20 years within this Industry and I have seen change come and go, from rave scene through to builders who believe they can be operators, to investors that see the Industry as a cash cow!
The last few years have seen the changes in terms of the governing infrastructure, initially through the expansion of 24 hr licensing which if honest is misleading, to the draconian control or subsequent interpretation of licensing by key stakeholders to reduce crime, by limiting licensing or demanding increased costs through licensing conditions.
We are moving into an era where the NTE, in particular, is being squeezed in terms of its input into the community, Business Improvement Districts, Late Night Levys etc.. The question is are we being treated fairly? Is the NTE becoming a Budget top-up scheme for policing and LGA across the country?
The support for the NTE has grown over the last few years with the replacement of mainstay politicians who see the business that operates at night as a drain on resource to a dramatically cosmopolitan view of millennials and politically aware youth who are keen to see it thrives, but also accept there must be a change in landscape – hybrid venues, food-focused, socially balanced, activity lead – cross-generational .. all words associated with the change.
The debate is ensuring we challenge the balance of resource contingency with propping up the financial challenges faced by the LGA and Policing – venue closure is not the answer to crime reduction, and the night time economy cannot be subject to fulfilling the shortfall in resource for post-midnight, with funding that would resource 2/3rds of the monthly operating budget as a whole.