NTIA Reports: 32 Independent Venues Shut Weekly in 2023-2024, Accusing Political Parties of Turning Back on Youth and Culture

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The upcoming general election on July 4th has once again revealed a distressing lack of commitment from major political parties towards our younger generation and the vibrant cultural sector crucial to our nation’s future. Instead of offering a forward-thinking vision that engages and inspires youth, these parties have chosen to rely on support from an ageing demographic, neglecting the voices and needs of tomorrow’s voters.

We are deeply concerned to report a devastating trend reshaping our nightlife. Over the past year, an average of 32 independent nighttime economy venues have closed weekly. This wave of closures is tearing out the beating heart of our vibrant nightlife, leaving a void that may never be filled.

The impact on our communities is stark. Factors like overregulation, inflation, and the pressures faced by independent businesses are creating an environment where survival is increasingly challenging. This trend threatens to homogenise our urban landscapes, stripping away the diversity and vitality that define our nightlife.

This oversight is particularly glaring given that the nighttime economy is one of the largest employers of under-30s and a major attraction for this age group. Underestimating the long-term impact on this demographic is shortsighted; they are not just the workforce of today but also the leaders and voters of tomorrow.

The manifestos presented by political parties are disappointingly superficial, filled with vague promises and hollow assurances. Token gestures of “promoting cultural activities” and acknowledging nightlife challenges lack concrete plans or steps for action. These fail to address critical issues such as education, employment, housing, and cultural development.

Furthermore, the parties’ reliance on the ageing electorate reflects a myopic strategy focused on short-term gains at the expense of long-term societal sustainability. This approach alienates young voters and jeopardises our future. The voices of youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders and cultural ambassadors, are being marginalised.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, underscores this disconnect, highlighting that young voices feel ignored and detached from the electoral process. He challenges political parties to support youth culture and nightlife, urging them to listen to the 2 million under-30s employed in this sector, the billions that take part in nightlife and to recognise the 90,000 businesses vital to our cultural fabric.

As the election approaches, it is crucial for political parties to engage meaningfully with the younger generation. Our nation’s future hinges on their participation and empowerment. We urge parties to move beyond rhetoric and offer substantive policies that address real concerns and support our cultural sector.

We call on all political parties to demonstrate genuine commitment to our nation’s future. Young voters and cultural advocates deserve more than empty promises; they deserve inclusion, recognition, and a vision that ensures our nightlife can thrive once again. Immediate action is essential to prevent further devastation and preserve our nightlife as a beacon of creativity and innovation.

Link to Data.

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