Hull’s City of Culture award can bring in £120m

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald
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HULL should secure more than £120m of capital investment after being named UK City of Culture 2017, according to a Yorkshire economist.

Dr Steve Trotter, a senior lecturer in economics at Hull University Business School, believes that Hull will win more investment than the current city of culture, Londonderry, and in the longer term, it will attract more students, visitors and potential investors.

Hull saw off competition from Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay, to secure the City of Culture title, which is handed out every four years.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Siemens, which is planning to operate a wind turbine assembly plant at Green Port Hull, congratulated Hull on securing City of Culture status. The spokesman said that “we continue to progress our plans for Green Port Hull”.

Mr Trotter said yesterday: “Anything that puts Hull on the map and draws visitors to the area helps to boost the local economy, both directly through the money the visitors spend, and indirectly, through the knock-on effects that spending generates.

“The former are fairly obvious: as well as paying for event tickets, most visitors will want to eat while they are in Hull, and many will need to stay overnight. In Londonderry all previous records for hotel occupancy were broken during the summer of 2013.”

The indirect benefits can be much larger and last much longer, said Mr Trotter.

He added: “In the short term, investment in hotels and other businesses catering for visitors will generate local jobs in construction, shopfitting and other trades, and those employees will spend their wages locally. Visitors who have ‘found’ Hull during 2017 may come back in later years and the general rise in Hull’s profile may increase the numbers who come to Hull for other reasons not directly related to the cultural events of 2017.

“For example, institutions such as the University of Hull can expect a boost to recruitment, and every student who comes to the city brings several thousand pounds with them over the course of their study.”

According to Mr Trotter, Londonderry has seen visitor numbers double over the course of this year, and it has received around £120m of capital investment since it won the title in 2009.

“Hull should surely be able to beat this, as it is bigger and more accessible to the majority of the British population than Derry,’’ he said. Hull’s business leaders believe the successful City of Culture bid will bring long-term economic benefits.

Tim Rix, the managing director of Hull-based shipping and logistics firm JR Rix & Sons, said the successful bid would put Hull on the map in a positive way.

Mr Rix is also chairman of Hull’s City Leadership Board, a 15-strong body of local people which has been established to oversee the development of a plan to secure jobs and investment in the heart of Hull.

Mr Rix said: “Hull has a 10-year plan and the City of Culture bid is part of that plan. This is the first brick in the wall, building a much brighter future for Hull. The biggest plus is that people in this city will start to believe in Hull.”

Bruce Massie, membership and business manager at Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce, said that Hull’s achievement in being named the UK City of Culture would increase the city’s profile, and help to bring money into Hull.

Charlie Spencer, chief executive and founder of the Hull-based Spencer Group, added: “Being awarded the City of Culture for 2017 will have a huge effect on people’s perception of Hull, both in this country and abroad.”

John Fitzgerald, the chairman of CBI Yorkshire and The Humber, who is also port director for the Humber for Associated British Ports, added: “The bid team achieved so much in raising the profile of Hull’s varied cultural offering and boosting the city’s confidence.

“New investment coming into the area, including the new Bridgehead Business Park and the regenerative potential of the Green Port Hull project, will provide a welcome boost.

“For now though, we are celebrating Hull’s achievement and looking forward to a positive and vibrant future for our city.”

Praise from all corners

HULL’s success in being named as the UK City of Culture 2017 has earned praise from around Britain.

A spokesman for Siemens, which is planning to operate a wind turbine assembly plant at Green Port Hull, said: “We would like to extend our congratulations to the city leaders and people of Hull in their success in becoming the new winners of the UK City of Culture for 2017.

“The city is blessed with many advantages of geography, and history, and the skills and enthusiasm of its people.

“We look forward to seeing what the city will host in this year.”