A resounding six out of 10 finance directors think the ailing Millennium Dome should shut its doors now because of finance difficulties.
Findings in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question survey have revealed that the majority of FDs back growing calls to close the Dome early because of problems with its finances. Ten per cent of almost 400 respondents remained neutral.
The Dome, spearheaded by the Labour government to regenerate the Greenwich area and mark the new millennium, was two weeks ago sold to Japanese bank Nomura for £105m – reportedly £50m less than the highest bidder.
In a week in which the Tory party has renewed its attack on the Dome, the results of the survey will come as a further blow to a government struggling toimprove the attraction’s public image.
In this week’s survey, Jerry O’Donnel, financial director of Jarvis Porter Creative Packaging, said: ‘If it was somebody’s business, it would have been closed a long time ago.’
Tracy Maris, FD at Inbucon Ltd, said: ‘It is an utter waste of taxpayers’ money. There are many things this country needs – a great big tent is not one of them.’
One FD, who remains anonymous, said: ‘If it is still losing money on an ongoing basis then it makes no sense to continue operating it. Clearly it was poorly planned with a completely unrealistic projection of the visitor numbers.’
Shadow culture secretary Peter Ainsworth joined the mounting number of people demanding the Dome’s closure following reports this weekend that it would be cheaper to shut it down in October than to pour more lottery money into it.
It is understood that Legacy, the UK consortium led by multimillionaire Labour donor Robert Bourne offered £155m for the Dome.
The National Audit Office is understood to be reviewing the purchase arrangements for the Dome,which has been steadfastly defended by government ministers.
Lord Falconer, government minister with responsibility for the project, last month said: ‘The Dome has had a difficult few months but we must not allow them to overshadow what has been achieved.’