A group of cross-party MPs and peers have today come together to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the UK’s Night Time Economy.
The group, which is chaired by Jeff Smith – Labour MP for Manchester Withington – will provide a key voice for the sector in parliament to address the immediate “COVID-induced crisis” it is facing and future challenges is likely to come up against.
The move comes as the sector and its supply chains are at risk of collapse due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, combined with “insufficient sector specific financial support from government”.
The group states that it believes the current crisis is an “existential threat” to the Night Time Industry sector.
The sector has “borne the brunt of COVID-restrictions” with many businesses having been ordered to remain closed since March, and there has also been widespread concern across the sector that it has been particularly under-represented politically, and undervalued both culturally and economically in government, with many misconceptions around business models and market segmentation.
In a positive step for the sector, the inaugural meeting of the APPG took place this morning.
The meeting marks the recognition of the specific challenges facing night time businesses, and sets a new dialogue between the sector and parliamentarians across the political spectrum.
The new APPG will be supported by the Night Time Industries Association.
The NTIA will seek to provide industry insight and secretariat services to the group going forward.
Speaking on the inaugural meeting this morning, Jeff Smith MP – Chair of the new APPG – said: “The night time sector is hugely important to both the UK economy and our cultural identity – particularly in Greater Manchester, where have a proud tradition of music, arts and entertainment, and where music tourism alone generated £169 million for our local economy pre-pandemic.
“In the past nine months, the sector has faced enormous challenges, and thousands of bars, nightclubs, and live events businesses are at risk of collapse.
“As a former and event manager and DJ, I feel strongly about the importance of these businesses, so I am pleased to be chairing the new cross-party group to support night-time industries [and] we will be working hard to ensure that this usually viable, thriving and world-leading sector can not only survive the Covid crisis, but prepare for a prosperous, long-term recovery.”
Michael Kill – CEO of NTIA – added: “It is vitally important that the Night Time Economy has its own voice, and alongside businesses, associations and participating parliamentarians, we welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group to further support and clarify the challenges around the industry, and help recognise its cultural and economic value both within the UK and internationally.”
“We are extremely pleased to have the support of many cross-party parliamentarians, and believe that this group will have a substantial part to play in the regeneration of the night time economy in the next 12 months.”
You can find more information via the NTIA website here.