PAISLEY has been named as the sole Scottish place on the shortlist for UK City of Culture 2021.

The UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed the 11 places bidding for the title has been whittled down to a final five of Paisley, Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

It means the town has successfully seen off competition from Scottish neighbours and bookies' favourite Perth. 

The team behind the bid have thanked residents for their 'incredible contribution' and Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson, who is also chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, insists the town is 'in it to win it'. 

Paisley began its bid in April and will submit a more detailed second-stage bid by the end of September.

The winner will be announced at the end of the year.

Cllr Nicolson 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.

“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."

It is estimated Paisley's 2021 year could bring a £172m economic boost and create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull have seen £1billion of investment since winning the title in 2013.

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.

“There’s never been a Scottish winner and we would be thrilled to be the first."

The bid has led to the creation of a £1m Renfrewshire Culture, Heritage and Events Fund aimed at boosting the local creative scene and it has received backing from celebrities such as Paolo Nutini, Gerard Butler and John Byrne.