Boris Johnson’s decision to implement paid ticketing for the capital’s New Year’s Eve celebrations has come under renewed criticism after it emerged that just 27% of the tickets sold went to Londoners.
Figures released to London Assembly member Fiona Twycross show that 27,476 of the 100,000 £10 tickets were sold to London residents.
Commenting on the figures, Dr Twycross said: “It’s ridiculous that only a quarter of tickets went to Londoners last year despite them footing the bill for the fireworks.
“Boris Johnson’s new system has meant thousands of Londoners missing out on the iconic NYE celebrations. What we need for this year is for at least half the tickets to be reserved for Londoners.”
When announced last September, Mr Johnson’s decision to introduce ticketing proved highly controversial, with opposition London Assembly members complaining that he was making the previously free display unaffordable to many households.
Such criticisms were amplified when hundreds of tickets appeared on re-sale sites at vastly inflated prices as ‘scalpers’ sought to cash in on the event’s popularity.
Mr Johnson has always maintained that the decision to introduce ticketing was only taken after transport and police chiefs raised concerns about the size of crowds attending the evening’s fireworks display.
Responding to Dr Twycross’s comments, a City Hall spokesperson said “the proportion of people attending in 2014 recorded as being Londoners was broadly in line with numbers estimated to have attended in previous years.”
They added: “In previous years, due to the event’s popularity, hundreds of thousands of people were heading to central London right up to midnight, the majority of them, including Londoners, unable to see anything.”
An initial batch of tickets will go on sale this Friday with the remainder being released in September. All tickets can be booked via london.gov.uk/nye.