Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) boss Michael Kill has raised fears the UK nightclub scene could become extinct in UK without a roadmap for reopening amid growing financial pressures.
NTIA CEO Kill said the current financial provisions available are either substantially less than the required operating costs of these venues, or the businesses do not fit the criteria.
“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," he said. "We are a world leader in electronic music and UK clubs have been a breeding ground for contemporary music talent events and DJs for decades. Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our culture sector and are renowned globally.
“The club scene is fighting to survive, we want the children of today to have careers and opportunities within the sector, but also be able to experience an industry that is a huge part of British culture and heritage spanning decades. Nightclubs are continually excluded from many of funding provisions and fears are growing for their future as we have yet to see a roadmap or exit strategy which directly related to these types of businesses.
“We're also fighting against a tide of misconception, with key operators like Deltic Group, Revolutions Group, some of the biggest late bar and nightclub owners in the country in financial difficulty, the government needs to intervene.
“Many of the independent nightclubs echo a similar position, we are already seeing hundreds of nightclubs being squeezed out of the marketplace and on top of that thousands of redundancies which came way before the furlough scheme extended."
We need a roadmap or a direction of travel so that businesses can plan financially and communicate with their workforce
Michael Kill, NTIA
Nightclubs have been closed since March 2020 and have been surviving on loans and furlough, while G-A-Y owner Jeremy Joseph has already launched legal action over the government's 10pm curfew. Pre-Covid there were more than 1,400 nightclubs across the UK, but these numbers are reducing "daily", according to the NTIA.
"The government needs to support nightclubs with a robust financial package which is tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March," added Kill. "We need a roadmap or a direction of travel so that businesses can plan financially and communicate with their workforce, and we need a solution for commercial rent, as many are already overburdened with debt.
“We are already seeing a huge rise in illegal parties in abandoned warehouses across the UK, people are desperate to socially engage, and our sector are desperate to support the government by delivering Covid Safe environments to stem the increase in illegal unsafe parties, placing additional pressure on Police and emergency service.”