ABU DHABI is to scrap a massive rental charge for the ExCel exhibition centre in London, which has been converted into the 4,000 bed Nightingale Hospital.
The field hospital was zipped up to deal with the expected increase in serious Covid-19 cases around the UK capital.
The state-owned Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company had initially been asking as much as £3 million in rent per month.
In response to a report in the Sunday Times, the company’s UK branch said that while it had never charged the National Health Service rent for the site, it had since decided to cover the costs of maintaining the building itself.
“The initial agreement with the NHS included a contribution to some fixed costs,” said ExCeL Chief Executive Jeremy Rees.
“We have since decided to cover the fixed costs ourselves.
“We are doing all that we can to help the UK through these challenging times,” said Exhibitions Company boss, Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri: “To be clear, profit has always been the furthest thing from our minds.”
Private equity group Blackstone had already waived the rent at its own centre in Birmingham, which is being turned into the second of the NHS’s Nightingale hospitals.