Rishi's budget includes £2m to 'start work on a new Beatles attraction'

YESTERDAY, all our troubles seemed so far away. When Rishi Sunak’s budget landed it left a hell of a lot of people in Liverpool scratching their heads, as on live television the chancellor threw praise at Nadine Dorries for a two million pound plan to “start work on a new Beatles attraction on the Liverpool waterfront.”

The news of a £2m Beatles museum (we already have one) is a real kick in the teeth

“The film Yesterday but Rishi Sunak is the only person who doesn’t remember that Liverpool already has a Beatles museum,” wrote Twitter user Rick Burin.

Chef Dave Critchley of Lu Ban restaurant wasn’t impressed either.

“We sent out 6000 nutritious kids packed lunches this time last year to try and help with the levels of child food poverty in the city with no support from the council or government. Today, the news of a £2m Beatles museum (we already have one) is a real kick in the teeth.”

The Beatles Story Liverpool Visit Liverpool
The Beatles Story. A Beatles museum in Liverpool © Visit Liverpool

So, what’s the story? In a press release sent out on Wednesday afternoon, Liverpool City Council confirmed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has put aside £2 million to fund the initial development stage for ‘The Pool’ – a transformative waterfront project. 

Championed by Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 'The Pool' (a working title) is described as a new development taking over an area of the waterfront, which will create a new destination dedicated to celebrating and creating music.

“Liverpool's waterfront and the city’s musical heritage are recognised and loved across the world with The Beatles and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra attracting tens of thousands of music fans each year," said the press release from Liverpool City Council.

“The city proudly holds the title of UNESCO City of Music, and the ambition for The Pool is to build on these incredible foundations and create a unique collection of visitor experiences, music performances - aligned to Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) – which would be a centre for elite and emerging talent and a place to bring artists, communities and ideas together.

“The project will offer sustainability inside and out: changing the way the city centre is used and encouraging more walking and cycling, and building towards net zero.”

The Beatles Get Back Film Docuseries Trailer Disney Liverpool Fab Four Pier Head
The Beatles statue, Liverpool Pier Head © VMA

But what the John, Paul, George and Ringo is this "global visitor attraction" actually going to be?

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said: “Liverpool is known around the world for its historic waterfront, but it is really important that it doesn’t stand still and we continue to invest in it.  This announcement feels like a real line in the sand moment in the wake of UNESCO’s World Heritage decision, and we can now move forward and do things differently.

“This significant new pot of funding will make sure that our docks will continue to be a major draw for tourists and locals alike for many years to come.  

“This city is synonymous with incredible music and The Pool will create a world-class visitor attraction, a blueprint for the future of music education but most importantly it will create opportunities and joy for the people of this city.”

Student Guide To Liverpool Freshers Things To Do The Cavern
The Cavern Club, Liverpool © VMA

Hmm, okay. So will it be a museum; a statue; a tour?

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "What a result. Anybody who comes from Liverpool knows that this is already one of the best cities in the world - and now there's even more reason for visitors to flood in, helping to create new jobs and opportunities for local people.

"If anything personifies Levelling Up, it's the story of The Beatles. They came from humble backgrounds in Liverpool and went on to be the most important band in history. This funding will help unlock opportunities so that any child, no matter what corner of Liverpool they come from, or beyond, can become the next Lennon or McCartney."

2020 01 21 Blakes Exterior
Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool © VMA

Nope, still none the wiser.

Does Liverpool mean anything to Central Government beyond the Beatles? We already have The Beatles Story, The Beatles Museum, The Cavern, The Magical Mystery Tour, The Fab Four Taxi Tour, Strawberry Field, The Hard Days Night Hotel, The British Music Experience, the Beatles Statue on the Pier Head, the John Lennon statue on Mathew Street, and probably loads more. All valued attractions.

There are lots of things that Liverpool needs right now; investment in our communities; better healthcare, better social care; affordable housing; an improved infrastructure to attract business and more employment; support for hospitality to find and keep skilled staff. A long-term economic plan out of COVID-19.

What Liverpool doesn’t need is another bloody Beatles museum. 

Let it be.

Follow Vicky Andrews on Twitter @planetvicster

Read next: ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ - unseen footage features in new documentary

Read again: New hope for Sergeant Pepper's bistro on Penny Lane

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