Town of Culture Award

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:59 pm on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn 4:59 pm, 23rd January 2019

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his support. It is true that towns are part of the wider city of culture establishment, but I defy the Minister to name a town that has won that award. I think there is merit in enabling towns to regenerate, promote themselves and participate, because they have a great deal to give.

I hope the Minister focuses on our one demand and establishes a town of culture award, but will he also discuss the idea with the devolved Administration in Scotland and my colleagues in the devolved Administration in Wales, and meet his ministerial colleagues in Northern Ireland and, in due course—I hope—the devolved Administration there, to establish the scheme on a UK-wide basis? We could have winners in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, and perhaps an overall town of culture for the whole United Kingdom.

This idea has gained traction over the past few weeks. Although I welcome the support of Sir Greg Knight, the idea had its genesis in the Labour Towns group, where Labour Members who represent towns have looked at how we can help regenerate our towns and communities through transport, housing, employment and tourism. The Minister will know that my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper has written to the Secretary of State to ask for our central demand—the establishment of a town of culture award—to be considered. It is an idea whose time has come.