The ‘night-time economy’ is worth £66bn to the UK and must be treated with respect, says new report
By Rebecca Burn-Callander, Enterprise Editor, Telegraph
The night -time economy of restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs is worth £66bn to the UK, and is underpinning much of the UK’s economic growth, a report has found.
According to the Forward Into The Night report, which was produced by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), 6pc of the UK’s gross domestic product is generated by night-time businesses, which employ around 1.3m people.
The report, which was released on Tuesday, aims to debunk the night-time economy’s reputation as a seedy, unpleasant cousin to the day-time economy.
According to TripAdvisor, two of the top three destinations for night-life in Europe are in the UK
It has been launched ahead of the London Underground becoming a 24-hour service, which will begin in September. Transport for London has said the move will support 2,000 permanent jobs and boost the UK economy by £360m.
“An increasing proportion of the population’s social activities either begin with or extend into the night,” the report said. Of the 1.5bn daily visits to the UK last year, 300m were focused on an evening meal or night out.
Londoners rejoiced when TfL announced that certain Tube lines would run over the entire weekend from September
There are more people awake and socialising at night-time than ever before, the study claimed, with 10pc of UK employees regularly working a night shift, 500,000 more than in 2002.
Far from fuelling binge-drinking and alcohol and drug-related crime, the NTIA claimed that the night-time economy is partly to thank for improving crime rates.
Recorded crime is now 38pc lower than in 2002/03. “Venues are now safer than ever,” argued the report. “And most bars and pubs are careful to ensure that their customers enjoy a safe evening out.”
“The attempt to extend regulation of the night-time economy or curb its activities will do very little to reduce the problem of alcoholism or violent crime,” it added. “Most alcohol is consumed outside licensed pubs and bars.”
“Lighting up our streets, employing 8pc of our workforce – a large proportion of whom are young – paying business rates and as active stakeholders in our local communities, our industry simply makes Britain better,” said Alan D Miller, founder of the Old Truman Brewery in London’s East End and chairman of the NTIA.
Forward Into The Night not only aims to celebrate the UK’s night-time businesses, but also to warn that excess regulation and further tax hikes could damage this section of the economy.
It cited rising alcohol duty as a barrier to growth, and claimed that by designating parts of England and Wales as areas where no new alcohol licenses will be granted, the Government is stifling “smaller, unique venues”.
The NTIA is calling on the Government to rethink the way the night-time economy is treated, changing serious crime statistics to omit mobile phone theft, for example, and relaxing planning and licensing laws for companies that will add value to local communities.
The NTIA is a lobbying organisation, which was formed by independent bar, nightclub, restaurant and pub owners, and festival and live music event operators in April this year.
It is led by Mr Miller, Alex Proud, Telegraph columnist and founder of the Proud Group, Jonathan Downey, whose leisure empire includes the newly launched London Union street food brand and Steve Ball of The Columbo Group.
Here are the NTIA recommendations in full:
1. For the night-time economy (NTE) to flourish in the UK, the industry needs to work together to collectively gain favour with policymakers and the police
2. The evident social and cultural readjustment to the night-time economy should be accounted for through fair regulation across licensing, planning, entry procedures, and crime. The police and local authorities need to realise the value to the NTE has to local communities
3. Nationally, licensing frameworks should work with operators to better support venues while ensuring the safe and effective operation of the industry
4. Crime classifications need to be revisited so as to recognise that crime associated with the night-time economy is not committed by venues, but against them
5. We should be encouraging a nationally accepted code of conduct for the industry, which ensures best practice, and protects the individual venues that are operating to the standards imposed and accepted by the industry
6. The nature of the conversation around the industry needs to change – to support and champion one of the UK’s most culturally significant industries, rather than belittle and stifle it
7. Regular research into the quantitative value of the NTE should be undertaken, to ensure that policymakers and industry are made aware of the contribution to UK culture, economy and society.