Dome operator the New Millennium Experience Company yesterday escaped bankruptcy after the Millennium Commission agreed to bail it out with a further &£47m grant on condition that chairman David Quarmby goes.
The grant, which had been allocated for good causes, is to be taken out of the New Opportunities Fund’s budget and will mean that investment into health and education projects could be delayed.
The additional funds have been forthcoming despite government assurances earlier this year that the Dome would not jeopardise other lottery funded projects.
A statement issued by Commission says: “The Commission is deeply disappointed to find itself in the position of having to make a further grant of &£47m to the NMEC.”
And adds: “The Commission is extremely sorry that there should be yet another call on lottery funds.
The seriousness of the NMEC’s financial situation was also made abundantly clear. “The Commission has had to recognise that without the extra grant the NMEC would have gone into liquidation and the Dome would have to close.”
David James, executive chairman of the Robinson Group is to replace Quarmby as chairman of the NMEC.
The dome has received &£628m of lottery funds. The initial grant had been for just &£449m.