Night Time Economy Parliamentary Group launches new report on the impact of Covid-19

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night Time Economy, chaired by Jeff Smith MP, has today launched a new report into the impact of Covid-19 on nightlife businesses.

The APPG, which has a membership of over 50 Parliamentarians from all major political parties, was formed in December 2020. It was set up in response to the extreme pressures facing night-time industries such as nightclubs, bars, and entertainment venues – and their supply chains – as a result of strict Covid-19 restrictions.

The APPG’s first task has been to conduct an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 restrictions – and available Government support – on the night time economy sector. Throughout January 2021, the inquiry received survey responses from more than 20,000 consumers, employers, employees, and freelancers in the sector, as well as written submissions from 100s of businesses and local authorities. It also received input from key trade bodies such as UK Hospitality and UK Music, as well as the relevant Government departments – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Based on this evidence, the report highlights the importance of the sector both socially and economically, and makes urgent recommendations to the Government as to how it must be saved from collapse.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Without urgent government support, many night time economy businesses face ‘extinction’ that could see urban centres become ‘ghost towns’ and hobble wider economic recovery
  • 85 per cent of people working in the night time economy are considering leaving the industry
  • 25 per cent of employees have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, with 60 per cent of those still in work anticipating they will be made redundant eventually because of the crisis
  • Businesses in the night time economy had on average made 37 per cent of their total workforce redundant – nightclubs: 51 per cent; bars: 32 per cent; pubs: 26 per cent; live music venues: 36 per cent; supply chain businesses: 40 per cent
  • In the second half of 2020, businesses in the night time economy traded at an average of 28 per cent of their annualised pre-Covid turnover – nightclubs: 20 per cent; bars: 32 per cent; pubs: 43 per cent; live music venues: 28 per cent; supply chain businesses: 19 per cent

Some of the key recommendations for government include:

  • Extending the furlough scheme until businesses can operate without restrictions, and extending VAT and business rates relief through 2021
  • Producing a roadmap for reopening late night venues based on the vaccination programme and mass testing
  • Expanding eligibility for the Culture Recovery Fund and proving a sector-specific support package
  • Implementing communications campaigns and training programmes to encourage workers to remain in the industry
  • Introducing a Treasury-backed scheme to boost demand once restrictions are eased

Jeff Smith MP, Chair of the APPG for the Night Time Economy, said:

“Our world-leading night clubs, pubs, bars, and live music venues are cornerstones of our communities. They drive so much economic activity both locally and nationally, and bring hope, joy and entertainment to millions across the UK.

“Our findings today reveal this industry is on its knees, in desperate need of additional support from the Government and a concrete plan for reopening. Without these interventions, many of these viable businesses will go under, leaving city and town centres resembling ghost towns. If the Government is serious about its ‘levelling up’ agenda it must act now to save this sector and avoid untold damage to the social fabric of this country.”

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