London’s Southbank Centre warns of 400 job losses due to coronavirus crisis

It has been shut since March 17

London’s Southbank Centre, the arts complex which holds the Meltdown Festival annually, is warning of a loss of up to 400 jobs due to coronavirus.

A spokesperson confirmed the potential redundancies after workers were told about the cuts on Wednesday (July 15).

The spokesperson told The Guardian: “It is with great sadness that the Southbank Centre announced that up to 400 roles have been put at risk of redundancy as part of a comprehensive management action plan designed to stem the financial losses being incurred as a result of Covid-19, and to help safeguard the future of the UK’s largest arts centre.”


The job losses are expected to affect all areas of the complex, which comprises venues including the Hayward Gallery and Royal Festival Hall, as well as being home to eight orchestras, the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.


Earlier this year, the Centre warned that it will be closed until at least April 2021.

It has been shut since March 17, with its 600 staff furloughed and the complex’s chief Elaine Bedell said at the time its financial reserves will run out by this September.

She also said they were still facing a £5 million deficit due to the COVID-19 crisis.


Now the Southbank spokesperson said because the centre was likely to remain closed until at least April 2021, and due to social distancing, many staff would have no work.

“The Southbank Centre must implement measures to reduce its cost base and develop new ways of operating and delivering its artistic programme when it is finally able to reopen,” the spokesperson added.

Meltdown Festival 2020 was cancelled earlier this year due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, and it is still hoped the event will return in 2021 with Grace Jones in place as curator.