YEP Says: Why Mrs Bradley must launch the culture bid soon

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LET’S GET on with it! That’s the tone of the letter from the great and the good of Leeds urging the Secretary of the State for the Arts, Karen Bradley, to launch a competition to find the European Capital of Culture for 2023.

They say it in a polite and proper manner, of course, but the urgency is there. We must get over our Brexit hangover and get on with the business of promoting the cultural excellence and diversity of the UK to an international audience.

And they stressed it does not matter which city ultimately wins. Leeds is one of several areas - including Dundee, Milton Keynes and Cornwall - expected to bid for the pretigious title.

OK, we must disagree there. We say may the best area win, as long as it’s Leeds!

The Yorkshire Evening Post believes strongly that Leeds has most to gain from such a title and it is the standout contender. We would say that, wouldn’t we?

Well, maybe so. It is our job to bang the drum for Leeds, but it also our job to say the truth in plain Yorkshire fashion.

Whatever our country’s relationship with Europe, Leeds remains an outward looking and upward moving city with the vision and creativity to make the most of being a capital of culture. There has been uncertainty about the culture plan for a little while now.

An announcment on whether or not the Goverment will keep its obligation to host in 2023 is imminent but it follows weeks of growing doubts.

Leeds has already spent two years and significant sums of money in putting its ‘expression of interest together’, with a number of panels set up to champion the bid.

The great and the good of Leeds have joined forces to demand - nicely - that the Government pulls its finger out and gets on with it.

In Leeds, communities, businesses, and the city’s higher and further education providers have come together with Leeds City Council over the last three years to invest significant time and money anticipating the start of the competition in 2016.

Brexit has happened. But life goes on and Europe will - no doubt - remain important to us in all ways, especially culturally.

So we hope Mrs Bradley reads this open letter and gets on with her job. Leeds is depending on it.