London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display cancelled due to pandemic

By Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

London’s New Year fireworks have been cancelled this year, after Sadiq Khan confirmed that the budget has been axed.

Safety concerns about social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic coupled with a cash squeeze have made the normal event impossible, Mr Khan told Mayor’s Question Time.

City Hall has slashed £1.25 million from the 2020 fireworks budget – more than a third of the event cost, which was £3.4 million last year.

The cut was part of more than £20 million of budget savings made last month, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit revenues.

“We’ve not yet got finalised plans of what we’d do instead of the fireworks at New Year’s Eve,” the Mayor told London Assembly members.

Mr Khan stressed the importance of the event for London’s “global reputation” and said an alternative celebration would be important.

Fireworks have be held on the South Bank since 1999, with the spectacular display featuring more than 12,000 fireworks and lighting up some of the capital’s iconic landmarks.

Since 2014, it has been ticketed and 100,000 visitors have paid £10 a head to attend the event.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “We are currently working up plans to ensure that we usher in the New Year in London in a spectacular but safe way.

“An announcement will be made in due course.”

Pictured top: Fireworks light up the South Bank and the London Eye. But the celebrations will be rather different this year (Picture: PA)

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