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Culture success was only the start.

LDP COULD there be anybody out there who still doubts that Liverpool's Capital of Culture year brought the city a great deal of good fortune? Any hardened sceptic who still believes all that ballyhoo was about little more than having a good time and getting the drinks in more frequently than usual? Well, today is the day they can no longer continue to delude themselves ... and others. Statistics covering 2008 reveal that Liverpool's economy grew faster in that year than that of any other UK city except London.

A percentage increase of 4.9%, helped not only by Capital of Culture, but also the Liverpool One retail centre and the Echo Arena, left everywhere except the capital in the shade.

Imagine what that figure would have been like in 2008, as Britain entered the worst period of recession since the 1970s, without the benefits of Capital of Culture. There would have been no comparable percentage increase, and Newcastle, quite possibly, would be crowing instead about the way it had surged ahead as a result of its cultural victory.

But that is not to say Liverpool should now rest on its laurels, and believe all the hard work has been done. It has not.

We are still in recession, and, despite the successes of 2008 and the laudable economic growth, Liverpool is still languishing in the bottom five - albeit there is a gap opening up between the city and those other struggling regions below it. The challenge still remains - and we are not going to be Capital of Culture every year ... or, indeed, for the foreseeable future.

Instead, Liverpool must use the Capital of Culture growth as a launch-pad for further impressive statistics in the future.

With Liverpool One and the Arena going from strength to strength, there is no excuse for the region not to build on its past strengths, and continue to go forward.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2010
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