Leeds’s dream of being named 2023 European Capital of Culture remains alive and kicking after the Government scotched fears that the UK’s support for the role could be ended by the Brexit effect.
Concerns had been voiced in recent weeks that the country might abandon its scheduled hosting of the title following the EU referendum result.
But today the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that it WOULD be running a nationwide competition to find the city that will be the UK’s European Capital of Culture in 2023.
Leeds has been working for the last three years on its bid for the title. Other places expected to be in the running include Dundee and Milton Keynes.
Welcoming the announcement, Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Leeds has been ready to bid since 2014 and we are delighted that today the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has recognised the continued benefits of the competition to the UK economy and to cities like Leeds, with an announcement to continue to host the European Capital of Culture competition in 2023.
“In Leeds we believe in a future where our culture in all its forms is valued and experienced by the broadest set of people, and for it to be central to the city’s identity and to its future – both economically and socially.
“Communities, business, and all of the city’s Higher and Further Education providers came together with Leeds City Council over the last three years to invest significant time and resources in the anticipated bidding process.
“Today’s announcement is recognition of the ambition and commitment shown by Leeds, and cities like ours, in leading with culture across our communities.”
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone, so all parts of the United Kingdom can benefit from economic growth and prosperity.
“Celebrating the cultural heritage and innovation in Britain’s cities is part of our plan for an outward-looking, globally-minded and dynamic country.
“The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe.
“We want that relationship to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy.”
The UK has had two previous stints as the home of a European Capital of Culture, with Glasgow being the chosen city in 1990 before Liverpool did the honours in 2008.
Two cities from two European countries host the title each year. A city from Hungary will be the other European Capital of Culture during 2023.