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Regional news  Article

'Winning bid will not bring wealth'

Jun 8 2002

By Laura Davis, Daily Post


A LEADING economist has warned that winning European Capital of Culture would not solve Liverpool's economic problems.

The city cannot expect the financial turn-around experienced by Glasgow during its year of culture in 1990, he added.

Speaking at a conference of Liverpool's cultural leaders, James Heartfield, a lecturer at Delaware University's London base, said: "I do not believe it will have a dramatic impact on the industry as a whole.

"If you are saying creative industries will turn the Merseyside economy around I do not believe it is the case."

City council leaders hope the 2008 crown will give Liverpool a huge boost to the economy as it did in Glasgow.

The Scottish city generated more than £60m-worth of new business during 1990 and the preceding years.

The figure is thought to soar to more than £100m for the 2008 winner.

An economic survey carried out as part of the Newcastle and Gateshead bid claimed the title would bring up to £640m into the region, generating at least 13,000 jobs.

However Mr Heartfield was sceptical that Liverpool could repeat Glasgow's success.

"No scheme works twice," he added. However, bid leader Sir Bob Scott said it was important not to underestimate the sway of Liverpool's creative industries.

He said: "I do not believe the cultural industries of Liverpool should be sniffed at.

"I think the Glasgow template fits very well on Liverpool. They made more of the title than anywhere else and they did it because they needed it.

"The same goes for here. I don't think Liverpool's use of European Objective 1 finance should affect the bid.

"Winning Capital of Culture is a great exit strategy for a government spending regime that ends in 2006." Mr Heartfield also criticised Sir Bob's idea to create a Beatles museum as a key part of the city's plans for 2008.

Looking to Liverpool's past is hindering the artists of the future, he said.

"The Beatles were maudlin sentimentalists of a type Liverpool could do without. It is sad and adolescent," he added.

Sir Bob retaliated: "Apple and Sir Paul McCartney have been collecting souvenirs for decades. There will be a Beatles museum somewhere and we want it to be here."

The panel of judges, led by former Channel 4 chief executive Sir Jeremy Isaacs, who will decide Liverpool's fate in the Capital of Culture race will visit the city before August, it was revealed yesterday.

The winner will be announced next March...SUPL:


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