Crowds have already been banned from this year’s display on the Embankment due to social distancing concerns.
Now the long-term nature of the event, which traditionally attracted 100,000 revellers, is at risk because of the scale of the savings being forced on the Greater London Authority in response to a downturn in income due to Covid.
Tickets are released via a ballot and normally cost £10, to partly offset the £2.3m cost of staging the spectacular event on the Thames, which also features lighting the London Eye.
The Mayor’s draft budget, published today, states: “Funding is provided for a New Year’s Eve event in 2021-22, but the nature of this will be reviewed following this year’s alternative approach.”
Staff cuts are expected among the 1,190 GLA staff, with £2.5m set aside for redundancies.
However the Mayor’s £1m-a-year press office, described by independent assessors as “a highly functioning office that operates extremely professionally” and which sets standards for other cities on use of social media, will not be reduced due to the extent of press inquiries it handles, most recently in relation to Covid.
On staff cuts, the budget documents state: “The exact staffing implications of this draft budget are uncertain at this point, although it is clear that we will be reducing our establishment and headcount.”
The £4.8m events budget will be cut by a third but the Notting Hill Carnival will continue to be funded. The marketing budget will be cut by £300,000 and the European office in Brussels may be axed.
Overall, the GLA’s income is expected to fall by £493 million over 18 months – with cuts to the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and Transport for London due to be announced next month.
It came as full details of Mr Khan’s £10m plan to convert an East End conference centre into London’s new City Hall emerged.
The move will cost the GLA £14m but should deliver £120m of savings over the 10 years from December 2021, when the move from the current City Hall building on the South Bank is completed.
Entry to the fireworks has been ticket-only since 2014. The event used to attract about 500,000 revellers to the West End, which caused mayhem for emergency services and on the Tube and night buses.
A spokeswoman for Mr Khan said: “London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are watched around the world and the Mayor is committed to ensuring the capital continues to celebrate the New Year in a spectacular way.
“This year’s budget is lower as we are unable to host a public event due to the impact of Covid-19, and we continue to review the budget every year.
“This includes assessing new technologies, locations and partners which may reduce the cost in future years.”
— to www.standard.co.uk