Liverpool to be last UK European Capital of Culture after Brexit bombshell

Thousands have been left disappointed after the five UK cities in the running to host the 2023 European Capital of Culture have been scratched from the list because of Brexit.

Despite the fact that the scheme is open to countries outside the EU, a letter to the British government from Martine Reicherts, EU director-general for Education and Culture, announced the decision to exclude the UK.

“After consulting relevant services of the Commission, I would like to inform you that following its withdrawal from the European Union, the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of Culture Union action will not be possible,” the letter said.

The programme has been running since 1985, allowing countries across Europe to take turns in hosting the title. This year, Leeds, Dundee, Nottingham, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry were all in the running to take the award.

The five cities had already worked hard to fund their bids, with Leeds reportedly spending £1m over the past four years. MP for Leeds Central Hilary Benn described the news as “a terrible blow”.

He added: “It’s particularly extraordinary especially as the bids have just gone in. And to wait until all the work had gone in and turn around and say, ‘You can’t do this’ – it’s shoddy treatment of Leeds and the other cities have worked so hard.”

Bitter end

Liverpool was the last UK city to win the European Capital of Culture title in 2008. The award is seen an opportunity for urban regeneration, particularly regarding the cultural, social and economic status, and Liverpool saw massive gains from winning the accolade.

One research programme, Impact 08, found that the city had seen as many as 9.7 million visitors during its festival year, bringing in £753.8m for the economy.

Since its transformation in the lead-up to the award, Liverpool has seen huge growth and is often now noted as a “property hotspot” in the UK, as the regeneration led to a surge of people wanting to live in the city.

Just a few of the developments that have changed the face of the city include the Liverpool One shopping centre, the regeneration of the Albert Docks and Lime Street, and the Liverpool Waters and Anfield projects, all of which have created a huge boost to the local area.

After the benefits seen in Liverpool since being awarded the Capital of Culture, the news of the UK’s entries being excluded has been a bitter blow to the 2023 contenders.

Self-certified Sophisticated Investor

Please read

I declare that I am a self-certified sophisticated investor for the purposes of the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. I understand that this means:

I am a self-certified sophisticated investor because at least one of the following applies:

I accept that the investments to which the promotions will relate may expose me to a significant risk of losing all of the money or other property invested. I am aware that it is open to me seek advice from someone who specialises in advising on non-mainstream pooled investments.

High Net Worth Investor

Please read

I make this statement so that I can receive promotional communications which are exempt from the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. The exemption relates to certified high net worth investors and I declare that I qualify as such because at least one of the following applies to me:


Sign up for first access to new developments and exclusive property investment opportunities.

We send limited and targeted emails on new launches and exclusive deals which best fit your areas. We are trusted by over 30,000 active buyers as their source for new stock.

  • New property developments
  • Professional market reports
  • Property deal alerts
  • Development updates
Manchester property investment


Receive trending news straight to your inbox and stay up to date on all of the property market trends and advice.

Established since 2005 we are a leading voice of authority and commentary on the UK property market. Our news is trusted by Apple News & Google News.

  • UK housing market
  • Mortgage & money
  • Buy-to-let landlords
  • Guides & advice

Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today:


+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT


+852 6699 9008

Open from 9am-6pm HKT