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By Chris Cooke | Published on Monday 7 November 2022
The UK’s Night Time Industries Association has called for more British cities to appoint night-time economy advisors, arguing that such appointments provide a tangible boost for the venues, nightclubs and other businesses that make up each local night-time economy, but that the UK has been slow to embrace the concept.
The NTIA has seemingly been prompted to speak out now by a new scheme that is going live in Ireland, which will see night-time economy advisors appointed in nine towns and cities: Buncrana, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford Town and Sligo. That scheme was originally unveiled earlier this year, with the number of participating places recently increased from six to nine.
There are some local night-time economy advisors in the UK already, including Amy Lamé in London and Sacha Lord in Manchester. However, the NTIA says that – compared to the new scheme in Ireland and a recent flurry of appointments in the US – the UK is falling behind in this domain.
In a statement published this weekend, the trade group explains that “major cities across the world are establishing nightlife offices, commissions and ambassadors to embrace recovery and work towards a sustainable, safe night time economy”. And this trend, it adds, “is bearing fruit” with “dynamic work on soundscaping, noise, training, safety” and so on.
But, in the UK, where the night-time sector “is responsible for over 300 million nightlife tourists per year, generating over £112 billion in revenue and employing just under two million people”, we are only currently seeing a new night-time economy advisor being appointed every couple of years.
And, of course, the night-time sector needs more support now than ever before from both national and regional governments following all the COVID-caused shutdowns and the current impact of surging energy prices and the cost of living crisis.
Last week the NTIA published new stats showing that, given all those challenges, nightclubs are currently closing at a rate of fourteen per month, up from just under eleven a month during the pandemic itself.
It added “if nightclubs were to close in line with the current trajectory for the remainder of 2022, we would see one in three nightclubs lost since 2019 by the end of 2022, up from one in five at the end of 2021”.
The NTIA’s new statement this weekend adds that, given all those challenges, “we have been calling for reform, a consistent and considered approach post-pandemic, deregulation, licensing and planning easements, and retraining of enforcement officers to truly understand our industry and culture. But we are confronted with austerity, taxation and noise abatement notices”.
The trade group reckons that having more night-time advisors on the ground in British cities would help the sector “work towards tackling these issues” whilst also “building collaborative working relationships and trust between the industry and government representatives in every major city across the UK”.
To that end, the NTIA is specifically calling for night-time economy advisors to be appointed in: Belfast, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea.
NTIA boss Michael Kill says: “I am calling on every major city across the UK to work with us in creating these vitally important roles in our cities, building on the network of night-time economy advisors across the country to support nightlife and rebuild our local and national economy”.
“The UK is held in such high regard for its cultural tapestry, from festivals to clubs, and deserves the commitment from regional politicians to lay the foundation for a successful future”, he adds.
“Over 100,000 businesses generate over £100 billion in revenue annually. If we are not careful our world leading night time economy will lose ground on the rest of the world”, he concludes. “Let’s not get left behind because of political and local indifferences. Our industry is fundamental to the economic recovery of this country and needs greater consideration”.