UK night-time economy lost 86,000 jobs during pandemic

fabric © Sarah Ginn
© Sarah Ginn

A new report from the NTIA sheds light on the impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s nightlife sector.

Around 86,000 jobs have been lost in the UK’s night-time cultural economy due to Covid-19, new research commissioned by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has found. 

The report, which was published yesterday (11 October), shows for the first time the value of the UK’s night-time cultural economy, which includes businesses such as nightclubs, venues and theatres. The value was 1.6% of GDP – or £36.4 billion – in 2019, which accounted for 425,000 jobs across the UK.

According to the report, the night-time cultural economy lost proportionally more jobs than similar sectors, with an estimated loss of trade between March 2020 and June 2021 standing at £36 billion.

More broadly, the research found that the nightlife sector as a whole, with restaurants, bars, casinos, cultural venues and more encompassed, had been steadily growing over the last decade, reaching a peak in 2019. The wider sector suffered even more job losses as a result of mandatory closures during the pandemic, with an estimated 393,000 jobs lost due to Covid-19, including the 86,000 jobs lost specifically in the night-time cultural economy. 

Speaking on the research in a statement, Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said: “We are pleased to be able to present today this important and timely piece of work quantifying, for the first time, the size of the night time economy in the UK”.

“Important, because in my 25-year career working in UK nightlife, it has always struck me as so odd that we did not have a proper accounting of the value of this important sector. Today’s report puts that right, and is long overdue.”

Continuing, Kill states that the data shows that, “it is the worst possible time to introduce vaccine passports, which will further damage a sector essential to the economic recovery”.

Vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and other large events came into effect in Wales over the weekend. In Scotland, a vaccine passport scheme came into effect at the start of the month, on 1 October. Elsewhere, England recently scrapped vaccine passport plans, while Northern Ireland has yet to announce a similar scheme ahead of the reopening of clubs on 31 October.

Kill is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “extend the 12.5% rate of VAT on hospitality until 2024, include door sales in that reduced rate of VAT, because the present system punishes nightclubs that rely on door sales rather than selling tickets.”

He’s also calling on the the Treasury not to add further duty on alcohol, with Kill stating, “our sector really cannot afford any additional burdens.”

Read: Vaccine passports for clubs: “The government is looking for an easy scapegoat with the nightlife industry”.