CULTURE Secretary Sajid Javid has waded into Worcester's City of Culture stand-off - urging those in power to "go for it".

The high-flying Cabinet minister has made a surprise intervention on the potential bid by saying the city should put all its efforts into making sure it does actually go ahead.

His comments, made in front of around 300 delegates from around Worcestershire during a conference at Droitwich's Chateau Impney Hotel on Friday, have piled the pressure on Worcester's Tory leadership to make sure the bid does happen.

On the stage Mr Javid said "culturally Worcestershire has so much to offer, culture is big business" before insisting Worcester must "go for it".

The suggestion of making a bid for 2021 came from the old Labour administration, but the party lost power at the city council in June.

Since then the current Conservative leadership has refused to rule it in or out, with the current leader Councillor Simon Geraghty saying he is "chilled" about a bid and needs to look at the costs.

Mr Javid's call has been leapt on by Worcester Labour Party, which says it "welcomes the comments" from the Tory minister.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, group leader, said: "When we discussed this last year, when we were in charge it was all about achieving an ambition for Worcester.

"We're up for it and we think other organisations and businesses are up for it too - the attitude of the council's administration so far has not done anybody any favours."

Two weeks ago the Labour group's deputy leader Councillor Geoff Williams also asked Cllr Geraghty to offer some reassurances over it.

Cllr Geraghty has refuted any claims of "negativity" over a bid, and says he was pleased Mr Javid raised it.

He said: "The previous administration agreed to 'consider' a bid, to look at the costs and discuss it - and we're still committed to doing that.

"There is absolutely no lack of commitment as far as we are concerned, we're willing to still do that.

"We need to look at how much will it cost, who will lead it and what part the city council has to play - it needs to be part of a much wider partnership including the likes of the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Chamber of Commerce - but there is no lack of support from me."

He said it was likely to be "a number of months" before any decision was made.

"If we're going to do this, it must be done properly - otherwise it will just be tokenistic," he said.

"The previous administration didn't allocate any resources for this.

"As you've seen with our backing for an eight-lane pool, the riverside, the city centre, our support for The Hive, we've got a high level of ambition for the city - we're not lacking any ambition."

A bid would need to be made in 2017 in order to compete for the 2021 crown.

The award is dished out every four years and the last winner is Hull, which is City of Culture for 2017.

Hull is estimated to benefit from at least £60 million of new economic activity in 2017, and millions more from tourism in the years running up to it.