Late-night leaders call for public input into pandemic impact inquiry

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sector survey: 'If the UK’s nightclubs are squeezed out and permitted to become extinct, it is not just the complexion of the hospitality sector that is changed, it is the entirety of British culture,' UKH's Kate Nicholls told The MA in November
Sector survey: 'If the UK’s nightclubs are squeezed out and permitted to become extinct, it is not just the complexion of the hospitality sector that is changed, it is the entirety of British culture,' UKH's Kate Nicholls told The MA in November

Related tags: Late night operator, Night-time economy, Parliament, Coronavirus, Club

Leaders from across the night-time economy have implored the sector’s staff, giggoers and nightlife lovers to take part in a Parliamentary inquiry into British nightlife’s dire Covid symptoms.

As reported by The Morning Advertiser’s (MA)​ sister title BigHospitality​, the urgent call comes after the recently-formed All-Party Parliamentary Group​ (APPG) for the Night Time Economy launched an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on UK nightlife earlier this month to investigate how the sector can recover from the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

The survey, which had received several thousand responses at the time of writing, aims to provide those in Government with a deeper understanding of the late-night sector and the specific challenges it faces. 

It asks that employers, employees, freelancers and consumers share their views on how the sector has been affected by Covid-19 as well as the industry’s cultural and economic importance to the UK.

Speaking to The MA​ in November, a number of sector stakeholders outlined the unique, yet largely unheralded, struggle faced by late-night venues – the vast majority of which have been shuttered since March.

“Pubs and restaurants have made headlines consistently over the past nine months, but the incredibly serious, potentially existential crisis, facing night clubs doesn’t seem to be penetrating the zeitgeist in the same way,” UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said.

“If the UK’s nightclubs are squeezed out and permitted to become extinct, it is not just the complexion of the hospitality sector that is changed, it is the entirety of British culture.”

  • Night clubs 'unfortunate, unnoticed casualties' of coronavirus – While the existential crisis facing night clubs hasn’t occupied as many column inches as the plight of pubs, a number of sector stakeholders believe that lights out for late nights out would change not just the complexion of the hospitality sector, but of British culture.

Make your voices heard 

The appeal for more sector supporters to participate in the ongoing inquiry follows a meeting of the cross-party MPs and peers who make up the APPG on 21 January.

Chaired by Labour MP Jeff Smith, the group seeks to represent sector issues in Parliament and address both immediate and long-term challenges stemming from the ongoing pandemic. 

The meeting was also attended by representatives from the night-time economy including UKH; the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA); UK Music; Sacha Lord, night-time economy advisor for Greater Manchester; and Amy Lamé, the night czar of the City of London.

Addressing the APPG, NTIA chief executive Michael Kill reiterated the industry is in desperate need of an exit strategy having been devastated by the pandemic. 

“Commercial rents have been a travesty, with over 70% of businesses within the sector in more than two quarters of rent arrears and with debts mounting day by day,” he said. "Time is running out and there seems to be no rush to find a resolution.

”We are overwhelmed by the support that the APPG has received in a very short period of time and look forward to analysing the results from the inquiry to present a formal report to the Government. 

“We ask all those who work in the night-time economy, or simply enjoy a night out, to continue sending in your responses to our survey to make your voices heard.”

To submit evidence to the APPG survey, click here​​​.

Related topics: Legislation

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