Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham has given his backing to the his home city’s UK City of Culture bid.
The Brum-born life peer joins other high profile Midlanders, actress Julie Walters, Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis and Monty Python star Terry Jones, to support the proposals.
Birmingham’s bid for the 2013 title, which is also supported by the Birmingham Mail, was finally submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on May 21.
And a delegation from the city will go before a judging panel in Liverpool next month.
Lord Jones said taking the prestigious title in 2013 would give the city a much-needed economic boost with new creative businesses and more tourists.
He said: “The creative Industries are such an important component of 21st Century Birmingham.
“They provide so many entry-level jobs for young people and symbolise the achievement of transitioning the West Midlands economy into innovative channels.
“Tourism is one of the Cinderellas of the business space. Employing millions of people and generating enormous inward overseas currency flows, the sector would receive such a boost in the West Midlands if the bid were to succeed.”
The West Midlands has been the region hardest hit by the recession, with unemployment in the region running as high as one in 10.
People aged 16-24 have are the worst affected of the working population, so a key focus of Birmingham’s culture bid is to work with young people.
Coun Martin Mullaney, chair of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, said: “If Birmingham won the title of UK City of Culture, it would create over £200 million in additional direct visitor and programme expenditure alone.
“Importantly, winning would allow Birmingham to accelerate the pace of positive change in the city after the recession, creating thousands of new jobs in the creative and hospitality sectors and increasing community engagement in Europe’s most diverse city.”
For information on the bid, visit www.birminghamculture.org.