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EDITIONS
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 16:55 GMT
City's culture bid boosted by poll
Cardiff 2008 promotional brochure
Cardiff 2008 is increasing in popularity
Cardiff has risen to second place in the race to become European Capital of Culture 2008, according to a new poll.

The survey, by an independent polling company, saw Birmingham emerge as the front-runner with 16% of people questioned naming the city as the best-qualified for the title.

But Cardiff came a close second on 15% - beating off competition from rivals including Newcastle/Gateshead (13%), Liverpool and Belfast.


The poll demonstrates that perceptions of Cardiff have improved greatly

Lynne Williams, Chief Executive, Cardiff 2008
The organisers of the Cardiff bid say the poll's results show the city has improved in the public's view since launching its bid in March.

The Welsh capital is one of 12 bidding cities hoping to be on the shortlist, which could contain up to seven cities and is due to be announced on Wednesday, by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce the overall winner next spring.

The shortlist will be drawn up from the original 12 bidding cities which also includes Inverness, Canterbury, Norwich, Bradford, Oxford, Bristol and Brighton.

Judges from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have been visiting each of the bidding cities.

Due to a rotation system, the European Capital of Culture 2008 is guaranteed to be a UK city.

The winning city will benefit from increased investment and tourism for the year it holds the title - as Glasgow did when it was made European City of Culture in 1990.

Lynne Williams
Lynne Williams, CEO of Cardiff 2008

A recent report from Cardiff Business School called "The Impact of Cardiff 2008" predicted 3,500 new jobs would be created as a direct spin-off of a successful bid.

The study also estimated that 660m in new income would be generated in the Cardiff economy while the wider Welsh economy would benefit by a further 320m.

The bid committee - Cardiff 2008 - has always insisted that Cardiff's is an all-Wales bid and the city has received the backing of other Welsh councils.

Independent polling company Taylor Nelson Sofres, questioned more than 100 people earlier this month .

'Awaiting judgement'

Lynne Williams, Chief Executive of Cardiff 2008, was encouraged with the poll result, coming just days before the announcement of the shortlist.

She said: "We are absolutely delighted that Cardiff has come a close second in this people's choice for which city should be European Capital of Culture.

"It demonstrates that perceptions of Cardiff have improved greatly over the last six months.

"When there have been previous polls of this nature, Cardiff has usually come in at around number seven."

But Ms Williams added that the poll would have no bearing on the shortlist announcement.

She said: "Polls do not influence the decisions of the judges and we await their judgement of our bid on Wednesday morning."

Since joining the bidding for the Capital of Culture title, Cardiff has launched a range of projects designed to boost the city's profile.

Last week, it was announced that a major 40,000 visual arts prize - Artes Mundi - would be based in Cardiff,.

The construction of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, and the International Festival of Musical Theatre currently taking place in the city have helped raise the bid's profile.


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