Council wants practical support for city’s struggling night-time economy

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Sheffield City Council has called on the Government to make sure the city’s pubs, bars and clubs can recover from the financial impact of Covid-19.

Sheffield has over a thousand businesses contributing to the night-time economy, which also includes live music, exhibitions and cinema, as well as hosting internationally renowned events and festivals, such as Tramlines, Sensoria, MelaninFest, Sheffield Beer Week and Sheffield Doc/Fest.

These enterprises support nearly 12,000 jobs directly, and many more through the gig economy and their supply chains.

Alongside industry partners such as UNIGHT, a not-for-profit organisation that represents Sheffield’s night-time community, and CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) the council is asking the Government to put practical support and funding in place to ensure the survival of these businesses.

The council has submitted its proposals to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into the night-time economy. These include:

  • A continuation of the furlough scheme, business rates relief and 5% VAT relief for the rest of 2021
  • Funds to be allocated to encourage the creation of new businesses and to enable training for new staff entering the sector
  • A national campaign aimed at restoring consumer confidence and encouraging people to continue to spend local when restrictions are lifted
  • Ensuring a level playing field between pubs, restaurants, takeaways and shops so that pubs have a lifeline during the current lockdown

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We have iconic venues and events in Sheffield that are known worldwide and are an integral part of our appeal as a visitor destination.

“That there is something for everyone is central to Sheffield’s uniqueness, and we simply cannot afford to lose these much-loved and valuable assets and their vital contribution to the local economy.

“The council is calling on the Government to support these businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic so when the time is right, they can come back fighting and provide the vibrant nightlife we are all so looking forward to experiencing again.”

Nick Simmonite, chairman of UNIGHT and manager of the Frog and Parrot, said: “So many businesses I work with are on their knees, because of the pandemic.

“Many will not survive. I hope that Government will listen to those working in the industry, who know and love it and who have worked hard to protect both business and our customers, throughout this unprecedented time.

“With support, we will bounce back. We are ready to provide the services and experiences that we absolutely know our people are going to want right now.”

Dave Pickersgill, pub heritage officer of CAMRA Sheffield said: “The Government should realise the immense value of pubs to communities, individuals, and the economy – and it should protect them and allow them to trade on a par with restaurants and shops.

“Pubs are essential to our local economy and we should be doing all we can to support them to survive through these difficult times, not hindering them.”

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