First Minster backs Borderlands bid to become City of Culture

The First Minister has voiced her support over plans by the Borderlands regions to secure City of Culture status in 2025.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 11:23 am
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants everyone to support the Borderlands becoming City of Culture
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants everyone to support the Borderlands becoming City of Culture

Nicola Sturgeon backed the move and hinted the Scottish Government may offer some form of support to the bid involving five council areas in southern Scotland and northern England.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson raised the matter during First Minister’s Questions last week after the SNP Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council said they would not be supporting it.

The council’s deputy leader Rob Davidson – who heads the SNP Group – would rather have seen a south of Scotland application put in.

He said: “Our concerns with Borderlands bid are, firstly, that we are not entirely clear how the decision was made to go ahead with such a bid.

“And, secondly, we feel there is a great risk that everything Dumfries and Galloway has to offer doesn’t get the prominence and exposure to a wider audience that, for example, a south of Scotland bid would have guaranteed.”

Mr Carson asked the First Minster: “SNP members of Dumfries and Galloway Council are threatening to oppose a joint bid to win City of Culture Status for the Borderlands region.

“Will the First Minister confirm whether she would support such a cross border bid for the Borderlands and if so what support the government can make available to the bid team as they move forward?

In her response, the First Minister promised to look into the situation.

She said: “I have been an enthusiastic supporter of Borderlands Initiative and I think it is important we take all opportunities, particularly in these circumstances to support culture and cultural initiatives.

"I would be happy to have a discussion with the councillors and ask the relevant minister to see what support might be available from the Scottish Government to support any bid.

“On these things obviously there will sometimes be differences of opinion, but let’s try and get behind any reasonable bid for something like this.”

Around 20 applications have been made to be the UK’s City of Culture 2025, with the winner to be named in May.