Culture as a Front-Line Service — Debate

– in the House of Lords at 2:26 pm on 18 March 2010.

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Moved By The Lord Bishop of Liverpool

To call attention to the role of culture as a front-line service following Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture; and to move for papers.

Photo of The Bishop of Liverpool The Bishop of Liverpool Bishop 2:28, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, for his kind words and I, too, regret his parting but recognise the important debate that he led in 2007 as Liverpool was about to embark upon its year, and that debate certainly set the tone for its success.

I am greatly encouraged by those who have put their names down to speak in this debate. I believe the timing is providential. When I entered the ballot, I did not know that last Friday would see the publication of research, commissioned by Liverpool City Council. This research was undertaken jointly by the universities of Liverpool and John Moores and is entitled Creating an Impact: Liverpool's experience as European Capital of Culture. It lists the impacts under five headings: cultural access and participation; economy and tourism; cultural vibrancy and sustainability; image and perceptions; and governance and diversity process.

I commend this research to your Lordships, especially to those who are committed to the importance of sustaining the cultural dimension of our society. One of the anxieties we face in this phase of economic downturn is that cultural services could be seen by some as an easy hit and their budgets reduced or cut altogether. As I hope this debate will show, such cultural vandalism would prove a false economy. As Liverpool's experience as European Capital of Culture demonstrates, cultural activities have economic, social and health impacts that are way in excess of the investment into them.

It was the poet TS Eliot, in a book called Notes towards the Definition of Culture, who offered a succinct definition. Culture, he said,

"may even be described simply as that which makes life worth living".

He added,

"it is what justifies other peoples and other generations in saying, when they contemplate the remains and the influence of an extinct civilisation, that it was worth while for that civilisation to have existed".

During Liverpool's celebrated year, we had everything on show. We had art that was highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow. Indeed, part of its huge success was that some of the activities drew literally tens of thousands on people on to the streets of the city to see, for example, the extraordinary mechanical spider-La Machine-that crawled majestically through the streets of Liverpool only to end up disappearing down the Mersey tunnel. I met one father who took his little boy on his shoulders to see this mechanical beast, and when the young lad saw that the spider had gone down the Mersey tunnel, he told his dad he would never go down that tunnel again.

There were events to please the masses such as the Night of Liverpool Music, hosted by Paul McCartney in the football stadium at Anfield where, as dusk fell, 30,000 raised their baton torches to sing "Hey Jude". As you would expect, there was a lot of music to touch the soul, including the combined orchestras of Cologne and Liverpool gathering in my own cathedral to sing Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem". To think that less than 70 years ago these two European cities were scarred by mutual bombing, and here they were, joined in music and harmony, lamenting in unison the slaughter of Europe's young men and women.

In 2008, there were some 7,000 events in Liverpool, involving 10,000 artistes and 67,000 children. Some 160,000 community members participated in creative activities. There were 13 royal visits. One million hotel beds were sold, with hotel occupancy levels at 77 per cent. There were 3.5 million new visitors to the city and 15 million visits to a cultural event or attraction. It is estimated that the economic benefit to the Liverpool city region was in the region of £800 million, with 70 per cent of people from Liverpool visiting a museum or gallery.

These are just some of the statistics that give insight into the successful reach of the cultural programme. Such was its success in reaching inwards to its own people and outwards to a national and international audience that José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said at the time:

"It's turning out to be one of the most successful Capital of Culture programmes that we have ever had. We are now trying to create a network of European Capitals of Culture to build on Liverpool's experience".

This success could not have happened without the initiative of Liverpool City Council, the vision and expertise of the Culture Company and the investment and support of the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

I declare an interest in that I have recently become a trustee of National Museums Liverpool. In 2008, our museums and galleries attracted 2,736,701 visitors, which is the highest number on record, and more than three times as many as in 2001. What is most encouraging, however, are the statistics on the social inclusion programme of NML. Visitors from low socio-economic backgrounds have been increasing continually over the past five years so that numbers have increased from 442,401 to 780,068. This is what differentiates museums and galleries in provincial parts of the country from their sisters in London, which attract largely international audiences. We in the regions have a track record of penetrating our own communities, especially areas of deprivation, with our cultural heritage. This is one of the reasons why we must not treat such cultural services cavalierly and why they cannot be swept aside in times of economic stringency.

One of the areas I want to highlight, which is one of the reasons I sought to secure this debate, is not just to report on the economic impact of culture but to show how there is an inextricable link between good cultural services and the health and well-being of a community. Let me quote from a letter that I received from the chief executive of the NHS mental health service provider in north Merseyside, Mersey Care NHS Trust. He writes:

"It is my opinion that culture in all its forms is a more significant contributor to health and well-being than direct formal services alone".

He has given me the example of 25 reading groups that have been set up through Mersey Care linked with the year of culture. He can identify people within these groups who otherwise would have needed in-patient care had it not been for the support and benefit of the groups. Groups cost about £6 per person per session; by comparison, an in-patient stay costs £9,000 on average.

Mersey Care NHS Trust has commissioned its own report on the benefit of cultural activities that were linked with Liverpool's year as capital of culture. This shows emphatically how, by entering into partnerships with a number of cultural organisations, the trust has been able to deliver a strategy of mental health and well-being that is having a significant and positive impact on mental health service users.

The trust was encouraged in its work by the then Secretary of State for Health who, in September 2008, said:

"Music, poetry, dance, drama and the visual arts have always been important to our mental and physical wellbeing, and collective participation and engagement in the arts is a fundamental element of any civilised society".

He added that the creative arts are not some kind of eccentric add-on,

"but should be part of the mainstream in both health and social care".

The Mersey Care report cites a number of examples of creative partnerships such as those between the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and the Broadoak acute psychiatric in-patient unit, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and acute psychiatric in-patient units. The value of these creative partnerships is that participants reported improved mood and sense of well-being. Such is the success of these partnerships that Mersey Care has recognised that this is an opportunity to stimulate further its own engagement with the cultural sector.

As well as having a beneficial impact on health, cultural services also contribute to creating a more caring and compassionate society. If I might be allowed what at first appears to be a digression, I spend some of my time as bishop for prisons meeting and listening to offenders. The point that comes across time and again is that prisoners, without seeking to exonerate themselves, tell me that they had little or no understanding of the impact of their crime either on the victim or the victim's family, or even their own family. Criminal acts are often committed because of a failure of the imagination. As prisoners go through rehabilitation, education and cultural programmes, they have their imaginations stimulated and enlarged and begin to realise what they have done to others. Enabling them to begin to put themselves in the shoes of the victim is a vital step in correcting their behaviour.

I have seen prisoners get involved in drama exercises and speak about how their minds and hearts have been changed and opened to the full dimensions of their criminal behaviour, and this in itself has led them to change. It is the development of the imagination that is crucial to creating a caring and compassionate society. If people are not able to put themselves in the shoes of a victim, we end up creating a care-less and compassion-less world. The arts within our cultural services help to develop the imagination. That is why it is so important, especially in those areas of our society where people are deprived of the means of developing their imagination, to invest in our cultural services. I look forward to hearing the speeches of noble Lords, underlining the importance of culture as a front-line service.

In conclusion, at the beginning of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008, I invited the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury to give a lecture in the Anglican cathedral on the role of faith in European culture. Some 2,000 people attended. By the way, the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals are two of the city's greatest cultural icons. Not only did they house some of the major musical, theatrical and artistic events and exhibitions, but our visitor numbers rose from 430,000 in 2007 to 530,000 in 2008, making the Anglican cathedral more visited than even Salisbury Cathedral, not that there is any competition. As you can imagine, his Grace the most reverend Primate explored the role of faith in cultivating a civilised society. He showed how instrumental it was in developing the arts, from music to novels and paintings to theatre. The arts both define and express our values as a civilisation. Although a stable and just economy is vital to our well-being, in the end there is more to life than money. Those other values are enshrined in our culture. We must be careful not to sacrifice our culture on the altar of the economy. If we do, we might find that we have lost more than we realise.

Photo of Lord Williams of Elvel Lord Williams of Elvel Labour 2:43, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I heartily congratulate the right reverend prelate the Bishop of Liverpool on securing this debate and on his impressive and moving introduction to it. I declare a familial interest in that my stepson is dean of Liverpool's Anglican cathedral. I have, of course, consulted him on the matters that I wish to raise.

It seems to me that we should do three things in this debate. First, we should celebrate Liverpool's year in 2008 as European Capital of Culture. Secondly, we should ask ourselves whether what happened there, which was marvellous, is sustainable and, if so, in what measure. Thirdly, we should ask ourselves whether what happened in Liverpool is a paradigm for other urban centres and rural areas in the United Kingdom and whether what was done in Liverpool can be transmitted in some form to encourage the creative industries in other areas of the United Kingdom.

First, let me celebrate the success of Liverpool. I know that the right reverend Prelate will disapprove of the fact that I am going to read out some economic statistics, but they are pretty formidable. The additional visitor spend in Liverpool in 2008 as opposed to 2007, attributable directly to the European Capital of Culture experience, was £750 million. In 2008, over a third more people visited the city than in 2007. The socio-economic profile largely mirrored that in the city itself, so it was not a middle-class event. Liverpool had a much improved image in the media as a result of this-and it has suffered its knocks over the years. Eighty-five per cent of the population of the city thought that it was a better place in which to live than in 2007. That is a striking statistic, which shows that Liverpool is on the up. But is all this sustainable?

In Liverpool at the moment, according to the research that the right reverend Prelate referred to, there are 1,683 creative industry enterprises, which employ 11,000 people. The multiplier on employment in the creative industries is therefore very great and we have hope there. The city itself has a strategy for 2008-13, which is a commitment by local government to continue the effort on creative industries in Liverpool. There is a clear understanding that culture has added value to already existing regeneration programmes. There is some hope for the future, therefore, but it depends on the commitment of local authorities and possibly central government to the idea that creative industries are part of regeneration programmes up and down the United Kingdom.

Does the success of Liverpool offer a paradigm for other areas of the United Kingdom? There is a problem. With what is known now as the Cultural Olympiad and the attraction of London, Birmingham and Cardiff, there may be a danger of a lot of our cultural expertise tending to gravitate to where the audiences are. We have to accept that they are in the big urban areas. In Wales, Cardiff is an enormous centre for all the arts. There is also London, Birmingham, Manchester and now Liverpool. The question that I hope my noble friend will be able to answer is whether there is any way we can expand this into the rural areas, which up to now have felt rather deprived.

There is some hope. I am not dismissing this entirely. I cite the experience of Powys County Council. Powys is the largest county in the United Kingdom. It is rural and has no major towns, but it has Brecon. The Brecon Jazz Festival has become international and the Brecon baroque music festival has also just been recognised internationally. Powys has the Presteigne festival, too. It has theatres and an opera company. But above all it has a county council with a rural development plan that takes account of the creative industries in the area. There are not many of them, but part of this rural development plan is a project called Chance to Create, which will enhance the business side of creative industries in the county. It is run by two very energetic ladies-arts development officer Lucy Bevan and arts and culture manager Louise Ingham. They have managed to persuade the Welsh Assembly Government to get European Union money to support the business aspects of creative industries in Powys, with the multiplier on employment that that brings with it.

I am hopeful that, when he comes to wind up, my noble friend will say that, although this sort of organisation or enterprise is modest-it is not like those in Liverpool, London or Birmingham-it at least gives some idea that creative industries of the United Kingdom, whether they are in Wales, Scotland or England, will not be overlooked because of the inevitable tendency of London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool to attract the big hitters. I hope that I can get that assurance from my noble friend. While we celebrate the success of Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture, we must not forget that other areas of the United Kingdom need the creative industries as much as Liverpool does. Where Liverpool has set the example, I hope that others will be able to follow.

Photo of Lord Lyell Lord Lyell Conservative 2:51, 18 March 2010

My Lords, your Lordships may know that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, is one of the world's great authorities on the sport of cricket. I have no claim at all to cricket, apart from being scorer of the Eton second XI; even that put me into another profession. However, it is a great pleasure to the follow the noble Lord, Lord Williams; I call it first wicket down. It is an even greater pleasure to find with us this afternoon the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool, the author of this debate on culture and what it can do for that great city and its inhabitants.

In 1984, in the course of other duties that came to me through your Lordships' House, I had close contact with a powerful religious gentleman down the Corridor; in fact, he is still the honourable Member for North Antrim. When this parliamentary colleague asked whether I ever read the Bible, I said, "Yes, I did stay awake last Sunday". I hope that the right reverend Prelate with us today will be able to correct me if I am wrong, but Matthew 22:20 has our Lord saying:

"Show me the coin ... Whose portrait is this?".

On one side was Caesar's, on the other side was the Almighty's. The parliamentarian in another place said that I might represent Caesar, but that he was not God. I said that too many people thought that he was, which caused considerable disturbance in that area. The right reverend Prelate is the most marvellous representative of what I call the Caesar aspect and the city of Liverpool. Today, and on other occasions, he has given marvellous leadership in your Lordships' House. As for the other side of the coin, I will leave the Almighty to look on our venture today.

I declare an interest in the city of Liverpool, in that I have shares in an institution. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, will take cover when I say that the motto is "Nil satis nisi optimum", or "Only the best will do". That is probably the motto of, and certainly evinces the qualities shown by, both the right reverend Prelate and the city of Liverpool.

The right honourable lady the Member for Liverpool Wavertree, in the year of culture, organised an event in the Members' Dining Room of the other place. There were five boys and girls who came with cellos and at least one harp, if not two. They came from Kensington Junior School and the Sacred Heart Primary School to play in the Palace of Westminster under the guidance and at the instigation of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. That evening, I met the maestro Vasily Petrenko-I understand that that is how one can refer to the principal conductor of such an organisation. He corrected me on various aspects of Liverpool, music and his own career. It may have been him or other leading members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic who started to encourage these five young boys and girls to take an interest in music, but, to follow the wonderful speech of the right reverend Prelate, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Vasily and the others responsible have unlocked the talent of those boys and girls-and, I suspect, of their parents and other people in that great city.

Indeed, I was given a briefing yesterday from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. A group called the West Everton Children's Orchestra visits two, three or four primary schools-I do not know how many. I understand that it is given blanket coverage and that an inordinate amount of interest is taken in music and instrumental activities. That is an aspect of culture, which we are discussing this afternoon. The West Everton Children's Orchestra is one of three such organisations in England; there is a similar organisation in the Stirling area of Scotland. Certainly, from what I saw in the Members' Dining Room in 2008, with the enormous success and enthusiasm under the cultural leadership of the great city of Liverpool, there is a feeling that youngsters and others can move out and, above all, unlock their talents and enjoy themselves.

The magnificent city of Liverpool is 300 miles from my home in the boondocks of Scotland. The first time I visited Liverpool, as part of my military duties, I went to a Scots Guards dinner with various others and did not get into too much trouble. I visited Liverpool again in 1965, when I went to the Grand National at Aintree. I remember sitting in the back of an open Land Rover. There was somebody with a placard, who may have a connection with the right reverend Prelate. He howled at me, "By their fruits ye shall know them". Today of all days, I return that instant volley to the right reverend Prelate; by what he has done, and is doing today, we know him, and we thank him.

The other dates in my diary are 13 and 14 October 1967 and 11 November 1967, when occurred two great events in my life that caused me to have great love for the great city of Liverpool. It is not merely 300 miles from my home, or 200 miles from where we are now. A mere 20 metres away, in the Royal Gallery of your Lordships' House, we find a huge painting by Daniel Maclise. I understand that the measurements of the painting in the Royal Gallery are 18 feet tall by 54 feet wide. When I made a brief cultural visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool one morning, I had not necessarily been overindulging or done something dreadful, but I thought that I was familiar with that picture-the original of Daniel Maclise's "The Death of Nelson" is in there. I was certainly not surprised, but I was agreeably delighted that I could see in Liverpool paintings and culture of that nature.

I have referred to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. I have been in the Philharmonic Hall not once but twice. Once, I even made a speech-I did not sing-in connection with an event with which the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and the right reverend Prelate may be familiar. It was an awards ceremony at which I was invited to say a few words. I was proud and delighted to be there.

I thank the right reverend Prelate for showing us what can be done by unlocking the talents of the young people in Liverpool, as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has done. What was done in 2008 sowed the seeds for the future. I am very grateful to the right reverend Prelate for introducing the debate and I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

Photo of Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank Liberal Democrat 3:00, 18 March 2010

My Lords, just over two years ago, the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, introduced a debate on the forthcoming role of Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture 2008. I am delighted that the right reverend Prelate has chosen to develop this theme in the aftermath of the events, reviewing the outcome, assessing the lessons and looking ahead at the economic prospects and anticipated restraints on public spending.

That debate two years ago was a prologue to a celebration. We sang the praises of Liverpool and drew from our own personal experience. I was born and brought up in the city and was proud that it had won-rather to everyone's surprise-an ambitious programme of special events in what would be a very demanding year. However, I was anxious. In the course of preparations there had been some rough passages and arguments reorganising administration, with some leading participants dropping out and gaps among the plans. Liverpool's reputation had always been up and down. Could it really work? However, it did work. It was a triumph and a huge success for the people of the city, the north-west and for many visitors who had never before been to Liverpool. I was in a queue at the Klimt exhibition at the Tate Liverpool-that was seen as a world-class occasion-where I saw a very distinguished academic who rarely travelled outside Oxford. "What are you doing there?" I said rather foolishly. He said that he was enjoying his visit immensely and was staying for several days.

Another of my concerns was the possibility that for Liverpool culture meant only the Beatles, street parties and popular scouse comedians laughing through their tears. But in my formative years in Liverpool, when I played and watched football and listened to traditional jazz, I and my contemporaries had benefited greatly from libraries, the Walker Gallery, architecture, music and scholarship-high culture, as it is sometimes called. I hope that, two generations on, they will be encouraged and that people will be excited by them, thus opening up ideas and challenges. I made six separate trips to Liverpool and all the occasions met my criteria. I and my friends were tightly packed between St George's Hall and Lime Street Station when the music helped to launch the year. On another occasion, I watched fascinated and in pouring rain the extraordinary spider-like mechanical creature to which the right reverend Prelate referred, called La Machine or La Princesse. I am not sure whether it set off from the city centre. I also listened to the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. It did not play music by Beethoven-an obvious choice-but an unusual and provocative piece of music that I-or, more relevantly, most of the audience-had never heard before. That certainly widened my cultural boundaries.

Now that it is all over, what next? I remember that, following the 1953 coronation festivities, David Low produced a famous cartoon with the caption, "Morning after". The ball was over-an unreal occasion-and the cost had been high. In a different context and time, I am much concerned about what will happen when the 2012 Olympics are over. When energy, enthusiasm and money are exhausted it will be all too easy to collapse with happy memories and not take essential further steps to regenerate and raise standards.

As the right reverend Prelate said, the City of Liverpool council, to its credit, commissioned a five-year research programme from the University of Liverpool-what I used to call the old university-and Liverpool John Moores University to examine Liverpool's experience and the impact on it of being the European Capital of Culture. As has been said, the report was published last week. It is rigorous and disciplined although analytical rather than prescriptive. I will not repeat all the details as the report is available through the Library. However, the programme had an income of £130 million over the six years to and including 2008. It attracted 10 million additional visits to Liverpool and these generated more than £750 million for Liverpool, Merseyside and the region. Of the 2.6 million European and global visits, 97 per cent were first-time visits. As for what the report calls "cultural access", one-third of the audience was local and during the period 2006-08, there was a 10 per cent rise in each year, and in 2008, 11 per cent of Liverpool residents "tried something new".

Over the years, Liverpool has often had a very negative profile in newspapers, on the radio and on television. However, most of us who followed the coverage during the year found that it was positive-initially cautious but wholehearted later. The report concludes that Liverpool has undergone "a remarkable image renaissance", and that,

"levels of confidence have been raised across the city".

It says that culture,

"is more widely accepted as a driver for economic change, health and social inclusion".

At several points it refers warmly to partnership. I agree very much with the right reverend Prelate on that matter. Speaking personally, I think that partnership will be essential in the years ahead because religion and politics have often divided the city. For the past 10 years or so there has been welcome relative stability. The council showed imagination and strength in carrying through the programme. I hope that all parties will build on Liverpool's success because there are very many tasks ahead. Unemployment is high and, as the report shows, skill levels are low. Household income rose 40 per cent over a decade, but Liverpool remains one of the poorest cities in the country. I welcome the intention announced earlier this week to develop an Atlantic gateway covering the hinterland of both Liverpool and Manchester. In 1997, the Government of the day published a famous report, Change or Decay. I still have a copy. There has not been enough constructive change over those years.

In 1945, I campaigned as a sixth-former during the general election where I lived and close to my school, Quarry Bank. In Liverpool there were 11 parliamentary constituencies, one of them uncontested with only 21,000 voters whose single candidate was carried from street to street on a horse-drawn cart. In the forthcoming election there will be only four parliamentary constituencies, each with five, six or more candidates. I hope that all these candidates will congratulate those who put together Liverpool's year of European Capital of Culture and, more importantly, strongly support the culture of the city and the growth of its vital constructive industries.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Spokesperson for Defence, Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport , Deputy Chief Whip 3:10, 18 March 2010

My Lords, the more you look at a debate like this, the more you realise that your original contribution is going to be limited because everything you want to say seems to be reasonably obvious. But the answer in politics is that it does not mean that you should not say it. Several things originally attracted me to speak in this debate. When I was still looking forward to my 30th birthday, I made several visits to Glasgow during its year as a city of culture. I remember the buzz of being there, although it is true that I was still young enough to enjoy the buzz without feeling like death warmed up the next day; such are the memories of youth. Glasgow gained a degree of confidence and took pleasure in enjoying itself. The whole city stopped being miserable.

Glasgow and Liverpool come from the same industrial past. They both have a wonderful series of galleries, museums and so on which were provided for them by 19th century philanthropists who made their money out of the industries of the day. They both have incredibly well kept cultural secrets. Indeed, many people outside this place probably say, "Don't tell people about the galleries and museums. We won't be able to get into them as easily". There was a sense that the museums and galleries were not for the people who lived in those cities: they were well kept secrets.

I am afraid that I did not get to Liverpool during its year of culture, but what we saw on television and what I read showed that the cheerfulness happened again, but on a bigger scale. Local people were encouraged to take part in events and to build on what was already there. Indeed, telling people what is already there is probably the most important task. There is no point in holding an event if you do not tell everyone it is going to happen. That can be overdone, and I have personal experience of that from my own party conference just after the competition was announced. I found myself chairing a meeting-I do not know why, and I do not think the people who organised the meeting knew why I was chairing it either, but these things happen at party conferences. It was late at night, and I suggested that ordinary, grassroots sport might not have the biggest contribution to make to culture. I was told that it could make a contribution because there would be festivals with lots of small children from football teams celebrating them. My definition of sport does not really stretch to having children running around, but the idea that everything was possible was an infectious one within the group. It was comprised of councillors from the one of the dominant political parties in the city, so it is not surprising that such a degree of enthusiasm was able to permeate.

Once enthusiasm gets going, you are okay, but it has to be backed up with investment and structural support in order to go out and reach people. That becomes clear when you read the information: things must be well organised. This takes me to the Olympics. If we do not see the Olympics as anything other than the high point of a series of well planned big events that generate income and enthusiasm, we are missing a trick. Those running the Cultural Olympiad will be particularly trying to reach out beyond London through different sorts of structures, and so will face slightly different problems. What they have said very clearly is this: you have to keep your nerve when planning something. It was the underlying lesson they had learnt.

Journalists and indeed even politicians sometimes have been waiting for the big disaster with the Olympics so that they can say, "Oh, it shouldn't have happened". Holding one's nerve is apparently very important, and certainly that is the impression I was given. You must make sure that you carry on with the building programme so you can look back to what is good about it. I am always keen on people pointing out what has not worked out too well. Admitting to a few mistakes that you will try to change is a great way of building confidence. It is better than trying to pretend that everything is wonderful all the time, because we know that does not happen. Success, even when it is great success, is still relative; you could have done better.

It is important to think about how to generate a high level of enthusiasm. By all accounts, and I am looking at this from the outside, Liverpool seemed to be able to create a feeling that something good, positive and of its very own was happening. If we can learn how to reproduce that feeling, we will be doing very well. The noble Lord, Lord Williams, pointed out that this happens on a smaller scale in other places using specialist units. We must think about how to generate it in other parts of the country. How should we build on the work of our festivals? Turning back to the Scottish connection, the Edinburgh Festival takes place every year. Although the good burghers of Edinburgh are probably sick of unicycling jugglers after a week or two, it is clear that people still enjoy the festival. They know that it generates enthusiasm. If there is a structure that lets people know what is happening, other benefits come from that. Employment is generated, there is a positive attitude and a can-do mentality that is not exclusive. Those who are on the front line must be backed up.

That is surely the biggest lesson to learn. Support must be given to those who do the planning, and you must ensure that you make people feel involved. If you do not, all exercises in mass participation will be limited in their success and unable to reach their full potential for enhancing their localities. We must always remember to back up good works.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Leader in the House of Lords, Spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs , Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 3:17, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I start by following my noble friend Lord Addington in agreeing that if there is any lesson to be learnt from the Liverpool exercise that can lead forward into the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad, it is that you should not be diverted or have your confidence knocked back by a media that are always willing to look for what might go wrong or say that it is a waste of money. There is a national obsession with trying to find fault, but one of the things that we learned from Liverpool is that, as my noble friend said, if we get behind the people and the planners involved in the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad, we will have a great national success and generate the same boost of confidence nationally as Liverpool has had from being the capital of culture.

I pay tribute to the right reverend Prelate for obtaining this debate. If he came to the McNally household on some Sunday mornings he would find me doing the Sunday fry-up and singing,

"We live in a city exceedingly fair,We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,If you want a cathedral, we have one to spare,In my Liverpool home".

That is usually followed by shouts from my children: "Oh for God's sake, shut up, Dad". That is due to the quality of my voice.

My background and locus for speaking in this debate is that my parents were born in Old Swan in Liverpool at the turn of the last century. I grew up with Liverpool being the first big city of which I was aware, and I still have the sense of visiting Liverpool in its pomp in the 1950s. I also grew up with some knowledge of the legacy of the religious divide in the city. My parents talk of Liverpool in the early 20th century and the religious bigotry there. Sometimes when people tell me that areas in Northern Ireland or elsewhere cannot overcome such a divide, I say, "Well, look at Liverpool. Look at the way that those kinds of divisions are part of its history". The fact that Liverpool has overcome it is due in no small measure to the leadership of its churches. I do not think that we have a cathedral to spare, because the leadership of those two cathedrals at either end of Hope Street-how well named is that street which connects them-has been the driving force for leaving religious bigotry behind.

My other contact with Liverpool was, first, as a north-west MP in the early 1980s, and then when working on a project for the Government Office for Merseyside in 1990. It might be worth recapping some of the findings of the study that I carried out. There was a massive lack of community pride and identity. There was the appalling media image, to which my noble friend Lord Rodgers and the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, referred. There was a sense of grievance and neglect. I was in Liverpool on the day that Mrs Thatcher resigned. If there had been an instant vote, Mr Heseltine would have been elected, because he seemed to have been the only politician in the past decade who had taken an interest in Liverpool. Although the garden festival was a one-off and did not leave a tremendous legacy, the effort that he made at the time was appreciated. I also remember from my survey something that has changed. I had asked what contribution the university made to Liverpool. One respondent shook his head and said, "The university is the castle on the hill. It doesn't get involved in the problems of the city". That is no longer true. All three universities are deeply involved.

When the culture bid was made, we received the usual media sneers. As my noble friend Lord Rodgers said, there was the fear that Liverpool has a tradition of being able to shoot itself in the foot. There were fears that, for either political or community reasons, the people involved would not hold together. There were a few stumbles and bumps on the way, but they held together magnificently, and the result has been not only a success during the year itself but a tremendous permanent legacy for others to look at. It has to be said that that was partly helped not only by the leadership of the council but by support from national and regional government, which kept the project on track.

Liverpool today, as a cultural centre, has the good hotels that modern visitors need. It has good restaurants, good transport links and good shopping. It provides a good visitor experience. It has an excellent conference centre and some great examples of regeneration. To see the restored St George's Hall is a tremendous feeling. Literally billions of pounds of new investment have been put into Liverpool over the past 10 years and the results are there to see. It makes one feel that culture, in its widest sense, can be used as a successful regenerator: Liverpool is a good example. However, there is the question of what comes next. Warren Bradley, the leader of Liverpool City Council, said:

"The last decade has seen Liverpool undergo one of the biggest transformations enjoyed by any city in recent times. There is a determination that Liverpool will forge ahead with its regeneration through strong leadership and partnership working. Our presence at this year's World Expo 2010 in Shanghai-the only UK city to be represented-gives us a great opportunity to attract more tourists and students, further investment and showcase Liverpool to the world".

I came to this debate from a lunch hosted by KPMG for the new Chinese ambassador. It could not have been in greater contrast to an occasion in 1981, when I went as one of the north-west MPs to a conference organised by Granada on the state of the city of Liverpool. The city was on its knees, with all confidence drained out of it. Now Liverpool will be Britain's city representative at the World Expo opening in Shanghai in seven weeks' time. It is brimming with confidence about what it has to say and offer to the world. That is one example of the impact of this renewal.

As the right reverend Prelate said, becoming the Capital of Culture was seen as a success, but the cultural programme continues. This year there will be a 12-month celebration of dance; a One City, One Goal football tournament as part of the 2018 World Cup bid; an On the Waterfront festival of dance; maritime art; the Tate Picasso exhibition; the Mathew Street Music Festival; and hundreds of other grassroots events. As well as these events-I will not repeat what others have said-the investment in the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter and the Liverpool Science Park builds on recent success. The first national museum in 100 years is being built on Liverpool's historic waterfront. The Museum of Liverpool will open in 2011. Liverpool City Council is also bidding to become a UNESCO City of Music, bringing together the traditions and worldwide fame of both the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Beatles. I have mentioned the key part that the city is playing in the World Cup bid. So as well as the tremendous success of the year itself, which has been referred to, Liverpool is retaining the momentum and carrying on using its cultural heritage, and the investment that has been made, to project itself forward. This is also to be welcomed.

The concept that motivated the bid-the world in one city-is one from which lessons can be learned about cultural diversity. It is no surprise that Liverpool is going to Shanghai: it has one of the oldest Chinese communities in Britain, as well as a long-standing relationship with that great city. The multiculturalism of Liverpool was also marvellously enjoyed and experienced during the City of Culture year itself. Again, it built on and repaired what in the past were often damaged race relations.

I welcome the opportunity to revisit this subject. We in this House often talk about post-legislative scrutiny. Today we have had some post-event scrutiny. The report that we can deliver on the effort made in the Capital of Culture year is that those of us who had confidence in Liverpool had our confidence justified; and also that the lesson that we can learn now as we move forward to the Cultural Olympiad and other events is that culture and the creative arts can be tremendously important in raising the morale and confidence of a community, and can also be important wealth-creators and job-creators in their own right. My dad lived in exile in Blackpool for much of his life, but he was always a proud Scouser, and he would be proud of his city today.

Photo of Lord Luke Lord Luke Shadow Minister (Also Shadow Minister for Defence), Culture, Media and Sport, - Shadow Minister (Also Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Minister 3:30, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I should like first to thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool for introducing this debate and giving us all the opportunity to discuss the year of Liverpool's triumph as European City of Culture in 2008. It seems amazing that it is already two years since this great event. I believe that it has had considerable results.

As we all know, the title European Capital of Culture was designed to help bring European citizens closer together. It might surprise some noble Lords to know that since 1985, more than 30 cities have been awarded this title-from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, Krakow to Porto; and then, in 2008, Liverpool beat five other British hopefuls to become the host city. What a fabulous host Liverpool was, and is. I echo the words of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and commemorate straight away my noble friend Lord Heseltine's involvement and instrumental role in Liverpool's regeneration. We do not believe that the city would have been in anywhere near the correct state to receive such a tremendous honour as European Capital of Culture without all the work, time and interest that he had previously invested in the city.

I was privileged to be entertained by the local authorities in Liverpool in the run-up to 2008, and I was very impressed with the spirit and enthusiasm that I encountered on all sides. I was also lucky to visit some of the great showplaces in Liverpool which have been mentioned this afternoon, most notably the Walker Gallery, the Maritime Museum and St. George's Hall-a super building of which I had never really heard before, but I have now. I have to state my interest as a dealer in watercolours and to say how many superb works of art I was shown in Liverpool.

We can all agree that Liverpool as the European City of Culture was, and continues to be, a huge success, as the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank, emphasised. It holds the largest collection of Grade II listed buildings outside London and has one of the best collections of European art in Britain outside London. It has the fifth largest cathedral in the world and has been a location for some 140 films in the past year alone-most of which I fear passed me by.

From a tourism perspective, it is estimated that visitors to the city totalled nearly 10 million in 2008 and more than 18 million across the four years of the build-up programme. Thirty-five per cent of all visits to Liverpool were influenced by the title European Capital of Culture, with many making a trip to the city for the first time. From 2007 to 2008 there was a growth in overall numbers and significant increases in both national and international visitor numbers, split roughly between 1.5 million from the UK and 300,000 from abroad. From a business perspective, the financial impact just from tourism based on estimated direct spend stood at some £753 million. Major developments during the period, accompanied by public realm and infrastructure improvements, transformed Liverpool's office quarter to offer a modern and attractive business environment. The commercial district was set to be expanded with 1.75 million square feet of new, high quality office space, making Liverpool one of the UK's fastest growing business destinations. Furthermore, retail space at the Paradise Street and Metquarter developments has been designed to re-establish Liverpool as a top class national retail destination. The Paradise project is now Europe's largest retail development and has created an extra 1 million square feet of new shopping floor space.

Of course, this amazing business expansion has created thousands of new jobs. Within the arts and cultural sector alone-of which in 2008 there were a staggering 1,683 creative-industry enterprises, representing a growth of 8 per cent in the number of enterprises over the 2004-08 period-a phenomenal 10,987 people were employed, which accounted for around 3 to 4 per cent of the overall workforce in the city.

All these factors combined have led to an enhanced image of Liverpool, not just for the national and international visitors who have come to the city but also, I believe, for the people of Liverpool themselves. My noble friend Lord Lyell said that only the best will do, and I think that that has been the guiding light during the build-up to the City of Culture-and since then as well. It is well known that, sadly, the city of Liverpool attracted very high levels of negative UK national media coverage for most of the second half of the 20th century, and that was also reflected in negative preconceptions of the city at a national level. However, since the European Capital of Culture title award in 2003, there have been some remarkable changing trends in media coverage about the city, and in national as well as local perceptions. It has undergone a remarkable image renaissance, locally, nationally and internationally. Local opinion leaders give more credibility to the city's cultural assets and to the cultural sector as a source of civic leadership. National media in the mainstream, as well as in specialist domains, are now used to presenting a richer picture of Liverpool as a multifaceted and contemporary city with world class assets and an ability to build on them. Internationally, the city has been rediscovered as a tourist destination, and rightly so.

Because of its time as Capital of Culture, levels of confidence have been raised across the city. Strong partnerships have been developed. There are greater opportunities to retain local talent, bring in new ideas, attract external investment and further develop the range and quality of what the city can offer. All these have increased at an incredible rate. It just goes to show, as the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, said, how important culture is as a driver for economic change and social inclusion.

Being European Capital of Culture has put Liverpool on the heritage map and alerted people to the city's status as a world heritage city. But we must not become complacent. We must now look forward and ensure that this most tremendous start retains its momentum.

I have a couple of questions to put to the Minister. As I said, being European City of Culture has had a remarkably positive effect on the portrayal of Liverpool in the media for the duration of the cultural offerings, shifting the primary focus from stories about football and crime. To what extent has this been a permanent change in the perception of the city? How, from now on, will the Government support Liverpool residents so that they may continue upholding their new reputation?

Liverpool City Council invested an additional 84 per cent in the arts between 2002-03 and 2008-09. What plans are there to ensure that the city's artistic endeavours are not left with a funding shortfall now the official events of the year are over?

The internet and online social networking sites are fast becoming a key marketing method with which to reach the largest number of people. The ECoC in Liverpool is a successful example of how this new media can be utilised to increase interest and therefore tourism. How are these tools being utilised to promote other UK cities at home and abroad? Finally, what lessons, from the successful delivery of Liverpool as the ECoC, can and will be taken forward to the implementation of the Cultural Olympiad?

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) , Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (and Deputy Chief Whip) 3:39, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I begin, as many noble Lords have done, by thanking the right reverend Prelate for introducing such a stimulating and constructive debate. The House has been indebted for a considerable time to the Bishops of Liverpool; the right reverend Prelate will be all too well aware of the impact that his predecessor, David Sheppard, made while he graced these Benches as Lord Sheppard. We are delighted that the right reverend Prelate is carrying on that most constructive tradition.

I need to declare an interest, as I participated to a limited degree in the development of the city of culture. I played a particular part in the opening of the museum of slavery, which I know is now one of those greatly visited museums in Liverpool. I had the great joy of being at the opening ceremony when Paul Robeson Jr played a star part; there is a name to conjure with. Consequently, I have the fondest recollections of the beginning of that year and I am delighted that the right reverend Prelate was able to identify the benefits that flowed from that year. He is of course right that there were economic benefits; it was not quite £800 million, but our figure is not far shy of that in terms of economic benefit to the area.

I can tell my noble friend Lord Williams that it is not possible for those figures to be generated without having an impact on the surrounding areas as well. I do not just mean the Wirral; everybody knows the significance that the city of Liverpool plays in relationship to the adjoining areas of north Wales and so on, to say nothing of the hinterland of Lancashire and Cheshire, so the fact that the city plays the key part as a city of culture is not to underestimate the spin-off to the rural areas. However, I accept his point: we need to attend to the rural positions. I should indicate to him that that is very much in the Government's mind at present, as we are working with the Rural Cultural Forum to look at how to build up the rural need for cultural provision. We all know the challenges-the big investment that is possible in cities will not be possible in the same way in rural areas-but I am very grateful to my noble friend for identifying the fact that we need to develop the non-urban areas.

Perhaps I might also give a note of optimism on another front, that of my noble friend's more distant point in the debate. The rural area of the south-west of England, which is not quite so distinguished for its large cities, has an important part for the creative industries at present. We are seeing that flourishing against the background that the right reverend Prelate identified at the beginning: the importance of the cultural industries as far as the economy of the city of Liverpool is concerned. However, that is also true of Liverpool being emblematic of the creative industries in relation to the whole country's economy.

In this last decade of significant growth in the British economy, one very significant matter is how much greater a proportion the creative industries are contributing. The Government have played their key part in supporting that development. Perhaps I might emphasise one dimension; one of the first acts that we set about, as soon as we came into power in 1997, was to end the fees for museum entrances. We all know the impact that that creative diversion has had in terms of visits to museums, and therefore on the increased experience of that dimension of our culture. One encouraging thing about it is that the sociological evidence also indicates that free museum entrance has increased attendances at art galleries. There is significant growth, among those sections of the population of whom it might have been said, in the past, that they showed the least predilection to go into museums and galleries. That is also an important spin-off from that concept.

On the success of Liverpool-I am glad that the right reverend Prelate presaged this in a gentle way in his introduction-those who are a little more forthright and almost as knowledgeable about the city, such as the noble Lords, Lord McNally and Lord Rogers, said that there was a fairly shaky start to the year of culture. I have a wonderful quote from Phil Redmond, who played such a significant part in picking up what was at its early stages very limited momentum. He said that the whole process was a bit like a Scouse wedding: all over the place at the beginning, but everybody got their act together by the end. That is how it felt with Liverpool. I remember a debate in this House after Liverpool had won the designation but before the plans had been established with any security and the anxieties reflected at that time-anxieties which, happily, were entirely ill founded.

One of the spin-offs is that we now have a competition for the British city of culture, which is engendering keen competition among British cities for our version of the European dimension. We are all too well aware of the fact that we cannot monopolise the European city of culture in quite the same way that we hope to do with the European Cup in football because slightly different factors are at play. The European city of culture concept will be shared among the nations of Europe, but we want the stimulus that meant so much to Liverpool to occur frequently among our cities.

To respond to the noble Lord, Lord Luke, we have not the slightest doubt that we need support for the arts and culture in our big cities, especially Liverpool. There are difficult economic times ahead for public expenditure, and we appreciate that local authorities, including city authorities, will be under constraints over the next few years. Margaret Hodge, my colleague in the department in the other place, has made absolutely clear that she expects constant support for the arts and cultural organisations in this difficult period, because they produce the advantages which the right reverend Prelate emphasised.

It is not just a question of economic activity; there are also the benefits to be felt from the experience of a strengthening culture of optimism, of a feeling of creativity and of improvements in mental health. The right reverend Prelate identified those aspects of well-being. We might have been less aware of this a decade or so ago, but recent research has shown that the rehabilitation of offenders and how we improve the response of prisoners and those who have fallen into crime can be helped by increased exposure to cultural activities.

This has been an exceedingly positive debate. I expected that from the noble Lords, Lord McNally and Lord Rodgers, because of their association with the city. I was very grateful for what the noble Lords, Lord Addington and Lord Lyell, had to say. Both of them emphasised morale. It is always difficult to mention one Liverpool football club without mentioning another, so I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Lyell, on mentioning one, and I was pleased that he mentioned the Latin tag of Everton, which has got it right. I went to a school where it was intended to say exactly that-"Nothing but the best"-but it translated literally as, "Nothing, but you couldn't do better", which was not quite the intention. That was poorer Latin, so I am grateful to Everton for at least improving in that respect.

When we talk about culture today, we have a tendency to do so in terms of the arts, museums and art galleries and the year of culture. But Liverpool would not be our Liverpool without our appreciation of three facets of culture which are of the greatest importance. One is certainly music. Liverpool is a city of popular music; for a long time it was the world capital of popular music, and as a consequence we should recognise what a significant part it has in the city. Secondly, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lyell, for emphasising this, for a very long time Liverpool has inevitably been associated with association football and the strength of commitments in those areas. The other aspect is that dimension which the noble Lord, Lord McNally, sought to capture, as did the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers; the noble Lord, Lord Addington, actually gave phrase to it as "holding your nerve". It is rather more than that: it is the ability to triumph over adversity, and the expectation that certain things are not going to run easily your way.

It is a long time since Liverpool enjoyed the fruits of exceptional economic standing in the United Kingdom. The great days of the 19th century and the relationship with the United States and so on are long since gone. But Liverpool has always come through because of its people. Even when the going is tough the very best is brought out of them, not least with that characteristic, rather disparaging Scouse humour. These are all parts of the culture of this city which we are here to celebrate for having made such a success of that year and set an example which others have to follow.

Certain noble Lords associated Liverpool with Glasgow, the second city to have been awarded the European Capital of Culture. They also have a great deal in common in their undoubted greatness. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, referred to the great benefactors of the past. These city benefactors reflected very considerable wealth in the city which was the product of the great successes of the 19th century. This is also true of Glasgow. Both cities have had to adjust to the rather different economic circumstances of the second half of the 20th century and now the beginning of the 21st century, and in that respect both of them have shown that capacity to fight back, sustain their culture and meet the challenges which lie before them. None of us would underestimate those challenges.

I emphasise that none of this would have been so successful without a very deep commitment by government to the concept of culture and its significance in our national life. It is often emphasised in economic terms, and so it should be. Well-being is an important dimension and can be measured in many ways, but it is difficult to have well-being if one is suffering economically. I heard what the noble Lord, Lord Luke, said about the gestures the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, made towards Liverpool, and that he emphasised that he wanted to make a contribution to the city's recovery. It needed recovery after that time. In a decade or so when this land was scarred with joblessness, Liverpool suffered as much as any significant city. We can all recall the 1980s as a decade of very considerable stress and strain in the city, and of joblessness. One of the features of the past decade is the extent to which job creation has aided the city, not least in the important area of the creative industries and the opportunities which are produced through cultural developments.

I go on to another dimension of culture which was not mentioned this afternoon, although I know if he had had more time the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, would without doubt have addressed it. We have had very significant architectural developments in our cities, and Liverpool is one of the beneficiaries of this. It always had the grandeur of its 19th century buildings, but it has had some very striking developments in recent years. We should appreciate the extent of architectural achievement-particularly in our great cities with waterfronts, where modern architecture is in many ways enhanced by and enhances the waterfront. Liverpool has been the beneficiary of that development, too. Let me say how important that aspect of art and culture is to the well-being of people, because there is no doubt that the spatial environment in which one exists is very important to morale. I think that Liverpudlians these days glory in the fact that the city looks so fine in so many significant parts of its environment.

There are so many more points that one could cover. I want to capture what has been expressed on all sides of the House. The noble Lord, Lord Luke, asked me one or two waspish questions about the future. He is right to address himself to that. I think I could speak with a little more confidence, if the roles were reversed, about what will sustain Liverpool's future, but I stress that we will continue to place great emphasis on protecting and increasing the number of jobs that will help to preserve people's economic well-being. Many of those jobs will be in the creative industries and in culture, which is the feature of this debate, and we will seek to be fair to deprived parts of our society. As ever, a very large number of deprived people live in our great cities, and Liverpool still has areas of real deprivation which need attention.

I emphasise to the noble Lord, Lord Luke, that I would be naive not to recognise that local authorities will face considerable pressure in the future, but we are concerned that the arts and cultural development should play their full part in the community. I come full circle to the opening contribution made by the right reverend Prelate when I say that culture and the arts bring wider benefits and a stronger sense of community than mere economic analysis suggests, although they produce that, too. They are also about morale, well-being and pride in the area in which one lives and in the role that one plays. That is the lesson to learn from Liverpool's city of culture year.

Photo of The Bishop of Liverpool The Bishop of Liverpool Bishop 3:58, 18 March 2010

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions and their unique and original insights, particularly for the tributes and the recognition of what Liverpool has achieved. I am particularly grateful to the Minister for reinforcing the Government's commitment to the arts and culture, especially in these economic times, and I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion withdrawn.