Wrexham’s Capital of Culture bid could prove ‘a catalyst for investment’ into the county, Members of the Senedd have been told.
Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said he fully supported Wrexham’s campaign, which has made the final shortlist of eight for the coveted title in 2025.
The Minister’s comments came last week in response to a question from Clwyd South MS Ken Skates, who asked how the Welsh Government is supporting major events in North Wales and what benefits a successful Capital of Culture bid could bring to Wrexham county borough.
Mr Gething told the Senedd: “Wales has a good track record of not just attracting but gaining real benefit from major events, and there is real credit to the Member for his time in Government in helping to move that forward.
“We see the events that we help to fund having a return on the investment of around about 10:1, so it does provide significant economic benefit. But also, as we said, cultural and social.”
He added: “I’m enthusiastic about Wrexham’s bid for the UK City of Culture. They’re the only Welsh entrant still left in the race, and we’ve seen from other UK cities of culture that it can be a catalyst for more investment and a greater understanding of that city and its near neighbours and what that can do in terms of attracting more investment from both inward investors in business terms, as well as looking to build on a record of a sustainable visitor economy.
“My officials will be happy to explore opportunities to collaborate to showcase events for 2025, should Wrexham be successful. And I hope that every Member in the Chamber – north, south, east and west – will wish Wrexham well in their bid to be the UK City of Culture in just a few years’ time.”
Mr Skates and Wrexham MS Lesley Griffiths have both declared their support for the 2025 bid.
Mr Skates said: “We have some wonderful annual events that the Welsh Government supports in North Wales, including the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which I’m a proud vice-president of, in my constituency. We know that major events have the potential to hugely transform communities for the better, and I echo what the Minister said.
“I’m proud that the Welsh Government is supporting Wrexham’s 2025 Capital of Culture bid and hope that people from other parts of Wales will get behind it too.”
Mrs Griffiths added: “I think everyone in Wrexham would be delighted if our town became the first Welsh Capital of Culture. Previous winners have shown securing the title can provide greater opportunities, create local jobs and boost investment, and the positivity generated could leave a lasting legacy on our town and region.”
The other seven areas on the Capital of Culture 2025 shortlist are Armagh City, Bradford, Cornwall, Derby, Southampton, County Durham and Stirling.