Leicester City of Culture 2017 bid may get £2m from council

Leicestershire County Council may dip into its reserves to provide £2m to help Leicester become the UK City of Culture in 2017.

Council leader Nick Ruston said the money would be "a worthwhile investment" because of the economic and cultural benefits it will generate.

Leicester is competing with Hull, Dundee and Swansea Bay for the honour.

The council will discuss whether to contribute the £2m from its reserves on Friday.

Bosworth battlefield

The bid committee needs to show it can raise £10m to host the year of events.

County council leader Nick Rushton, said: "I know the council has to save £110m, but it's well worth investing £2m from our reserves, as experience from other areas shows that the potential benefits to the county are enormous.

"If Leicester becomes city of culture in 2017, the county, its main towns and major venues such as Bosworth battlefield can benefit greatly from hosting events, boosting tourism and the local economy."

He said Liverpool saw a 50% rise in attendance at its main attractions and 9.7 million additional visits to the city when it was named City of Culture in 2008.

"A successful bid by Leicester is forecasted to bring a 10% growth in visitor expenditure over the next four years," Mr Rushton said.

"Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector could double from 7,000 to 14,000 by 2020."

The final decision on which city will win the title will be made in November.

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