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New Executive Chairman, David James
"I am looking forward to sorting this out, for once and for all"
 real 56k

Shadow Culture Secretary, Peter Ainsworth
"It would be less expensive to close the dome, than keep it open"
 real 56k

Matthew Taylor MP, Liberal Democrat spokesman
"This is money that could have been spent on pensions...could have been spent on the health service"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Dome given an extra 47m
Managers of the Millennium Dome have been granted an extra 47m to help the attraction stay open until the end of the year.

Dome finance
399 in lottery money
160m in sponsorship
85m in commercial revenue
November 1999 - 50m subsidy
January 2000 - 60m subsidy
May 2000 - 29m subsidy
August 2000 - 43m sale advance
September 2000 - 40m more?

Dome organisers had asked the Millennium Commission for the multi-million pound injection just months after it received 29m in National Lottery money and a 43m advance from the sale of the attraction to a Japanese bank.

The Millennium Commission discussed the request at a meeting on Tuesday.

The announcement of the deal came with news that David Quarmby, the chairman of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) which runs the Dome, has stepped down.

BBC correspondent Susanna Reid said the NMEC has denied that he has resigned, saying Mr Quarmby has "moved aside" to make way for an executive chairman".

Mr Quarmby took over as chairman from Bob Ayling who resigned from the board of the New Millennium Experience Company in May.

Criticism

The news of a request for more money came in the week Dome bosses admitted it had failed to attract enough visitors in August to meet its target of seven million visitors by the end of the year.

Opposition parties have condemned the move.

Shadow Culture Secretary Peter Ainsworth said the Dome should be closed in October.

"Only political vanity is keeping this this project open and if the reports are accurate the scale of waster simply beggars belief."

Liberal Democrat spokesman on the Dome Norman Baker said the news was "outrageous" and added "insult to injury".

"If the Millennium Dome can't make do with the handouts it has already received, it should be shut forthwith and mothballed until the new owners take over," he said.

Visitor targets not met

Staff at the Dome, which cost 509m in lottery money to be built, were banking on the main holiday month of August to boost its visitor numbers.

The Dome's chief executive Jennie Page was sacked in February because of the poor attendance and it later emerged the Dome would have faced bankruptcy on 22 May without the 29m injection.



In total, the project has received 132m from subsidies and sales advances to keep the Dome open until the end of the year, when Nomura takes over the project.

In July the Japanese company Nomura was given the contract to run the Dome from next year.

Labour MP Nick Palmer, who has been critical of the Dome, told BBC Radio 5 Live the financial request would not be a "problem" if it was a further advance from the sale of the project.

"If we are talking about additional money then I really think they need to look hard at whether the running costs of the Dome...are really needed," he said.

The Dome is not meeting its target figures - the daily average of 17,781 fell short of the 21,000 a day needed for the Dome to meet its financial requirements.

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