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Anger over means-tested concessions on the South Bank

Pensioners groups have criticised the South Bank Centre's new discount ticket scheme, describing it as a "means test for concession", even though it will provide cheaper tickets for many.

From 1 September visitors to all SBC venues will be offered selected tickets for 5, if eligible for government benefits such as Pension Credit. The centre previously gave all over-60s a 2-3 discount on all tickets.

Joe Harris of the National Pensioners Convention said: "It is outrageous to remove this universal concession."

The 5 tickets will be available to visitors who are under 16 or who receive means-tested Pension Credit, Jobseekers' Allowance, Income Support or Disability Credit.

South Bank Centre spokesman Sue Rose said: "We want to make performances at the South Bank more accessible to more people who could not otherwise afford it,"

"This offers much larger discounts than our previous scheme, which only gave pensioners a reduction of up to 3 on tickets that could cost 25 or more."

Ms Rose said discount tickets would be available at up to two thirds of South Bank events, including the London Jazz Festival, Christmas ballets and concerts by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

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