Covid-19 could rob British night club sector of ‘world leader’ status

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Robust' support needed: 'We need a roadmap or a direction of travel so that businesses can plan financially, and we need a solution for commercial rents, as many are overburdened with debt,' NTIA's Michael Kill explained
'Robust' support needed: 'We need a roadmap or a direction of travel so that businesses can plan financially, and we need a solution for commercial rents, as many are overburdened with debt,' NTIA's Michael Kill explained

Related tags: Late night, Club, Finance, Legislation, Pubco + head office

The Night Time Industries Association’s (NTIA) CEO, Michael Kill, believes that the lack of a ‘robust financial package’ for the late night sector could threaten British venues’ position as some of the best on the planet.

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ at a time when new campaign group #SaveNightclubs​ predicts that four in five (81%) venues will close by Christmas​ without  Government intervention, Kill expressed fears that the late night sector could simply disintegrate without further backing.

“Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our globally renowned culture sector,” he said. 

“Electronic music is what we are known for globally, we are a world leader and UK clubs have been that breeding ground for contemporary music talent, events and DJ's for decades.”

According to the Music Venue Trust, capacity in music venues was down to 25% before the announcement of a second lockdown, with venues operating on just 12.5% of their income.  

What’s more, almost two-thirds (61%) of businesses in the night-time economy started making redundancies in the weeks leading up to the second lockdown according to NTIA research, with the late-night body forecasting that close to 90,000 industry jobs will be cut without urgent support. 

“We will lose our status, our talent and the huge army of professionals who create experiences that make us what we are today,” Kill continued. 

“The concern is we will lose these people to countries around the world, if we don't start to value contemporary music culture, in line with countries like Germany, Holland and Belgium." 

Direction of travel needed

Kill’s comments also follow news that Europe’s largest late-night operator, the Deltic Group, has launched an “accelerated merger and acquisition process”​​ in a bid to secure the company’s long-term future.

According to The MA’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, private equity firms Greybull Capital and Aurelius are among the parties interested in acquiring the operator.

While a number of late-night venues have benefitted from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund – London night club Fabric’s receipt of £1.5m, for example – Kill is under no illusions that the sector’s future is still on the line.

“The club scene is fighting to survive at the moment, we want the children of today to have careers and opportunities within this sector, but also be able to experience an industry that is a huge part of British culture and heritage spanning decades,” he told The MA​. 

What’s more, Kill added that while he has faith in the creativity and nous of late-night operators to endure the current crisis, he implored the Government to back them financially. 

“Really simple, the Government needs to support night clubs with a robust financial package that is tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March,” he explained.

“We need a roadmap or a direction of travel so that businesses can plan financially, and we need a solution for commercial rents, as many are overburdened with debt.

“I am confident that the talent, entrepreneurs, creatives will get us through this, but we need a bit of help from Government. 

“Many feel that this will be the start of a digital revolution where physical club experience meets virtual club experience, but let's focus on survival and driving an agenda to get the night time economy open safely with some short medium and long term goals for the future,” he continued. 

“We are the experts in our businesses, so we need to drive the agenda, what we do today will make the difference in the future.”

Related topics: Entertainment

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