Night Time Industries Association calls for official night-time advisors in all major UK cities


December 3, 2021

The Night Time Industries Association has launched a campaign calling for an official night-time economy advisor to be appointed in every major UK city, arguing that such an advisor is needed to ensure the recovery of each local night-time economy following all the COVID-caused shutdowns and uncertainty.

Currently Manchester and Bristol have night-time economy advisors, respectively Sacha Lord and Carly Heath, while London has the position of Night Czar, a role undertaken since its creation by Amy Lamé. The NTIA is now hoping to establish similar advisor roles in at least the following cities and regions: Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Tees Valley, Birmingham, Nottingham, Brighton, Glasgow, Cardiff and Swansea.

The trade group says that its research suggests that, in 2019, the wider night-time economy in the UK was “worth £112.8 billion – which amounts to 5.1% of GDP – and accounted for 1.95 million jobs”. However, of course, “the prolonged closures and restrictions on trade during the pandemic have ravaged the sector, with nearly 90,000 jobs lost since then, and almost a third of nightclubs no longer trading – and many that are still grappling with debts up to three years’ worth of trading profits”.

With all that in mind, the NTIA says that it “believes the solution to ensuring the sector can recover to anything like its previous strength is to have a representative that reports to the local or combined authority executive, spotlighting regional issues and championing and supporting the industry”.

Launching the campaign, NTIA boss Michael Kill says: “The night-time economy sector – which has been hammered by the pandemic – is one of the most important for driving economic growth. But its importance is so much more than a number – these businesses are also of immense cultural value. They are hubs of the community – places where people go to meet and make connections that can last a lifetime. It would be a tragedy for this country if the nightlife sector didn’t meaningfully rebound from the pandemic”.

“That is why today we are launching a push to establish night-time economy advisors in cities all over the UK, to steward the sector’s restoration and ensure it isn’t left to wither”, he goes on. “We feel this is the only way the sector can recover its pre-pandemic vibrance”.

“The examples in Bristol and Manchester show just what an incredible job can be done with this position, championing the sector and the region, both in local decision making and also nationally and internationally”, he adds. “They can also pick up specific issues and run with them to produce positive change, as we have seen with some progressive initiatives on drink spiking. We would call on all relevant local and combined authorities to engage with us on this to benefit the many millions who want to see thriving night-time economies all over the UK”.

The campaign is supported by both the Manchester and Bristol night-time advisors, Lord and Heath.

Lord adds: “The night-time economy and hospitality industry is fundamental to the recovery of cities up and down the country, particularly within this post pandemic environment. The role of the night-time economy advisor plays a huge part in spotlighting regional issues, championing and supporting an industry which has been at the sharpest end of the pandemic. This industry is bigger than the automotive, beauty and fashion industries and has the breadth and scope to impact investment, culture and communities. It’s vitally important that it has its own voice, and is represented regionally and within major cities across the UK”.

Heath says: “In my time as night-time economy advisor in Bristol I have led on implementing a number of positive public health and safety intervention’s in the city’s night-time economy, including on drink spiking, which has been of particular interest lately. My role enables the council to take a coordinated city-wide approach to issues that arise and provide a quick and nimble response across the local authorities, from local council, police, NHS and care services and the universities, and connect these to action within the local industry and night-time audiences”

“The night-time economy can often be seen as a problem in policy making circles – issues such as crime, antisocial behaviour, drug and alcohol consumption and noise complaints are a big part of what any city council will deal with”, she goes on. “With a dedicated officer to advise on solutions around these issues, and to act as a conduit between the local authority and industry, the night-time economy can start to be part of the solution in maintaining a safe and active night-time community – and the sector’s huge contribution can be better accounted for in policy decisions. I’m a huge advocate for the needs of the night, and the importance of having a night-time economy advisor in every city”.

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