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BBC Wales arts correspondent Jon Gower
"As Cardiff dithers over its decision to compete, cities elsewhere are very much in the race"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Arts Correspondent Jon Gower r
"Cardiff is dithering over its decision to bid"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 14:28 GMT
Cardiff 'behind' in culture city race
Cardiff Festival
The summer festival is a major event in the city's calendar
Cardiff's bid to become a European city of culture is lagging behind those of other cities in the UK.

Politicians in the Welsh capital have yet to decide whether or not to enter the race for hosting the prestigious event in 2008.

Cardiff County Council announced last April that it was considering a possible joint bid with Swansea and Newport.

But earlier this month, leader of the council's Liberal Democrats Rodney Berman, attacked Lord Mayor Russell Goodway for not addressing the assembly's culture committee to promote Cardiff's bid.
Russell Goodway
Russell Goodway - committed to bidding

But speaking to BBC Wales on Tuesday, Mr Goodway said he was talking to the assembly's First Minister Rhodri Morgan and finance minister Edwina Hart.

"We are committed to putting a bid in," he said.

"We are doing a great deal in terms of putting a successful cultural festival together, in terms of building blocks for 2008."

Mr Goodway said he expected to meet with assembly members on 28 February - "if discussions with Rhodri Morgan and Edwina Hart are successful in the meantime."

Cardiff County Council had been hoping for financial support from the assembly, but Mr Goodway said a letter from the First Minister in January said it would have to fund the bid through existing resources.

Mr Goodway said he believed that as the assembly had committed 500,000 to Wales's bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2009, help should be given to the city of culture bid, too.

Cardiff Festival
Thousands attend the Big Weekend in Cardiff
The assembly's culture minister Jenny Randerson has pledged support for a Cardiff bid.

"The Welsh Assembly is very keen indeed that there should be a bid from Wales," she said.

"We have already made it absolutely clear that we would support a bid from Cardiff.

"But it has to be the decision of the city."

Previous winners such as Glasgow have benefitted enormously from the influx of jobs and revenue and other British bidders such as Newcastle are keen to emulate the Scots' success.

Joint bids

Cardiff already has a burgeoning reputation for staging cultural events, such as the international summer festival.

But the joint bid by Newcastle and Gateshead is already far in advance of Cardiff.

They have already created an impressive packagefor the European city of culture shortlist.

The joint working plan for Cardiff, Newport and Swansea was suggested by former First Secretary Alun Michael in November 1999.

Turns taken

Mr Michael told the assembly that both Swansea and Cardiff were suitable candidates but warned that a contest between the two could be damaging.

Member states of the EU take it in turns to nominate a cultural capital and the role falls to the UK for the 2008 event.

It is understood the European Union wants a British area to be awarded the title.

Previous holders of the title have included Dublin, Glasgow, Salonika in Greece and Stockholm in Sweden.

Glasgow - previously seen as a dirty, run-down city - now attracts the highest number of tourists behind London and Edinburgh.

Liverpool, Belfast, Bradford and Milton Keynes have also shown an interest in the bid.

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See also:

31 Oct 00 | UK
Joining the culture club
17 Jan 98 | Europe
City of culture but no snow
26 Apr 00 | Wales
Hopes of European culture title
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