It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe. I congratulate my right hon. Friend David Hanson on securing this debate. It is already clear that the case for a town of culture award is absolutely irresistible. I am sure the Minister will stand up and tell us that it is nailed on. The competition is so intense that whoever will be on the judging panel will have a difficult job.
As my right hon. Friend said in opening the debate, the award is about aspiration, celebration and pride. It is about identity around people and place, and about culture. Those are all important things. Our towns are in danger of being forgotten a bit. Putting them on the map with a town of culture award would make a real difference.
Let me mention the three towns in my constituency. The town of Bottesford has the magnificent St Peter’s church, and interesting cultural activities around Bottesford Beck, which spawns all sorts of interesting things. The town of Kirton-in-Lindsey celebrated its diamond jubilee town hall by renovating it in the 60th year of this Queen’s reign, although it was first put there in the 60th year of Victoria’s reign. The town of Scunthorpe has its magnificent steel heritage. Only a few weeks ago, thanks to the work of Jim and Christine Pearson, former mayors of Scunthorpe, a steelworkers statue was unveiled. People thronged to see that. That is just one example of how culture lifts people’s spirits. The town of culture award will lift everyone’s spirits.