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Government Report Warns UK Nightlife Could Face "Extinction"
Christian Eede , February 18th, 2021 18:35

The report is the result of an inquiry, led by Jeff Smith MP, which has surveyed 20,000 figures across the industry

A new Parliamentary report into the effects of COVID-19 on UK nightlife has found that the industry could face "extinction" without urgent intervention.

The report has come about as part of an inquiry, which was launched in January by a new all-party parliamentary group (APPG) and is led by Jeff Smith MP with the backing of more than 40 MPs. Its findings are based on a survey of around 20,000 industry figures, including employers, freelancers and consumers.

The report has found that nightlife businesses have on average made 37% of their workforce redundant since the UK's COVID-19 lockdown began in March of last year, while 85% of those remaining across the industry are currently considering leaving.

Sharing the report, Jeff Smith MP said: "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."

The report makes a number of recommendations to the UK Government, including appointing a UK-wide night-time economy advisor, providing a nightlife-specific support package and extending the furlough scheme until businesses can operate fully. It also adds to calls for a roadmap to be set out for reopening nightclubs and music venues based on the current vaccination programme and mass testing — something which Boris Johnson himself made hints towards earlier this week.

Reacting to the report, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said: "From artists to engineers, bar staff to security, and production to promoters — they have shown great resilience in the face of adversity. But resilience only gets you so far without the required support. We need more assistance and a detailed plan for reopening now. Otherwise, much of what defines a night out in the UK will be lost forever."

You can read the full report here.