3 in 5 night-time operators face closure without further Government backing

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Extremely concerned: 'what we need now are serious conversations about how to keep these operators afloat,' Lord said
Extremely concerned: 'what we need now are serious conversations about how to keep these operators afloat,' Lord said

Related tags: Greater manchester, Licensing, Property, MA500

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, has called on the Prime Minister to stop celebrating the return to work while almost 60% of night-time operators face closure without further backing.

According to the Night Time Industries Association, 57% of businesses in the sector will not survive longer than two months without further Government backing while three quarters (73%) of night-time operators will be making more than half their workforce redundant from September.

With rent holidays and grants schemes wrapping and the end of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme approaching in October, Lord has expressed “extreme concern” about the final quarter of 2020 and for the mental health of all involved. 

"For some, August has been strong with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but my fear is for those in the wider night-time economy who haven't benefited,” he said. “Not only the wet-led bars and pubs who weren't included in the offer, but the nightclubs, live music venues and theatres which are still closed." 

"Rent holidays have ended, grant schemes are closed, and next month, all furlough support for these businesses will finish, so today, I am pleading with Johnson, Sunak and the Government to reconsider ongoing support for this sector.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s claims that workers are returning to offices in “huge numbers” as his Government prepares to launch its All In, All Together campaign to get people back at their desks and reassure employees that their workplaces are Covid-secure, Lord added: "It is an embarrassment to watch our Prime Minister buoyant and jovial on TV, peddling unsupported false facts and hailing the great return to work, while ignoring a sector which brings in over £66bn into the UK economy each year and employs almost 8% of the UK."

"We have needed strong leadership throughout this global pandemic and we have seen the opposite with U-turn after U-turn." 

Need for serious conversations

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser​, hospitality businesses near London’s employment hubs have been hit for more than £2bn​ by lost lunches and abandoned after-work drinks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

A report published on 3 August by the economics consultancy described the widespread shift towards homeworking as one of the most profound impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic – stating it has “sucked the life out of many central locations”.

Consequently, more than 90 chief executives from pub and bar companies including Greene King, Fuller’s and Beds & Bars signed a letter to Boris Johnson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, urging “clear, consistent messaging to give assurance and diminish fear” around commuters, tourists and residents drinking and dining in the capital.

While Lord acknowledged the importance of the public returning to city centres, he described the latest All In, All Together campaign slogan encouraging Britain to get back to work as “shameful, ignorant and insulting to those whose businesses are still closed, and for the workers who are struggling to pay rent and feed their families." 

"What we need now are serious conversations about how to keep these operators afloat,” he continued. “The Government must look to protect businesses and prevent severe job losses by following the example of Germany and extending the furlough scheme into 2021.

"Without ongoing support, the heart of British culture scene will be decimated, and by the end of the year, we will see mass closures. It is no longer a question of if they will close, but when."

Related topics: Licensing law

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