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Half of jobs at Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall at risk of redundancy

By Dayna Farrington | Birmingham | Birmingham entertainment | Published:

Birmingham Town Hall

Up to half of staff at Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses at the venues confirmed they have entered a period of redundancy consultations with staff – with half of the staff at risk of redundancy.

The Town Hall and Symphony Hall have been closed since mid-March due to Covid-19 and bosses say the future of the two concert halls, and the music charity responsible for them, looks different from the plans they began the year with.

The venues have been awarded emergency relief funding by Arts Council England, but all other income generated through the core business of live music and entertainment has stopped.

Chiefs say it is unclear when they will be able to reopen again and in order to survive, they have had to take the decision to reduce their staff numbers.

They say in order to have any chance of survival, they need a time-based reopening strategy from the Government and the funding to reach that point.

Nick Reed, chief executive for Town Hall and Symphony Hall said: “This is heartbreaking news to share.

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"We have a superb team of staff who care passionately about what they do and who openly share their love of live music with everyone that we connect with as a music charity.

"The digital activities we have continued to deliver in these desperate times are testament to that, sharing music from our halls, artists homes and venues from across the continent. Music has the power to bring people together and it fills me with great sadness that we remain unable to bring people together in our halls.

Ramifications

"Our thoughts are very much with the employees and their families that will be affected by this decision, as well as the numerous freelance musicians and artists who have been impacted by this global pandemic.”

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Anita Bhalla, chair of the board for the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall, added: "Along with the executive team, I continue to demand clearer guidance from the Government on the detail of the grants and loans available and clearer guidelines for re-opening our cities cultural institutions.

"Despite improving the reserves of our music charity in recent years, due to the hard work of our staff, this unprecedented global pandemic will have long term ramifications for our business.

"We have seen a vast number of redundancies across the arts and culture sector and it saddens me that we are today joining that long list. This is a difficult and sad time for all.”

Bosses say those affected have been contacted and no final decision for redundancies we will be made until the consultation process has been completed.

It comes only days after it was revealed up to 40 per cent of staff at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre could lose their jobs. It has not been confirmed how many roles that includes but bosses said the proposals being put forward could affect up to 40 per cent of the workforce.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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