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Third of UK venues face closure without government support, stark report warns

The stark warning comes courtesy of the Night Times Industries Association

By Nick Reilly

Clubbers enjoy UK nightlife venues
The NTIA have pleaded with Johnson not to shutter nightlife on New Year's Eve. (Photo: Pexels)

A third of the UK’s nightlife firms fear the risk of closure within a month without receiving support from the government, a stark new survey warns.

The new report from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) comes amid a sharp rise in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant and accounts for a survey of 500 nightclubs, bars, pubs and hospitality venues.

According to the new research, one in five nightlife businesses fear losing their entire workforce, with many avoiding going out due to fresh fears over the variant and increasing infection rates.

Recent reports state that up to 40 per cent of music fans in the UK have decided not to attend gigs in the last few weeks, while one in five ticket holders avoided gigs entirely in 2021.

The NTIA’s new survey was conducted over the weekend (December 17-19) and showed that nighttime venues have lost an average of £46,000 each in sales over the festive period due to gig cancellations, while an additional 40 per cent drop in attendance has been noted at businesses that require COVID certificates for entry.

“It really is a chilling prospect to see so many venues in our sector left to bleed, with a lockdown in everything but name and absolutely no recognition of this from the Government,” NTIA boss Michael Kill said.

“These venues have faced over twenty months of financial hardship and the Christmas trade period was integral to keeping those surviving businesses afloat in the upcoming year.”

Kill added: “If further restrictions are to be implemented, the Chancellor must step in and recognise the huge damage that waves of cancellations, driven by mixed Government messaging, resource intensive Covid protocols and costly restrictions actually have.

“The Government have had twenty months to learn how our sector operates; it is beggars belief we stand here again, as if back in March 2020, imploring the Government to listen to us, to understand how businesses work and to realise that inaction is a death sentence for our industry. It really is a Cataclysmic Christmas.”

“Whilst shocking and upsetting, these latest stats don’t come as much surprise,” Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, added. “The industry have been unanimously calling on the Chancellor for both support and leadership. To date, our calls have fallen on deaf ears and for some, it is already too late. If the UK’s fifth biggest industry has any hope of survival, he must come forward, urgently.”

It is believed that the UK government could be set to announce fresh restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

According to The Guardian, this could include mandatory restrictions on household mixing, the return of social distancing, and forcing pubs and restaurants to close at 8pm.

A two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown is also believed to be a possibility.