Almost 400 nightclubs forced to shut since March 2020

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Trade figures: statistics from the NTIA showed across 2023, an average of 10 nightclubs closed per week (image: Getty/Jason Todd)
Trade figures: statistics from the NTIA showed across 2023, an average of 10 nightclubs closed per week (image: Getty/Jason Todd)

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Nearly a third (31%) of all nightclubs closed their doors between March 2020 and December 2023 figures have found.

The data from the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) showed from December 2020 to the same month last year an average of almost 10 closures a month and two per week.

The trade body highlighted its utmost concern was the disproportionate impact on independent venues as 312 succumbed to closure.

Furthermore, the statistics looked at the tenure of nightclubs and revealed tenanted businesses experienced a loss of 14% (32 businesses) while managed lost eight venues.

Lack of support

The NTIA warned these nightclub closures impacted more than economic repercussions but represented a cultural crisis that has the potential to endanger the vibrancy and diversity of nightlife.

Moreover, it stated while the Covid pandemic exacerbated existing challenges, the systematic closures could not be just attributed to coronavirus and said it reflected years of neglect, burdensome regulations and insufficient Governmental support.

The NTIA has demanded the Government takes immediate action to provide financial relief and central to that is a VAT cut to 12.5% across the board​ before warning without that, further closures were inevitable.

Chief executive Michael Kill said many of the businesses that have been forced to shut could have weathered the storm if adequate support had been provided however, he stated a lack of consideration and support has led to countless closures.

Narrative dismissed

He dismissed a narrative suggesting changing habits caused the closures were absurd and the truth was in the economic impact, driven by poor policy decisions, overbearing regulatory controls and inadequate infrastructure.

Kill added: “The marginalisation of nightlife businesses has left them feeling neglected, questioning the Government’s motive with limited avenues for survival.

“As we navigate recovery, it is imperative policymakers acknowledge the vital role of these establishments and provide the support they urgently need.”

Just last month (January), the NTIA boss said the nightlife sector was in crisis​ and called on the Chancellor and Prime Minister to recognised the urgent need for support before it was too late.

A flash poll from the NTIA​ earlier on in the year of more than 450 of its member businesses showed a large proportion of firms faced revenue challenges between October and December 2023.

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