Detailing changes to be implemented by April 2020, the blueprint’s reveal follows a series of consultations across Greater Manchester with workers, customers, operators, local authorities and other key stakeholders by Lord.
The proposals cover safety, transport and cultural diversity within the night-time economy – which covers all activity between 6pm and 6am and employs around 414,000 people across Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs.
Burnham and Lord pledge that, by April 2020, Greater Manchester’s authorities will have developed later opening hours across cultural organisations, cafés, shops and restaurants to provide greater accessibility and opportunities for non-drinkers.
What’s more, a voluntary “Operators’ Standard”, including best practice guidelines for wages and tipping, will be introduced to ensure leisure and hospitality staff have a safe and supportive working environment.
In addition, Lord and Burnham unveiled a pledge to improve mental health provision and wellbeing support for businesses and their employees operating during night-time hours as well as the introduction of enhanced safety measures for customers, artists and employees.
Just the beginning
The notion of the blueprint follows respective 27% and 14% drops in the number of nightclubs and pubs in Greater Manchester between 2010 and 2017.
“As the traditional model of a retail-driven high street is failing, the night-time economy is a powerful tool for the revitalisation of our region,” Lord explained.
“Since 2001, employment in the night-time economy has grown 45% faster than the rest of the Greater Manchester economy, proving it plays a critical part of the growth and leading status of our city.
“We want to ensure there is a thriving night-time offer across all of our communities, towns, city centres and high streets in Greater Manchester; an offer that is distinctive and reflective of our place, driving a unique visitor experience for international tourists, national visitors and residents.
“These plans will not only serve the countless businesses, restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural organisations operating in the region, but also the hundreds of thousands of employees – both to support their career paths and mitigate issues, from wage discrimination, staff safety and reduced transport options, to poor physical and mental health.
“While we are proud of the work we will be doing over the next 12 months, these initiatives are just the beginning of our work to engage and regenerate with the night-time economy, and drive our vision for a truly 24-hour city region.”
Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s MA500 Manchester conference in May, Lord extolled the virtues of Greater Manchester and its night-time economy, arguing that Manchester was the UK’s most creative city.
Discussing the plans for Greater Manchester's night-time economy, Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), commented: “It is fantastic to see Greater Manchester leading the way in creating a best-in-class night-time economy and making such an effort to look at best practice from around the world.
“Far too often, local and regional authorities have sought to close down night-time businesses like pubs, failing to recognise the important role they play in boosting tourism and creating that sense of place, so important to local communities.
"With its ambitious strategy, Greater Manchester has set a high bar. We sincerely hope other local and regional authorities follow in its footsteps.”
Richard Kershaw, chairman of the North West Association of the BBPA, added: “From music to football, we are known in the North West for our friendly culture and hospitality.
"Greater Manchester Authority’s plans to unlock the potential of the night-time economy is exciting news for hospitality businesses across the region.”
Very positive measures
“It is encouraging to see the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Mayor Andy Burnham prioritise the importance of the late-night sector and work towards boosting it," UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
"Greater Manchester has a fantastic nightlife thanks, in part, to major investment by hospitality businesses. It is one of the most exciting and diverse in the country and it is great to see policy-makers understand the value the sector brings to the region.
“The blueprint for the night time economy contains some very positive measures aimed at supporting late-night venues. Not least the Agent of Change principle, the introduction of which UKHospitality has consistently lobbied for. Measures to encourage people to stay out late and facilitate their enjoyment of late-night hospitality are very positive. Support for a whole raft of measures that boost the sector, including: improving transport links, encouraging later openings and supporting industry-led schemes that keep customers feeling safe and supported on nights out are all hugely positive.
“Perhaps the most encouraging sign here is that Greater Manchester Combined Authority understands the importance of the late-night hospitality sector. We need more local authorities who “get” what we do and the early signs from Manchester are positive.
“We are therefore calling for the widespread adoption of similar policies by Mayoral authorities around the UK. We want to see widespread appointment of Night Czars in cities from Aberdeen to Brighton, following Greater Manchester’s example to support the immensely valuable late-night sector.”
The blueprint can be accessed in full here.