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London Mayor announces multi-million pound initiative to help safely reopen central London

The news will be well-received by West End venues

The Sondheim Theatre
© WhatsOnStage

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has unveiled a "major new campaign to promote a return to central London's hospitality, retail and cultural districts".

Five million pounds' investment will aim to welcome both tourists and Londoners back into the capital – all in a safe and sustainable way. Khan believes "the safe reopening of Central London will be fundamental to the long-term future prosperity of the capital."

According to proposals, major events will showcase central London's public spaces and cultural riches – more information on what events to expect is to be revealed.

Within a report created alongside London School of Economics, it was highlighted that "there is particular concern regarding the future of London's arts and cultural sectors and the retail sector" and that major economic support is necessary to safeguard areas like the West End.

The Mayor has also allocated £2.3 million for a Culture at Risk fund to help some of London's most imperilled creative and night-time businesses.

Bernard Donoghue, director at ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) said: "We warmly welcome this announcement of significant support for the recovery of London's visitor economy. Tourism is one of London's largest and most economically significant sectors, and we need our cultural attractions, theatres, pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels to reopen safely and sustainably to welcome back domestic and inbound visitors.

"We have worked closely with the Mayor and backed all of his asks of Government for the right policy and financial support, so we are delighted that he's investing in making London more welcoming, more open and more sustainable than ever before."

Cultural figures have made calls for the UK government to spearhead similar schemes in areas across the UK – to help provide sustainable and safe increases in footfall as the vaccine drive continues and case numbers, hopefully, come down.

Last year, Khan warned that London faced an "existential threat" due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

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