FIVE North east MPs have backed a House of Commons motion, calling on the Government to make Aberdeen the UK City of Culture in 2017.
The motion has been tabled by Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, and has attracted the support of Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat colleagues at Westminster.
The motion claims that Aberdeen would benefit from the title more than any of the other ten cities competing for the coveted cultural title.
Dame Anne said: “Aberdeen is already a city of the arts. There are incredible creative talents at work here in this city and this title would be a long overdue recognition of those talents. “We know that the arts make a huge difference to people’s lives every day. We see this in Aberdeen with events like the Rock Challenge and we see it with groups like The Phoenix Youth Theatre and we see it with the exhibitions at the Art Gallery. Just having those opportunities makes life better.
But she continued: “I think we’re all aware that there are gaps in Aberdeen’s cultural offer. As a city we don’t necessarily have the same cultural opportunities as places like Glasgow or Edinburgh or Dundee.
“Bidding to be UK City of Culture can help us address this.”
Frank Doran, the Labour MP for Aberdeen North, said: “Aberdeen’s bid to be UK City of Culture is a chance to appreciate what we already have in this city. I think we’re lucky to have places like the Art Gallery, which has the finest collection of any provincial gallery in the country. We have groups like Citymoves and Peacock Visual Arts and the Arts Centre, which is the hub of the city’s community arts groups.
“The bid gives us the chance to bring together everyone with an interest in the arts in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It really is too big an opportunity to pass up”
Sir Robert Smith, the Liberal Democrat MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, claimed: “A successful bid would not only be good for Aberdeen city, it would also be good for the shire as well. Aberdeen’s growing cultural life offers more and more to those who live and work in the city and in the surrounding area. A victorious bid would highlight to the rest of the UK and to the world the quality of life that the region has to offer.”
Dr Eilidh Whiteford, the SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, also backed the motion. She said: “The prospect of Aberdeen winning its City of Culture bid would be enormously welcome news for Banff and Buchan. I enthusiastically endorse the city’s effort, as it has the potential to bring Aberdeen to an ever wider international audience. The international prestige associated with a successful bid would reflect well on the whole North East, and indeed Scotland.
“I wish the city the very best of luck in this endeavour.”
ELSEWHERE: Aberdeen City Council