Cross-party group to speak up for reeling night time economy

Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Withington

Manchester Labour MP for Withington, Jeff Smith, is chair of a new cross-party group of MPs and Peers representing the night time economy.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night Time Economy was formed this morning.

The sector is desperate for assistance in the face of toughened COVID-19 restrictions imposed on many pubs, bars and restaurants.

Prior to Greater Manchester’s move into Tier Three of pandemic restrictions in October the city’s night time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, launched legal action against what he saw as unfair government actions against the industry. The action challenged the closure of the region’s bars and pubs not serving substantial meals.

And there has been widespread concern across the sector that it has been particularly under-represented politically, and undervalued both culturally and economically in government, with many misconceptions around business models and market segmentation.

The new APPG will be supported by the Night Time Industries Association, which includes Sacha Lord as a member and will provide industry insight and secretariat services to the group.

Jeff Smith said: “The night time sector is hugely important to both the UK economy and our cultural identity – particularly in Greater Manchester, where have a proud tradition of music, arts and entertainment, and where music tourism alone generated £169m 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.

“We will be working hard to ensure that this usually viable, thriving and world-leading sector can not only survive the COVID crisis, but prepare for a prosperous, long-term recovery.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, 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.”

He added: “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.”

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