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Boris' Olympic Orbit tower losing £10,000 a week as visitor numbers fall well short of forecasts

Analysis by Labour London Assembly Member Len Duvall AM has found that that ArcelorMittal Orbit tower lost £520,000, the equivalent of £10,000 a week, in 2014-15 despite forecasting a profit of almost £1.2m in its business plan. Mr Duvall said the fact the attraction was still losing money three years after the Olympics proved the Orbit was a “Boris Johnson vanity project of towering proportions.”

The Orbit opened to the public on 4th April 2014 with its first year financial accounts, published by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), showing that despite being expected to generate £1.2m in the 2014-15 financial year the Orbit actually lost £520,000, meaning it fell short of expectations by £1.7m. 

The revelation comes after the LLDC reduced its annual visitor forecasts for the Orbit from 350,000 to 150,000 last year, with the latest analysis showing only 124,000 visits were made to the Orbit between April 2014 and March 2015.

The Orbit was commissioned by Mayor Boris Johnson in 2008 and cost taxpayers £3.1m to build. It was widely seen as an attempt by the Mayor to put his personal mark on the 2012 Olympics.

Leader of the London Assembly Labour Group, Len Duvall AM said:

“With the Mayor’s Olympic Park Orbit tower losing over half a million pounds last year it’s clear that this is yet another Boris Johnson vanity project of towering proportions. Instead of paying back some of the £3m of taxpayer investment the Orbit is actually losing £10,000 a week, an awful record even by Boris’ standards. It looks like we can now add the Orbit to the growing list of failed Boris Johnson pet projects alongside the Thames Cable Car, Estuary Airport and fault riddled Boris Bus.

“The Olympics was meant to be a grand celebration of sport, not an excuse to build pointless monuments at vast taxpayer expense. When you look at the Mayor’s record on projects like this, it makes you wonder whether other projects like the Garden Bridge are really as good a deal as he would have us believe.”

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