Sacha Lord urges night time economy sector to find its voice

Sacha Lord

Industry leaders from across the night time economy have called on all music fans and nightlife lovers to take part in a new Parliamentary inquiry on COVID-19 and the night time economy.

After the successful launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night Time Economy in December, the group of cross-party MPs and Peers met again yesterday to continue crucial discussions on the challenges facing the nightlife sector due to COVID-19 and the ensuing restrictions.

The meeting was attended by several representatives from the night time economy, including the Night Time Industries Association, UK Hospitality, UK Music, Sacha Lord, the night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, and Amy Lamé, the night czar of the City of London.

The APPG has launched an urgent inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on UK nightlife and is investigating how the sector can reopen and recover from the pandemic.

Now, industry leaders from across the sector have urged all music fans, nightlife lovers and night time economy workers to take part.

An industry-wide online survey has been launched by the APPG and is asking for employers, employees, freelancers and consumers to take part and share their views on how the sector has been affected by the pandemic and its importance to the cultural and economic life of the UK.

The survey has already received several thousand responses, which will help to provide those in government a greater understanding of nightlife industries and the specific challenges facing the sector.

The survey can be accessed at: www.ntia.co.uk/appg

Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife Festival and night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “Sadly, over the last 10 months, we have seen many closures and job losses and without an intervention of support, we are going to see many many more.

“We know the 10pm curfew wasn’t a SAGE decision and, in fact, actually helped to spread the virus by pushing hundreds and thousands of people out onto the streets at the same time.

“Our industry has been damaged by leaks and rumours, and it is imperative that there is clarity, transparency and a clear roadmap so that businesses have time and enough warning to open in a safe fashion.”

Speaking at the APPG meeting, Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, noted that the sector had been decimated by the pandemic and is in desperate need of a clear exit strategy. He said: “Commercial rents have been a travesty, with over 70% of businesses within the sector in more than two quarters of rent arrears and with debts mounting day-by-day. Time is running out and there seems to be no rush to find a resolution.”

He added: “We ask all those who work in the Night Time Economy, or simply enjoy a night out, to continue sending in your responses to our survey to make your voices heard.”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said: “When the time for the post-pandemic recovery comes, the music industry can help power our country’s economic and cultural revival. But to play that key role in the recovery phase, we must ensure our sector gets the support it needs to survive through the worst of the pandemic.

“This is a welcome inquiry that recognises both the vital importance of the night time economy and the existential challenges it has faced over the course of this pandemic – and is focused on finding clear solutions to ensure our industries can make it to the other side of the pandemic.”

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