Big London events 'could be scaled back' as Covid takes chunk out of Sadiq Khan's budget

St Patrick's Day festival in London

Showpiece cultural events including the New Year's Eve fireworks and St Patrick's Day festival could be 'scaled back' after London's mayor blamed Covid-19 for blowing a £38m hole in his budget.

Documents published online warned of job losses among City Hall’s 1,100 staff and funding cuts to projects backed by the mayor.

Sadiq Khan planned to spend £640m next year but the 'unprecedented loss' of income from business rates and council tax has led to a significant shortfall.

Officials believe they can trim £12m from the annual cost of running City Hall but a further £27m of savings must be found to balance the books.

New Year's Eve fireworks in central London

A statement from the mayor's office said some projects 'not considered vital to London's recovery from the pandemic' would be scaled back.

Likely Casualties include faith and community events in Trafalgar Square including the St Patrick's Day festival, Chanukah and Diwali which traditionally enjoyed funding from London council taxpayers.

The revised budget will see almost £2m stripped from the annual spend on special events.

The 2020 New Year's Eve fireworks spectacular was cancelled because of the ban on mass gatherings but today's announcement raises questions about future displays.

Mayor of London's St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival in London

A spokesperson for the mayor confirmed funding for the annual Pride in London parade and Notting Hill Carnival would continue.

Decisions on further cuts will be announced in the coming weeks. City Hall’s Brussels ‘embassy’ costing £400,000 a year could close.

This budget is about helping the city recover from this terrible period. As well as support for the coming months, the budget is also a chance to reimagine our city and define our aspirations and priorities for the recovery effort.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

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