News of Perth’s desire to be named as the next UK City of Culture has been known for sometime, with William Hill offering considerably shorter odds on the city picking up the crown back in August 2016. Now, following the release of the 11-city shortlist earlier this month, Perth is beginning to pull clear of its rivals, with Ladbrokes tempting punters with odds of 5/2.
It seems that the pursuit of the title has already begun, with Peter Barrett, a councillor in Perth, issuing a rallying cry to the people of the Fair City to support the campaign: “Have no doubt about it there will be strong competition for the crown,” Peter told the Daily Record. “Our unique selling point will be how people all across Perth and Kinross embrace culture and appreciation of our heritage to enrich the lives of our communities. Perth’s bid will demonstrate that culture can be the catalyst for regeneration and economic growth for everyone living outside of the large post-industrial cities that have been previous winners.”
However, the Scottish settlement may well have a fight on its hands, with the likes of Coventry (3/1), Portsmouth (6/1) and Swansea (6/1) all providing formidable competition. Other cities in the running include Paisley, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent, Hereford, Warrington, Wells and Britain’s smallest city, St Davids. And as if the metaphorical tug-of-war wasn’t intense enough, it has also been reported that the winning city could stand to benefit from a £3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, not to mention a significant economic boost, similar to the one currently being enjoyed by Hull.
The quality of the bids and the eagerness to win has certainly impressed Matt Hancock, the UK government minister for digital and culture: “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.”
These sentiments were echoed by UK government minister for Scotland, Andrew Dunlop, who said: “The UK city of culture competition is a real opportunity for towns and cities to put themselves on the map, and it’s great news that two Scottish entries are in the running,” before adding: “I’ve seen the fantastic quality of the Perth and Paisley bids first hand, and wish them both the very best of luck. It would be a huge achievement to bring the prize to Scotland.”
Campaigners for each city will now have to wait until the summer, when the shortlist will be reduced to four, before a final decision is reached in December. If you fancy a flutter on the outcome with Ladbrokes, head to Gamble’s Online Bookmaker Reviews page, where you will find a full and independent review.