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WMCA night time economy advisor announcement

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The search is on to find a new, high-profile business leader to champion and support the region’s pubs, clubs, bars, concert venues, theatres and restaurants as they build back after the Covid 19 pandemic.

This Night Time Economy Advisor will act as a focal point across the West Midlands, bringing businesses together with wider stakeholders to push for investment and action to support the night time economy.

This follows a difficult period for the sector which has been hit by lockdowns and restrictions during the Covid pandemic and whose recovery is being slowed by rising energy costs.

Working closely with the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) trade body, the West Midlands will build on the successes of this role in London, Greater Manchester and Bristol where night time advisors have coordinated action for their sector – such as joint working to reduce anti-social behaviour.

This unpaid champion will be someone with significant experience and profile in the West Midlands night time economy with the credibility to speak for the region’s businesses, lead plans and policies with partners, and ensure the region’s night time economy thrives.

This may include tackling issues such as training opportunities to deal with staff shortages, and improvements in safety for both customers and staff. It will also involve lobbying Government for support to the sector.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said:

“Despite the challenges and cost pressures facing business, hospitality remains a critical sector for our region and an area with major potential for future growth.

“But it remains under-represented, and as we bounce back from the economic shock of Covid I believe now is the time to bring in a champion for the Night Time Economy who can help galvanise and lead the sector.

“The Commonwealth Games showed the world what great hosts we can be, and now is the time to build on that by creating the jobs for local people, attracting new and returning visitors, and helping drive the West Midlands economy forward.

“We need a dynamic and high-profile individual to help us achieve that, and I look forward to seeing the applications that come forward.”

As well as working with the West Midlands Growth Company the Advisor will be co-opted on to the newly convening West Midlands Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board, currently recruiting, to ensure a joined-up approach for the sector.

To kick start the process the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is opening recruitment for a night time economy senior policy advisor whose role will pave the way for the Night Time Economy Advisor.

They will work together to draw up a night-time strategy for the region and ensure better cohesion and outcomes for the sector.

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio lead for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said:

“Our restaurants, pubs, clubs, theatres and other nightspots have had a torrid time recently from full closure during lockdowns to now being hit by soaring energy prices and other costs.

“We have already made some progress with the hospitality sector – such as expanding training opportunities for kitchen staff – but now we need to go further.

“And it is right that we have someone in place who has direct experience and can speak up for the sector as we develop further plans and policies to support it through this difficult period and beyond.”

The creation of this role will build on the progress of the WMCA’s Hospitality Skills Taskforce, chaired by celebrity chef Glynn Purnell, whose work included funding for over 1,000 places to help businesses train up recruits.

Michael Kill, the CEO of the NTIA, said:

“It is amazing news to hear that the Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority will be appointing a Night Time Economy Advisor for the region.

“The NTIA has been an advocate for this role for many years, campaigning for every city and town across the country to have a nightlife champion, in a bid to strengthen the network of representation and promote the important role the industry plays in the recovery of the country and the ongoing economic success of our communities across the UK.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the WMCA in developing the role within the region and the active part it will play in promoting and shaping nightlife across the UK.”

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