Nightclubs face extinction without urgent Government intervention, MPs warned

Many nightclubs and music venues will not survive the pandemic without urgent Government intervention, MPs have warned.

The night-time economy has been particularly hard-hit during the Covid-19 crisis, with many venues having been shut since last March.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted during a Downing Street press conference that rapid testing could be used to help venues like nightclubs reopen.

Now, a group of 40 MPs has issued a report warning that 85% of people working in the night-time economy are considering leaving the industry and 78% of those employed in the sector have at some point been on furlough.

Labour MP Jeff Smith (Manchester Withington), a former DJ and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Night Time Economy, said city centres will become “ghost towns” without the venues.

He said: “Our world-leading nightclubs, pubs, bars, and live music venues are cornerstones of our communities. They drive so much economic activity both locally and nationally, and bring hope, joy and entertainment to millions across the UK.

“Our findings today reveal this industry is on its knees, in desperate need of additional support from the Government and a concrete plan for reopening.

“Without these interventions, many of these viable businesses will go under, leaving city and town centres resembling ghost towns.

“If the Government is serious about its ‘levelling up’ agenda it must act now to save this sector and avoid untold damage to the social fabric of this country.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said Covid-19 has had a “devastating impact” on the sector.

“Every day I speak with the dedicated people that make up this industry – from artists to engineers, bar staff to security, and production to promoters – they have shown great resilience in the face of adversity.

“But resilience only gets you so far without the required support.

“We need more assistance and a detailed plan for reopening now. Otherwise, much of what defines a night out in the UK will be lost forever.”

A Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister will set out our plan on Monday 22 February for reopening our economy in a way that is cautious but also irreversible.

“Nightclubs can continue to access our comprehensive package of business support worth over £280 billion, which includes a one-off grant of up to £9,000, monthly grants of up to £3,000, various loan schemes, a business rates holiday, as well as the extended furlough scheme.”

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