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The Royal Albert Hall today said it had avoided making mass redundancies through a “flexible lay-off scheme” designed to avoid making job cuts.

The world famous venue is attempting to survive the fallout from the Covid outbreak which has put live shows off the agenda.

The west London concert hall – which has not staged a show since March – began a consultation with staff today.

Under the scheme, the bulk of the Hall’s 515-strong workforce will be laid off on 55% of their normal pay and then can be called upon if the venue is able to reopen and stage shows. The venue has furloughed staff under the Job Retention Scheme, which finishes at the end of next month.

A spokeswoman said: “Our ability to continue to pay our staff when the Job Retention Scheme ceases is limited as we are still not able to open fully.

“Today we told staff of our plans to implement a flexible lay-off scheme that will avoid the need to make mass redundancies. The majority of our staff will be laid off at 55% of their normal pay. Given our financial situation, this is a solution that looks after our staff and avoids losing our important workforce.

“The majority of our staff will be needed when we are permitted to open at full capacity, but in the short term we will not have enough work for them to meet the threshold of the new Job Support Scheme.”

She added: “Sadly, even with the lay-off scheme, a limited number of roles have been put at risk of redundancy.” The spokeswoman declined to confirm how many roles were at risk.

The Hall’s chief executive Craig Hassall warned in July that the venue could be forced to close without urgent financial support. The Hall, run by a charitable trust, has since asked for donations to save it as it with a potential government loan not guaranteed.

Venues are currently allowed to be open with a 10pm curfew however social distancing rules mean that shows are not financially viable for many.