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Struggling Southbank Centre could remain closed until April 2021

BRITAIN’S largest arts organisation, London’s Southbank Centre, warned today that it may remain closed until April 2021 due to crippling financial pressures. 

The cultural hub, which receives more than four million visitors a year and supports over 7,000 jobs, revealed that it will run out of reserves by September after being hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown. 

Despite furloughing the majority of staff, the centre’s chief said that it was still facing a £5.1 million deficit by the end of the next financial year. 

The organisation is calling on the government to extend the furlough scheme beyond October for the cultural sector.

The Southbank is home to eight orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, as well as the National Poetry Library, and the Arts Council Collection. 

Chief executive Elaine Bedell said: “The Southbank Centre’s own history is traced directly to the 1951 Festival of Britain. 

“Here, the postwar government recognised how vital arts and culture were to the health and wellbeing of a traumatised nation. 

“Just as the South Bank was a focal point of social and economic recovery then, we hope that we’ll emerge from this crisis to an even brighter future, throwing our doors wide open once more.”

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