Sadiq Khan calls for more financial support to help West End

Posted on 14 August 2020

Both the West End and London theatre scene have been hit by hard by a government that fails to assist them during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has called for action.

The West End facing an "existential threat", says Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, has called for more financial aid to help the West End and struggling London theatre industry, which he has said is faced with an "existential threat."

In a written letter addressed to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Khan outlined eight different proposals on how the government can prop up the centre of London both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Dwindling numbers of visitors to the city centre has (unsurprisingly) meant that both the hospitality and creative sectors have been suffering tremendously. 

Almost all West End venues continue to remain closed, at least until tomorrow when they will be allowed to host performances once again but with the catch being they must be socially distanced.

So far, The Mousetrap at St Martin's Theatre will reopen with social distancing starting this October while and the eagerly anticipated world premiere production of Sleepless: A Musical Romance starring The Wanted's Jay McGuiness will run at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre with socially distanced performances as early as 25 August.

Sadiq Khan lays out his proposals to the government

Among the mayor of London's proposals include extending the job retention scheme for furloughed employees working in the creative, retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors as well as extending the business rate holiday, all while creating a more direct financial aid scheme for business in central London.

The mayor has also called on more support for self-employed workers and freelancers, stressing how dependent the creative industries are on the massive freelance workforce.

Small and medium-sized businesses who are unable to pay their bills on time will also receive rental support under Khan's proposal. There is also a call to provide a better track and trace system to allow for spaces to open with confidence.

The UK Government continues to fail the West End and UK theatre industry

A couple of weeks ago it was announced by Oliver Dowden that it may be November before theatres will even know when they can reopen without social distancing, which has lead to a whole number of venues cancelling their festive Christmas pantomimes this year, including the Lyric Hammersmith's Aladdin 2020 and multiple Qdos productions across the UK. 

Will Sadiq Khan's letter finally light a fire under Boris Johnson's arse? 🔥 

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.