The UK’s nightclubs and late bars have lost around 86,000 jobs over the course of the pandemic.
A report published by the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) found that there was a 12% increase in headcount across the “night-time cultural economy” between 2010 and 2019 to around 425,000 jobs, but this number has since plummeted because of the impact of lockdowns and social restrictions.
It said that, based on historic trends, the number of jobs in the night-time economy would have increased from 425,000 in 2020 to 465,000 in 2024 – an increase of around 9% – but the outlook is now less optimistic despite the provision of the furlough scheme and other government loans aimed to support job retention.
Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said the night-time economy needed to be at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.
“After the 2008 economic crisis, it was the hospitality that led the recovery, driving other forms of job creation and economic activity – the night time economy was a big part of that,” he said.
Kill added that it was the “worst possible time” to introduce vaccine passports in Scotland and Wales, as this could “further damage a sector essential to the economic recovery”.
MP Christian Wakeford, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Night-Time Economy, said: “As Covid-19 has ravaged the sector, it is important, now more than ever, to recognize the significance of nightlife industries; this report is a timely contribution to the policy debate in this area. As we look to rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic, we must not leave this vital sector behind.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that one in five night-time and hospitality businesses have had to close or operate reduced hours because of a shortage of security staff, with some estimates suggesting that venues are having to pay security staff as much as 25% more to retain them.
Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said that security staffing was the biggest issue at this year’s Parklife festival, with it being a struggle to hire the 1,000 security staff required.
“We have always taken it for granted that you can send an email to three or four security providers and get our 900-1,000 security staff,” Lord said. “But this year we had to beg, borrow and steal from all over the country.
“We had to bus them in from north Scotland, Devon and all over. Normally it is very localized and they come from Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool.”