Cataclysmic Christmas as third of nightlife businesses fear closure within a month without urgent government support

Posted On 20 Dec 2021 at 2:08 pm

WaterBear in Brighton (pic Cris Watkins)

A new survey by the Night Time Industries Association of over five hundred nightclubs, bars, pubs and hospitality venues has today revealed that the sector faces a ‘Cataclysmic Christmas’. One fifth of nightlife businesses could lose their entire workforce, and one third fear closure within a month, without urgent government support following new covid restrictions and omicron uncertainty.

The UK-wide survey, conducted over the weekend of the 18-19 December, revealed the scale of crisis facing the industry. It found
• On average, night-time economy venues have lost £46,000 per unit in lost sales and cancellations during the festive period.
• Over half of businesses required to introduce covid certification for entry to their premises report witnessing over a 40 per cent drop in footfall.
• Half of all businesses in the night-time economy will have to cut over half of jobs in their workforce if the government does not provide commensurate financial support.

Patterns in Brighton (pic Nick Linazasoro)

The Night Time Industries Association, alongside other trade bodies and industry leaders, are demanding action from the Chancellor to step in and acknowledge the scale of the challenges facing businesses and operators as a result of the new variant, hindering both consumer confidence, wrecking supply chains and bringing costly new restrictions to venues across the UK.

Michael Kill, Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said:
“It really is a chilling prospect to see so many venues in our sector left to bleed, with a lockdown in everything but name and absolutely no recognition of this from the Government. These venues have faced over twenty months of financial hardship and the Christmas trade period was integral to keeping those surviving businesses afloat in the upcoming year.

If further restrictions are to be implemented, the Chancellor must step in and recognise the huge damage that waves of cancellations, driven by mixed Government messaging, resource intensive Covid protocols and costly restrictions actually have. The Government have had twenty months to learn how our sector operates; it is beggars belief we stand here again, as if back in March 2020, imploring the Government to listen to us, to understand how businesses work and to realise that inaction is a death sentence for our industry. It really is a Cataclysmic Christmas.”

Concorde 2 in Brighton (pic Julia Do Om)

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, comments:
“While shocking and upsetting, these latest stats don’t come as much surprise. The industry have been unanimously calling on the Chancellor for both support and leadership. To date, our calls have fallen on deaf ears and for some, it is already too late. If the UK’s fifth biggest industry has any hope of survival, he must come forward, urgently.”

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