, and freelancers wanting to engage the city’s young people.

Leeds Beckett University has also offered £10,000 worth of “in kind” support.

The council has given the small three-strong bid team a £35,000 development budget, taken from existing arts funding, for the initial plans.

Mr Macpherson said there was “no reason to think” there would be a massive change in the scope and scale of funding needed in the initial bid stages.

However Conservative opposition councillor Dan Cohen urged the council not to be “coy about the costs”.

Any bid must be submitted by the end of 2016, with a winning city selected in 2018.

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