Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has received a show of cross-party support – having been backed by all five party leaders on Renfrewshire Council.
The final bid document is due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month – and elected members are set to consider it when the council meets on September 28.
Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish bidder on the shortlist for the 2021 competition, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.
The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage offer to make it a key visitor destination within Scotland, and transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area.
And support crosses party lines – with council leader Iain Nicolson (SNP), Labour’s Eddie Devine, James MacLaren of the Conservatives, Lib Dem Eileen McCartin and independent Andy Doig all gathering outside Paisley Abbey to give their backing, joined by children from Williamsburgh Primary.
The bid has already enjoyed public support from national political figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and outgoing Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
Councillor Nicolson – who also chairs the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board said: “The potential benefits of a successful bid are absolutely massive – for example, the activity before, during and after our planned UK City of Culture year is predicted to create 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.
“When dealing with something of that scale it is important we as elected members put our party differences aside and do all we can to make it happen – so I am delighted to be joined by my fellow councillors today to show our collective support for the bid.”
Councillor Devine said: “Over the past two years, the Paisley 2021 bid has energised people throughout the town and given them a reason to believe in Paisley again – Buddies have driven the campaign to date and they deserve this title and all the benefits it will bring them.”
Councillor MacLaren added: “We have already seen from previous winners Derry-Londonderry and Hull how winning this title can boost local business and drive investment in infrastructure and industry. I am happy to get behind anything which could do the same for Paisley and Renfrewshire.”
Councillor McCartin said: “Paisley was once the centre of the world’s textile industry and the legacy of that is still around us in wonderful buildings such as our town hall and Sma’ Shot Cottages. That story should be told to as many people as possible and I back anything which will help do that.”
And Councillor Doig added: “Renfrewshire has some great heritage attractions and huge potential as a visitor destination – and a successful Paisley 2021 bid will bring huge numbers of people to the area, giving all our towns and villages a chance to benefit.”
The winner of the competition is due to be announced in December. For more info, see www.paisley2021.co.uk
The Scottish Government has given its financial backing to Scotland’s bid if Paisley is named UK City of Culture 2021.
Commenting Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay, who also serves as Cabinet Secretary for Finance, said:
“The Scottish Government is backing Paisley’s bid, and I am delighted to play my role and add my support as local MSP and Finance Secretary.
“Winning UK City of Culture will benefit all of Renfrewshire, and as the only bid from Scotland shortlisted – the eyes of the country are on Paisley and Renfrewshire.
“It has been a fantastic, positive and energised campaign which is all about people, and great credit must go to everyone involved.”