IT’S a good day to be a Buddy as it has been confirmed that Scotland’s sole bidder on the UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist will be Paisley.

The Westminster Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have confirmed that the eleven places formally bidding for the title has been whittled down to five – Paisley, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea.

Perth lost out along with Hereford, Portsmouth, St Davids, Warrington and Wells, and now Scotland’s largest town, with a population of around 76,000, will go up against the three English cities and Swansea in Wales – all of which have at least three times the population of Paisley. The team behind Paisley’s bid last night thanked the people of the town for their “incredible contribution” to the bidding process so far, before and after initial bids were lodged in April.

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The five selected places are due to submit more detailed second-stage bids by the end of September, with the winner announced at the end of the year. Paisley is bidding for the title as part of a wider push to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural story as the home of the globally recognised Paisley Pattern to transform its future.

It is estimated Paisley’s 2021 year could bring a £172 million economic boost and create the equivalent of 4700 jobs over a 10-year period.

Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull have seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight. Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson – chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – said: “For the judges to have shortlisted us is a major endorsement of our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire – and we are in it to win it.

“I know local people will be absolutely thrilled at this news – we want to thank every one of them as they are the ones whose incredible contribution made it happen.

“They turned the bid into a mass movement, with more than 30,000 people joining the conversation – a number equivalent to almost half the town’s population. Winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title would be a major boost to our wider plans.

“Aside from hosting some of the world’s best performers and bringing more than a million people to Paisley in 2021, it would over the long term create thousands of new jobs and allow us to attract massive investment and build a new town centre economy with tourism and creativity at its heart.

“We wish the best of luck to the other places which join us on the shortlist, and send our best wishes to those which didn’t make it through.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron added: “This is a wonderful piece of news. A huge number of people worked so hard to get us to this stage and we want to thank every one of them ... from Paisley Buddies to our friends across Scotland, the UK and further afield.

“There’s never been a Scottish winner and we would be thrilled to be the first – we are now Scotland’s bid and would love to see the whole country get behind us.

“The work to date has already been really positive for Paisley – it taken awareness of our internationally significant story to a new level and changed perceptions of the town. It has also brought a new sense of self-confidence to residents and shown them how the power of culture can be harnessed to change people’s lives for the better.”