NTIA calls for night time economy advisors in every major UK city to 'save sector'

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By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

 Night Time Industries Association calls for night time economy advisors in every major UK city to 'save sector'

Related tags: Night time economy, Government

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have launched a campaign calling for night time economy advisors to be established in every major UK city.

The trade group, which represents some 1,200 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, argues that doing so will 'help to kickstart the embattled sector’s recovery from pandemic closures'.

To date, night time economy advisors have been set up in Greater Manchester (Sacha Lord) and Bristol (Carly Heath), with both supporting the NTIA's push to have counterparts in similar roles across the country. The position also exists in London in the form of the Night Czar, which is held by Amy Lamé.

“The night-time economy, which has been hammered by the pandemic, is one of the most important for driving economic growth," says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

"However, its importance is so much more than a number. These businesses are also of immense cultural value. They are hubs of the community, places where people go to meet and make connections that can last a lifetime. It would be a tragedy for this country if the nightlife sector didn’t meaningfully rebound from the pandemic.

“That is why we are launching a push to establish night time economy advisors in cities all over the UK, to steward the sector’s restoration and ensure it isn’t left to wither. We feel this is the only way the sector can recover its pre-pandemic vibrancy.

“The examples in Bristol and Manchester show just what an incredible job can be done with this position, championing the sector and the region, both in local decision making and also nationally and internationally. They can also pick up specific issues and run with them to produce positive change, as we have seen with some progressive initiatives on drink spiking.

"We would call on all relevant local and combined authorities to engage with us on this to benefit the many millions who want to see thriving night time economies all over the UK.”

Recent research by NTIA suggest the UK night-time economy was in 2019 worth £112.8b, which amounts to 5.1% of GDP and accounts for 1.95m jobs.

The prolonged closures and restrictions on trade during the pandemic have ravaged the sector, though, with nearly 90,000 jobs lost since then, and almost a third of nightclubs no longer trading. And many that are still grappling with debts up to three years’ worth of trading profits.

In this context, the NTIA believes the solution to ensuring the sector can recover to anything like its previous strength is to have a representative that reports to the local or combined authority executive, spotlighting regional issues and championing and supporting the industry.

Heath notes that her role enables the council to take a coordinated city-wide approach to issues that arise and provide a quick and nimble response across the local authorities, from local council, police, NHS and care services and the universities, and connect these to action within the local industry and night-time audiences.

“The night-time economy can often be seen as a problem in policy making circles – issues such as crime, antisocial behaviour, drug and alcohol consumption and noise complaints are a big part of what any city council will deal with," she says.

"With a dedicated officer to advise on solutions around these issues, and to act as a conduit between the local authority and industry, the night time economy can start to be part of the solution in maintaining a safe and active night time community – and the sector’s huge contribution can be better accounted for in policy decisions.

“I’m a huge advocate for the needs of the night, and the importance of having a night time economy advisor in every city.”

Lord, who earlier this year successfully forced the Government to drop its ‘substantial meal' rule in hospitality​ settings following a successful legal challenge against the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock, adds that the role of a night time economy advisor plays a huge part in spotlighting regional issues, as well as championing and supporting the wider industry.

“This industry is bigger than the automotive, beauty and fashion industries and has the breadth and scope to impact investment, culture and communities,” he says.

“Its vitally important that it has its own voice, and is represented regionally and within major cities across the UK.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Pub & Bar

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