Liverpool launches bid to win EU Culture Capital title

Liverpool is the latest city to launch a PR push as areas across

Britain battle it out to be named Europe's official Capital of Culture

for the year 2008.

Paver Downes PR, based in Liverpool, has been chosen to promote the

city's bid nationally and locally by The Liverpool Culture Company,

which is co-ordinating the bid.

Keene Public Affairs, whose chairman Sir Malcolm Thornton is also Paver

Downes chairman, has been taken on to handle lobbying work in


Nigel Hughes, PR director at Paver Downes, which won the account

following an eight-way pitch, heads a team of four and reports to

Liverpool Culture Company head Bob Scott.

Scott successfully led Manchester's bid to host the Commonwealth Games

in 2002.

Hughes said: 'As a business based in Liverpool we have a vested interest

in the bid's success.

'Like a number of our peers we would have backed the bid even if our

pitch was unsuccessful.'

The contract runs until September 2002, when the British government

chooses the city it wants to see the title given to. The final decision

will be taken by the European Union in 2003.

The deadline for bids, which are submitted to the Department of Culture,

Media and Sport, is March 2002.

Other areas expected to submit include Newcastle and Gateshead, which

have teamed up for a joint-bid. Their submission is being co-ordinated

by marketing company Newcastle Initiative, which in January appointed

Northern Profile to handle the PR for its bid.

Saskia Gibbon heads Northern Profile's two-member team and reports to

Newcastle Initiative corporate affairs manager Susan Wear.

Cardiff County Council and the Welsh Assembly are expected to plough

pounds 500,000 each into a bid to win it for Cardiff, it was announced

earlier this month.

Bradford, Belfast and Birmingham are also set to compete.

Since 1985, European cities have competed against each other for the

accolade, winning a major boost to the local economy and the right to

host major celebrations of arts and sport.

From 2005 the rules will change, when the title will be awarded to one

city in a different EU member state each year, with the UK's turn coming

in 2008.

Porto (Portugal) and Rotterdam (Holland) are the current holders. The

only British city to hold the title was Glasgow, in 1990. Athens was the

first Capital of Culture.

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