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MPs launch inquiry on the impact of COVID-19 on British nightlife

·Contributor
·3-min read
Clubbers dance at the Ministry of Sound nightclub in south London April 29, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
The night time industry in the UK has crashed since the first lockdown in March 2020 as businesses have been forced to remain shut, and people are enquired to social distance to curb the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Reuters/Olivia Harris

The newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the night time economy has launched an urgent inquiry into the impact COVID-19 has had on British nightlife.

The inquiry, led by APPG chair and MP Jeff Smith, is calling for evidence from night time economy businesses, employees, freelancers and consumers to share their views on the challenges facing the sector, its importance to society, and how nightlife can be reopened.

Consultations will run throughout the month of January for a report scheduled to be released in February.

The night time industry in the UK has crashed since the first lockdown in March 2020 as businesses have been forced to remain shut, and people are enquired to social distance to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Last year the UK’s largest nightclub operator fell into administration amid the nationwide lockdown, decreased sales and declining footfall.

In October, beleaguered Deltic Group hired accounting firm BDO to explore emergency funding options to help shore up its finances. Two months later it was snapped up by Danish group Rekom, saving more than 1,300 jobs.

Deltic owns the Pryzm, Atik and Eden chains and has 52 clubs in Britain, however, around 10 of its venues are expected to close.

READ MORE: Shut UK nightclubs worry about not seeing light of day

While retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry were given permission to reopen months ago, nightclubs have largely remained off limits.

Jeff Smith APPG chair, said: “Despite playing such a vital role in our local communities and UK economy, nightlife businesses have been repeatedly overlooked by the government, and we are determined to ensure that the specific challenges facing the sector are addressed. This inquiry will be a vital first step in our work.”

The APPG was formed in December to provide a cross-party voice for the sector in parliament - it is made up of 35 cross-party parliamentarians from all major political parties. The group is supported by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which provides industry insight and secretariat services.

NTIA is the industry’s largest trade body, representing more than 1,400 businesses across the UK’s night-time economy.

Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, said: “Since March, we have seen the night-time sector berated, scapegoated and even blamed for rising infections. Our sector has slipped through the cracks of insufficient support packages and borne the brunt of ever-changing and inconsistent restrictions.

“We urge all those who work in the night-time economy, or simply enjoy a night out, to take part in the APPG survey to help policymakers understand the importance of our vital sector.”

NTIA warned last year that 60% of nightclubs in the UK could face closure during the next two months without further government support.

Watch: Rishi Sunak outlines new financial support measures

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