Seven-point plan unveiled to back recovery of region’s night time economy

Andy Burnham and Sacha Lord

A seven-point plan has been launched to support the recovery of the Greater Manchester night time economy.

The strategy, launched today (April 21), includes a new commitment to ensure good employment throughout the city region.

Today’s plan was launched by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and the region’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord.

Around 464,000 people in Greater Manchester work in jobs or businesses that are significantly active at night, making up around a third of the workforce.

These include jobs in the hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors, the taxi and private hire trade, 24-hour health and social care, and manufacturing and logistics workers.

The Night Time Economy Strategy for 2022-2024 was developed by Sacha Lord based on conversations with employers, workers, and national organisations.

It sets out how the wide variety of businesses and individuals operating in the sector will be supported over the next three years by the work of the Night Time Economy Adviser and the Night Time Economy Panel, which represents operators, local authorities, the VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) sector, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that the pandemic had a devastating effect on our night time economy. Right from the outset we were clear that employees and businesses had to have proper support, and that no one should be left behind.

“Now, as our towns and cities are coming back from the worst impacts of COVID, the cost of living crisis poses a further challenge to trades and livelihoods.

“We need to act and put in place a plan that recognises the unique assets and different needs throughout Greater Manchester, and our Night Time Economy Strategy offers that vision for a sector than can recover, thrive, and offer good jobs across our city region.”

Sacha Lord said: “The past 24 months have been the hardest on record for the industry but we now need to look ahead and focus on how we rebuild our night time economy.

“I am particularly proud of the leading initiatives the city region committed to during the pandemic, and today’s strategy outlines how we will continue to support operators over the years ahead and the mechanisms we will put in place to enable those working within the industry to thrive.

“Together with the Mayor, I look forward to putting these initiatives in place as we continue to establish Greater Manchester’s position as a leader in the arts, tourism and events and hospitality sectors.”

The Strategy identifies seven priority areas for action:

  • Safety – for residents, for visitors, and for workers who deserve a safe and secure environment
  • Diversity – ensuring the night time economy is diverse, reflective of, and accessible to all communities
  • Workers – moving towards improved pay, conditions, mental health and wellbeing, and career pathways
  • Transport – working with Transport for Greater Manchester and private partners to ensure safe access and that transport isn’t a barrier to growth
  • National and International Partnerships – building on the global success of United We Stream and supporting collaboration with UK and international partners
  • Regeneration – supporting the night time economy as a vehicle to revitalise high streets and town centres
  • Business and Sector Support – delivering night time economy surgeries in all 10 boroughs and building dedicated support networks across the city region

To support of the aims set out in the strategy, Mayor Burnham also announced an ambition to expand the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter in the night time economy sector, attracting more commitments from businesses to provide good jobs and conditions to their employees.

He added: “The night time sector is a significant and incredibly diverse part of our economy, connecting everyone from hospitality and leisure staff, to the taxi and private hire trade, to 24-hour health and social care and manufacturing. That’s why, to support this strategy, we want to bring in more employers to our Good Employment Charter and ensure that the benefits of good jobs and working conditions reach even more people.”

The Good Employment Charter, developed by the mayor and the leaders of the 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester, is a voluntary membership and assessment scheme that aims to raise employment standards across the city region for all jobs, regardless of size, sector or geography, and support a thriving and productive economy.

There are now 49 members of the charter and more than 350 supporters, covering close to 300,000 employees in Greater Manchester. The ambition is to increase that number, particularly in the night time economy.

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