A group of cross-party MPs and peers came together this week to establish a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night-Time Economy.
Chaired by Labour MP for Manchester Withington Jeff Smith, the parliamentary group has been formed in response to night-time industries such as nightclubs, bars, and entertainment venues – and their supply chains – being put under extreme pressure due to strict Covid-19 restrictions.
The group aim to provide a voice for the sector in Parliament in order to address the immediate Covid-induced crisis, and to campaign for more sector-specific support from the Government. It will also look at how, with the right support, night-time businesses can play a key role in the UK’s economic recovery from Covid, and meet future challenges facing the sector.
The night-time sector has borne the brunt of Covid restrictions with many businesses ordered to remain closed since March and others being hit with the strict 10pm curfew before the imposition of a second lockdown.
There has been widespread concern across the sector that it has been undervalued both culturally and economically by those making decisions. In a positive move, this morning’s announcement marks the recognition of the specific challenges facing night-time businesses and a new dialogue between the sector and representatives across the political spectrum.
The new APPG will be supported by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
Jeff Smith MP said:
“The night-time sector is hugely important to both the UK economy and our cultural identity – particularly in Greater Manchester. We have a proud tradition of music, arts and entertainment here, and music tourism alone generated £169 million for our local economy pre-pandemic.
“In the past nine months, the sector has faced enormous challenges, and thousands of bars, nightclubs, and live events businesses are at risk of collapse. As a former event manager and DJ, I feel strongly about the importance of these businesses, so I am pleased to be chairing the new cross-party group to support night-time industries.”
Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, said:
“It is vitally important that the Night Time Economy has its own voice, and alongside businesses, associations and participating parliamentarians, we welcome the All-Party Parliamentary Group to further support and clarify the challenges around the industry, and help recognise its cultural and economic value both within the UK and internationally.
“We are extremely pleased to have the support of many cross-party parliamentarians, and believe that this group will have a substantial part to play in the regeneration of the night time economy in the next 12 months. The likes of Jeff Smith have stepped forward and recognised the importance of the night-time economy, particularly in areas such as Greater Manchester. They make a huge contribution economically and culturally, and more importantly – the significant amount of people that rely on them for their livelihoods.”