NTIA launches 2024 Night Time Economy Manifesto

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

New launch: NTIA champions late-night sector with manifesto (Credit: Getty/Flashpop)
New launch: NTIA champions late-night sector with manifesto (Credit: Getty/Flashpop)

Related tags Legislation Property Health and safety

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has announced the official launch of its 2024 Night Time Economy Manifesto today (24 October).

The manifesto, titled Darkest Before Dawn, is written by Philip Kolvin, a legal authority and night time economy writer, in collaboration key stakeholders. It is the first of its kind in the UK.

The document contains 44 recommendations to fortify the night-time industry within towns, cities and regions across the country.

It urges policy makers at national and local level to adopt cohesive strategies to protect and foster the night-time economy, for the benefit of residents, visitors, workers and businesses.

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said the manifesto represented a “pivotal moment” in the history of the industry.

He said it showcases the vital role businesses can play in shaping both national and local night-time economy strategy.

He added: “This work is of paramount importance, and its implementation will not only revitalize our night-time businesses but also enrich the cultural and economic fabric of our nation."

Industry ‘bible’

This blueprint is the culmination of research, dialogue with stakeholders and the expertise of Kolvin.

The manifesto requires policymakers to measure up to the systemic challenges faced by independent businesses in the night-time industry and the wider cultural landscape, from rising business rates, higher levels of VAT, crippling energy costs, commodity prices, labour shortages and reduction in consumer spending power.

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said it should be treated as a “bible” for the industry.

He “strongly urged” politicians from all parties, local authorities and decision makers not only to read the manifesto but to adopt it.

Data from CGA Neilson shows free tenure outlets in the night-time economy have reduced by 8.2% in the year to March 2023.

The decline is repeated across all regions. For example, CGA’s data shows that Birmingham has seen a 12.6% decrease in outlets since the start of Covid in 2020, Leicester 13.7% and the Central regions 7.1%.

Even these falls mask a cliff edge now faced by the independent sector says the NTIA, particularly music venues, nightclubs, LGBTIA+ venues and community pubs, with closures continuing to speed up.

Brighter future

The NTIA hopes to address these challenges in the manifesto, and aspires to illuminate a path towards a “brighter, more resilient future” for the night-time industry.

Kolvin emphasised the vital role of the night-time sector. He said: "Pubs, nightclubs, and music venues are the bedrock of popular culture, particularly for young people, but for many years have been closing at an unsustainable rate.

“The financial challenges they now face often appear overwhelming. Darkness before the Dawn advocates a paradigm shift, requiring policymakers to view the night time economy as a social good to be celebrated and protected, and not just regulated.

“It shows how a strategic, systematic, and creative approach to governance of the sector will help to drive its revival for the economic and cultural benefit of the nation."

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