Late-night music venues will go 'extinct' this year, industry bosses warn

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Late-night music venues will go 'extinct' this year, industry bosses warn

Nightclubs across the UK face going 'extinct' this year, with 80 per cent unlikely to survive beyond this month, industry bosses have today claimed

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Nightclubs across the UK face going ‘extinct’ this year, with 80 per cent unlikely to survive beyond this month, industry bosses have today claimed.

In a stark warning, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the UK was on the ‘cusp of losing a cultural institution’ due to the impact of Covid on the late-night economy.

Taking aim at the Government, the group claims ministers have ‘failed to recognise the devastating impact’ of Covid restrictions on the industry and that nightclubs have been neglected in terms of support. 

Industry chiefs including the owners of Halo in Bournemouth and Brighton’s The Arch have now warned that hundreds of venues could be lost by the end of this month without the Government’s help.

They have called for a ‘robust’ financial package to prop-up the industry while nightclubs remain closed and demanded the Government to set out a road-map out of lockdown for late-night venues.

A government spokesperson told MailOnline the UK has ‘one of the most comprehensive and generous packages of business support in the world’ and that measures such as closing clubs were necessary to save lives.

But Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said: ‘We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution, the Government has ignored the sector and failed to recognise its economic and cultural value.

In a stark warning, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the UK was on the 'cusp of losing a cultural institution'. Pictured: Clubs have been shut since the first UK lockdown in March 2020

In a stark warning, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the UK was on the ‘cusp of losing a cultural institution’. Pictured: Clubs have been shut since the first UK lockdown in March 2020

The NTIA has accused ministers of 'failing to recognise the devastating impact' of Covid restrictions on the UK's night time economy. Pictured: Aqua nightclub in London

The NTIA has accused ministers of ‘failing to recognise the devastating impact’ of Covid restrictions on the UK’s night time economy. Pictured: Aqua nightclub in London

‘Throughout this pandemic and the restrictive measures levied against the sector, it is clear that these businesses are being systematically eradicated from society.  

The NTIA’s list of demands which it says will help to save the nightclub industry 

· Late Night Economy Sector specific support for the hardest hit businesses in terms of grants

· Extend the VAT cut to 5% for a further 12 months encompassing a broader part of the sector.

Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, warned that 'we are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution'

Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, warned that ‘we are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution’

· Extension of Business Rates Holiday til end of 2021

· Extend the Repayment and interest free period for all Government backed loan initiatives

· Extend Covid Job Retention Scheme / Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until the end of 2021 – Allowing Flexible furlough

· Defer Tax Payments to December 2021 – Allowing for full trading engagement before debts fall.

– Resolution to the Commercial Rents issues currently which will be pivotal once the FM runs out at the end of March

‘As an industry we have faced extreme adversity during this pandemic, and the continued refusal for the leaders of this country to mention nightclubs or late night venues within the narrative.

 ‘These amazing creative spaces are the breeding grounds for nurturing talent, bringing communities together, building resilience and expanding the global phenomenon around UK club culture and electronic and live music.

In a call for more support, he added: ‘(The industry) needs a robust financial package and which is tailored to support businesses and a road map giving a clear indication of the timelines for re opening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt.

The nightclub and late night venue sector is one of the only industries in the UK to have remained closed throughout the Covid pandemic.

While pubs and bars reopened when the first national lockdown was eased in July, late-night venues remained closed as Government health officials deemed they could not reopen safely due to the risk of Covid.

But the move, taken over concerns that social distancing could not be maintained in a club environment, left millions without a workplace to go to.

Nationally, the industry is the fourth-biggest employer.

It accounts for around 8 per cent of the UK’s employment – with around 3million jobs across the industry – while producing annual revenues of £70billion, according to the NTIA.

Nightclub owners have been able to furlough staff under the Covid Job Retention Scheme.

But figures from a recent NTIA survey, of 100 nightclub owners, show 86 per cent have made redundancies during the pandemic.

Of those, over 65 per cent made over 60 percent of the workforce redundant before the end of last year, the NTIA survey shows.

One nightclub owner, Ty Temel, who runs Halo Nightclub, Bournemouth said: ‘Nightclubs have been largely sidelined in terms of support but without them, there will be huge economic, safety and social consequences.

One nightclub owner, Ty Temel, who runs Halo Nightclub (pictured), Bournemouth said: 'Nightclubs have been largely sidelined in terms of support but without them, there will be huge economic, safety and social consequences.'

One nightclub owner, Ty Temel, who runs Halo Nightclub (pictured), Bournemouth said: ‘Nightclubs have been largely sidelined in terms of support but without them, there will be huge economic, safety and social consequences.’

Mr Temel said the Bournemouth hospitality sector produces £134million pounds of annual revenue for the local economy

Mr Temel said the Bournemouth hospitality sector produces £134million pounds of annual revenue for the local economy

What did the NTIA’s nightclub owner survey reveal?

– 88% of Nightclubs within the UK in Over 2 Months Rent Arrears with 50% Over 3 Months Rent Arrears moving into another Quarter at the start of January.

· 81% of Nightclubs within the UK will not survive past February without further support from the Government.

· 86% of Nightclubs have made redundancies with over 65% making over 60% of the workforce redundant before the end of 2020.

· 43% of Nightclubs surveyed had not received any Grant support from Government

· Average Rateable Value for a Nightclubs & Late Venues – £105,986

‘Our sector is a huge contributor to the local economy. The Bournemouth hospitality sector produces an estimated £134million pounds annual revenue to the local economy. 

‘Nightclubs have been partially if not fully closed since March 2020 with no real light at the end of the tunnel.

‘Yet have not received any of the benefits other hospitality sectors have received such as ‘eat out to help out’ for restaurants.’

Drew Burke, director of Hangar, in Birmingham, said: ‘The hospitality industry accounts for over 3 millions jobs, generating over £70billion of gross added directly to the UK economy with the umbrella effect providing trade for local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, salons, taxi services which many now sit redundant.

‘This has effected not only business owners but staff who depend on their wages, breweries who provide beverages to venues, the customer who craves for social interaction and a release of work and home life duties, and so forth creating a huge domino effect what isn’t being fixed.

‘Without venues and nightclubs, a huge social void looms causing mass redundancies, and a huge influx on mental health.’ 

The NTIA warns that, without support, 81 of nightclubs within the UK will not survive past February, according to its survey.

Drew Burke, director of Hangar, in Birmingham, said the impact of closures has had a knock on effect on other businesses

Drew Burke, director of Hangar, in Birmingham, said the impact of closures has had a knock on effect on other businesses

Mike Grieve, MD of SubClub in Glasgow: ‘The club and electronic music scene in Glasgow is amongst the most developed anywhere in Europe with a very well established network of promoters and clubs and a solid heritage going right back to the mid 80s.

‘In the case of the Sub Club we have been consistently on the cutting edge since 1987. The cultural importance of that heritage to the city, and to Scotland more broadly, can hardly be overstated.’

Results from the survey also showed 43 per cent of nightclubs had not received any grant support from the Government since the start of the pandemic. 

Last year Revolution Bars, one of the UK’s biggest bar chains, blasted the Government’s ‘scandalous’ treatment of bars and nightclubs during the pandemic, accusing it of ‘deliberately sacrificing businesses and people’s livelihoods’.

Chief executive Rob Pitcher said state support for bars which have seen their trade decimated during the crisis is ‘totally inadequate’ and called grants of £1,000 per wet-led pub or bar ‘derisory and insulting’.

The group, which runs 74 bars in the UK, told investors it is down around £8.5million a month for the past six months from the same period last year after reporting a nearly 50 per cent fall in sales from 2019.

The chain reopened bars on July 6 following the first national lockdown. But it said it had been weighed down by restrictions including local lockdowns, the second national shutdown, table service and the 10pm curfew.

In November, Revolution creditors gave the green light to a restructuring plan which saw the company cut 130 jobs and permanently shut six sites in London, Bath, the West Midlands and Sunderland.

The company voluntary arrangement (CVA) also secured reduced rents at seven bars.

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: ‘We understand these are extremely challenging circumstances for businesses, particularly nightclubs.

‘The current restrictions are essential so we can control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

‘We have put in place one of the most comprehensive and generous packages of business support in the world, worth £280billion.

‘This 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.’

What those within the industry say about the Covid impact on nighclubs 

DJ Paulette, DJ / Musician, Manchester

DJ Paulette, DJ / Musician, Manchester

DJ Paulette, DJ / Musician, Manchester

‘Since March 2020, the arts and events sector as been unable to operate to any effective level and unable to offer anyone the right to stay, the right to play, the right to work or somewhere to go placing brutal pressure on the commercial landscape.

‘Whilst rents and taxes continue to cripple businesses, this situation is reaching critical mass.

‘A watertight rescue package is needed in order to support and restore the sector and to help it to return to world-beating form.’

Yousef, DJ. Circus events, Circus Recordings, Liverpool

Circus has been the heartbeat for quality house & techno and broader electronic music in Liverpool and beyond for 18 years. I’s impact culturally can’t be under estimated.

Yousef, DJ. Circus events, Circus Recordings, Liverpool

Yousef, DJ. Circus events, Circus Recordings, Liverpool

Consistently pushing the boundaries of how a line up and club experience should be, booking every major artist in electronic music, and developing many artists from their first gigs to a global presence, all with completely welcoming ethos.

Circus’ impact to the local economy is significant. Circus’ last event employs over 150 + people with over 3000 people attending.

Locally with taxis, bars, hotels, clothes shops, restaurants all hugely benefiting from the surrounding eco-system.

Furthermore much of the student population cites Circus as an additional reason to study in Liverpool. This has all completely stopped.

The audience is ready to go, the artists are ready to go, and Circus is ready to open and welcome.

For now after a generation of efforts we are living in a very precarious state of limbo.

Damien Fell, The Arch, Brighton

It’s been disappointing to see the lack of support for nightclubs in Brighton. We have a thriving city and scene with a large percentage of our customers travelling from surrounding areas, including London.

Damien Fell, The Arch, Brighton

Damien Fell, The Arch, Brighton

The city is a melting pot of culture and diversity, and we pride ourselves on communicating the values and ethos of the city through our promotion of the best new and upcoming talent, in addition to welcoming big international names.

Very soon we might not be able to do that anymore if support is not extended, while we are unable to reopen.

We want to continue adding value to the city’s nightlife and community but time is running out.

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