Nightlife leaders are pleading for more support for those worst hit by the pandemic after a new study estimates more than 86,000 jobs have been lost in the sector since 2019.
Nightclubs were among the hardest hit by prolonged closures at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and were only allowed to open again in July. Some venue bosses are also concerned that, if vaccine passports are introduced for crowded venues, their business will fail to recover.
The new study, commissioned by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), estimates that the nightlife sector was worth £36.4 billion pre-Covid and accounted for around 425,000 jobs.
What are they asking for?
In a foreword to the report, Bury South MP Christian Wakeford, chair of the all-parliamentary group for the night-time economy, says: “When people from all over the world visit the UK, they note our vibrant nightlife culture – our community venues, social spaces, and fantastic creative talent. We are globally renowned for this, and yet the night time economy is rarely afforded the importance – economically or culturally – it deserves.
“As Covid-19 has ravaged the sector, it is important, now more than ever, to recognize the significance of nightlife industries; this report is a timely contribution to the policy debate in this area. As we look to rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic, we must not leave this vital sector behind.”
Sacha Lord, Manchester night-time economy advisor and co-founder of the Warehouse Project and Parklife festival, also contributed to the report, published on Tuesday.
He said: “The sector is balancing precariously on the edge, already distressed from the economic uncertainty of the past 15 years and the Brexit-inspired visa issues of late. The Covid-19 pandemic only exacerbated these cracks, and as a result we have seen many of our favourite venues unable to survive.
“We’re in a dire position and in order to recover to pre-pandemic levels, we need investment, strategy and most importantly, top level acknowledgment of the industry’s contribution to the UK economy.”