Ian Blackford challenged by Ridge on Scotland border controls
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The competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the devolved administrations, uses culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally. Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland councils expressed interest in being named a City of Culture area.
Plans have been drawn up for a joint regional bid between the five councils areas but SNP councillors in Dumfries and Galloway have opposed the plans.
Cllr Rob Davidson, deputy leader of the SNP-Labour run Dumfries and Galloway Council said a Southern Scotland regional bid would be more appropriate excluding English local authorities.
He added: “Our concerns with the Borderlands bid are, firstly, that we are not entirely clear how the decision was made to go ahead with such a bid.
“And, secondly, that we feel there is a great risk that everything Dumfries and Galloway has to offer doesn’t get the prominence and exposure to wider audiences that, for example, a south of Scotland bid would have guaranteed.”
But last night, former Scottish Secretary David Mundell branded the comments by Cllr Davidson as “pathetic”.
The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP, added: “I can only conclude that it is because of this cross-border element and frankly that is pathetic.
“The difference here with this bid is it involves a cross-border approach and ultimately SNP philosophy is against cooperation with our friends and neighbours across the border.”
A record 20 places from across the UK submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025.
The winner will take over from Coventry who was awarded the status in 2021 which saw more than £100million pledged in capital investment to support cultural projects in the city.
Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “From Derry-Londonderry to Hull and Coventry it has been a difficult and rewarding challenge to select the next UK City of Culture, and the list of potential candidates for 2025 indicates that life in the immediate future is going to be even more challenging!
“The three previous titleholders have demonstrated the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about, even within places that have been ultimately unsuccessful but have gone on to develop collaborative and sustainable partnerships.
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“The list for 2025 also demonstrates the breadth of ambition, aspiration and innovation that exists from coast to coast and nation to nation across the UK and I am looking forward to that challenge of immersing myself once again in the UK’s rich seam of creativity.”
The twenty bidders will be reduced to an initial long list of bidders in the coming weeks and then cut down further to a final shortlist in early 2022.
The UK’s City of Culture will be officially unveiled in May next year.
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