Recovering from COVID-19 and Creating a Safe, Diverse, Thriving Night-Time Economy

  • Date of Event: Thursday, August 4th 2022
  • Time of Event: 9:30 AM — 1:30 PM
  • Place of Event: Webinar

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Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns and other restrictions have had a devastating effect on the UK’s night-time economy, with many businesses in the sector not surviving. The damage done has been compounded by the loss of EU labour markets and the escalating cost of living. While the sector has rebounded since the lifting in England of night-time economy restrictions in July 2021, many of those businesses that survived the last two years are struggling, with footfall and advanced bookings still much reduced compared to pre pandemic levels. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has indicated that its members lost, on average, £45,000 over the 2021 Christmas period. Other challenges facing the sector include: falling consumer confidence; supply chain problems; the impact of employees not returning to offices; a shortage of trained staff; and growing safety concerns among women, including in relation to drinks spiking. NTIA and the UK Door Security Association revealed in May 2022 that 75% of members surveyed – including nightclubs, bars and pubs felt security staff shortages were affecting their ability to protect the public, and 60% felt this was affecting public confidence to venture out. Furthermore, 57% of businesses surveyed thought the quality of door security staff was ‘poor’, with only 31% feeling security staff were up to standard. The pandemic has been extremely challenging for night-time economy workers as well. A February 2021 report by the Night Time Economy APPG found 85% of workers in the night-time economy were considering leaving the industry.

During the pandemic, the government supported the hospitality and entertainment sectors with: 100% business rate relief from April 2020; closed business lockdown payments of £4,000-£9,000 from April 2021; local restrictions support grants for closed premises of £1,334-£3,000 per month, and £934-£2,100 per month for premises that remained open; the “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme; a £1.57bn cultural recovery fund; the furlough scheme; the ability to reclaim statutory sick pay; a reduction in VAT, initially to 5%, then 12.5%; and the protection from eviction of commercial tenants during lockdowns and periods of restricted trading.

Many feel the government could have gone further to protect an industry that was decimated during the pandemic, however. The government has been also been criticised in recent months for not maintaining its VAT reduction and 100% business rates relief, for increasing National Insurance, and for not taking action on businesses energy bills and fuel duty at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive. Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, recently described the lack of help from Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Spring Statement “to allow the sector financial headroom to survive in something resembling its pre pandemic form” as “very disappointing”.

With the sector struggling to recovery from the pandemic, this symposium will offer stakeholders a vital opportunity to discuss strategies for rebuilding the sector, attracting, training and retaining staff, and creating a diverse, thriving and safe night-time economy. It will also provide the chance to scrutinise the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the government’s response, licensing laws, and increased regulation such as Minimum Unit Pricing, Cumulative Impact Policies and Late Night Levies.

Programme

  • Examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK’s night-time economy
  • Assess what more government and businesses can do to ensure a high level of health and safety standards in respect of COVID-19
  • Discuss measures to protect women in pubs, bars, clubs, and city centres at night, across the UK
  • Explore the impact of Late Night Levies, Early Morning Restriction Orders, Minimum Unit Pricing, and Cumulative Impact Policies on the night-time economy
  • Scrutinise the value of expanding the role of the Night Czar and increasing more ‘Night Champions’ across the UK
  • Assess the Licensing Act 2003 and discuss key areas for reform
  • Examine working conditions and training opportunities in the night-time economy and whether these are sufficient to attract and retain staff and provide good quality jobs with progression opportunities in the sector, including through Skills Academy hubs
  • Identify how local authorities can strengthen partnerships with stakeholders on alcohol and entertainment licensing
  • Discuss night-time public transport services and how these can be improved to aid the night-time economy and increase the safety of women and other vulnerable groups
  • Explore what more central and local government can do to facilitate the conversion of vacant premises for night-time businesses and events
  • Share best practice on developing a diverse, accessible and safe night life locally

Who Should Attend?

  • Licensing Portfolio Holders
  • Chairs of Licensing Committees & Licensing Committee Members
  • Heads of Licensing Departments
  • Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships
  • Community Safety Managers
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Officers
  • Police Service
  • Heads of Community Safety Partnerships
  • Town Centre Managers
  • Accident & Emergency Departments
  • Drug & Alcohol Action Teams
  • Local Government Authorities
  • Noise and Nuisance Officers
  • Health and Safety Officers
  • Beer, Pub & Club Industry
  • Arts Centres
  • Music Industry
  • Cultural Development Stakeholders
  • Local Regeneration Stakeholders
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Community Development Officers
  • Neighbourhood Management Teams
  • Strategic Planning and Commissioning Teams
  • Regeneration and Development Teams
  • Local Event Organisers
  • Further and Higher Education Institutions

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