Supporting the UK’s Night-Time Economy: Fostering a Resilient, Dynamic Night-Time Economy in Straitened Economic Times

Activity: Knowledge Exchange & ConsultancyWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-governmental organisationEnterprise


Night-time businesses saw a 26% rise in total operating costs in the past year, according to a survey by the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA). The COVID-19 pandemic, soaring inflation and the cost-of-living and energy crises have had a devastating effect on the UK’s night-time economy, with many businesses in the sector going under. The damage done has been compounded by severe staff shortages brought about by the post-Brexit ending of free movement and the after-effects of the pandemic. While the sector has rebounded since the lifting of COVID restrictions in July 2021, many of those businesses that survived the pandemic are struggling in the face of rocketing energy bills, a cost-of-living crisis and a diminished labour market. The total number of night-time workers fell from 9.5 million in 2016 to 8.7 million in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics. Other challenges facing the sector include: diminished consumer spending power; post-Brexit supply chain problems; the impact of employees not returning to offices; a dearth of trained staff; and safety worries among women, including in relation to drinks spiking. NTIA and the UK Door Security Association revealed in May 2022 that 75% of members surveyed – including nightclubs, bars and pubs – felt security staff shortages were affecting their ability to protect the public, and 60% felt this was affecting public confidence to venture out.

During the pandemic, the government supported the hospitality and entertainment sectors with: 100% business rate relief from April 2020; closed business lockdown payments of £4,000-£9,000 from April 2021; local restrictions support grants for closed premises of £1,334-£3,000 per month, and £934-£2,100 per month for premises that remained open; the “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme; a £1.57bn cultural recovery fund; the furlough scheme; the ability to reclaim statutory sick pay; a reduction in VAT, initially to 5%, then 12.5%; and the protection from eviction of commercial tenants during lockdowns and periods of restricted trading. In 2022, to help companies deal with the rising cost of energy, the government introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which was replaced in April 2023 by the less generous and less widely available Energy Bills Discount Scheme.

Many feel the government could have gone further to protect a sector that was decimated during the pandemic. The government has also been criticised for not maintaining its VAT reduction and 100% business rates relief, for increasing National Insurance, and for not taking sufficient action to support businesses with their energy bills at a time when many are struggling to survive. UKHospitality argue that the significant loss of workers over the past six years and the continued drain on turnover by the government’s Late Night Levy is stifling the sector’s recovery from the pandemic and preventing venues from taking advantage of high demand.

With the sector struggling to recover from the pandemic and pummelled by the cost-of-living and energy crises, this symposium will offer stakeholders a vital opportunity to discuss strategies for rebuilding the sector, attracting, training and retaining staff, and creating a diverse, thriving and safe night-time economy. It will also provide the chance to scrutinise the government’s support for the sector, licensing laws, and increased regulation such as Minimum Unit Pricing, Cumulative Impact Policies and Late Night Levies.

Examine the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of high inflation, the cost-of-living and energy crises on the UK’s night-time economy
Discuss what more government can do to support the sector in the face of soaring costs and constrained consumer spending
Put forward measures to protect women in pubs, bars, clubs, and city centres at night, across the UK
Explore the impact of Late Night Levies, Early Morning Restriction Orders, Minimum Unit Pricing, and Cumulative Impact Policies on the night-time economy
Scrutinise the value of expanding the role of London’s Night Czar and increasing more ‘Night Champions’ across the UK
Assess the Licensing Act 2003 and discuss key areas for reform
Examine working conditions and training opportunities in the night-time economy and how these can be improved to attract and retain staff
Identify how local authorities can strengthen partnerships with stakeholders on alcohol and entertainment licensing
Discuss night-time public transport services and how these can be improved to aid the night-time economy and increase the safety of women and other vulnerable groups
Explore what more central and local government can do to facilitate the conversion of vacant premises for night-time businesses and events
Discuss the impact of the UK’s zoned, low-density urban model on footfall and the sustainability of the night-time economy
Share best practice on developing a diverse, accessible and safe night life locally
Who Should Attend?
Licensing Portfolio Holders
Chairs of Licensing Committees & Licensing Committee Members
Heads of Licensing Departments
Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships
Community Safety Managers
Anti-Social Behaviour Officers
Police Service
Heads of Community Safety Partnerships
Town Centre Managers
Accident & Emergency Departments
Drug & Alcohol Action Teams
Local Government Authorities
Noise and Nuisance Officers
Health and Safety Officers
Beer, Pub & Club Industry
Arts Centres
Music Industry
Cultural Development Stakeholders
Local Regeneration Stakeholders
Third Sector Practitioners
Community Development Officers
Neighbourhood Management Teams
Planning Officers
Strategic Planning and Commissioning Teams
Regeneration and Development Teams
Local Event Organisers
Further and Higher Education Institutions
Date of Event: Tuesday, August 22nd 2023

Time of Event: 9:30 AM — 1:00 PM GMT
Key Speakers
Dr Kimberley Hill, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Northampton
Professor Marion Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Urban Design at University of Westminster
Dr Robert Shaw, Senior Lecturer in Geography at Newcastle University
Dr Nicole Ferdinand, Programme Lead, Postgraduate Hospitality, Events and Tourism Programmes at Oxford Brookes University (Event Chair)
Dr Nikhaela Wicks, Lecturer in Criminology at University of Kent
Dr Hai Nguyen, Associate Professor in Tourism and Events at the University of Greenwich
Period22 Aug 2023
Work forPublic Policy Exchange
Degree of RecognitionInternational