London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, has called for urgent support to help the capital’s high streets after 6pm as she brings together leaders and decision makers from across the city to help plan for the future of the capital’s life at night.
London’s 6pm – 6am industries suffered greatly from the impact of the pandemic and restrictions, and now the spiralling cost of living and business costs are putting more businesses under threat.
Today the Night Czar used a speech at the London At Night Conference to urge Government to support these vital businesses with cuts in VAT for hospitality businesses, extending the 50 per cent business rate relief for retail, culture, leisure, and hospitality sectors for a further year and greater support for SME’s with energy costs to enable them to help drive London’s economic recovery.
It comes following new research published in January 2023 showing that the number of Londoners working evenings and nights had fallen to 1.4m before the cost of living and energy bills crisis hit. The hospitality sector, where more than half of workers typically work evenings and nights, has seen a 27 per cent fall in those working during these hours in the last five years.*
The London at Night conference, at Woolwich Works and supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, will recognise recent challenges and change, plan to harness future opportunities and unlock the potential of London’s high streets at night, and draw on expert insights from the all aspects of life at night, from transport and infrastructure, to culture and communities, and safety and sustainability. The conference will see leaders and decision makers from across London look at all aspects of the capital at night and consider what more can be done to support businesses and create a fair, diverse and sustainable 24-hour city.
There will be keynote speeches from the Night Czar and Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of Greenwich Council. Panel discussions with feature contributions from Nick Bowes, Centre for London, Ojay McDonald, Association of Town and City Management, Victoria Hills, Royal Town Planning Institute, Charlie Dark, Run Dem Crew, Rosie Ferguson, House of St Barnabas, and Emily Robinson, London Sport.
The Mayor remains determined to do all he can to make London a fair, inclusive and sustainable 24-hour city. This includes creating three Night Time Enterprise Zones, a £500,000 programme helping to boost Bromley, Woolwich and Vauxhall after dark, introducing the first-of-its-kind Women’s Night Safety Charter, which has been signed by more than 1,000 councils, businesses and venues to prioritise women’s safety at night, producing world-leading guidance for councils to develop Night Time Strategies and offering evidence and insight through the Night Time Data Observatory to help decision making. The Culture and Community Spaces at Risk programme is also providing dedicated advice and guidance for the most at risk night time spaces, including grassroots live music and LGBTQI+ venues.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Our night time businesses are hugely important to London’s economic recovery and have had an incredibly tough couple of years as a direct result of the pandemic and are now struggling with the cost of living crisis. It is vital that Government steps forward and provides the support needed to ensure that our high streets at night can help drive forward our economic recovery. I’m proud that London has taken the lead in creating opportunities for local businesses and high streets to flourish after 6pm with initiatives such as my Night Time Enterprise Zones and am committed to doing all I can to help all aspects of our nightlife flourish as we build a better and more prosperous London for everyone.
London Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said:
“The prosperity of London’s night time businesses and industries has never been more crucial than right now. Our 6pm to 6am businesses face a monumental challenge and urgent Government support is essential to ensuring that these businesses can play the necessary key roles in driving forward London’s economic and social recovery. I am so proud to host the first London at Night Conference and to bring together leaders from the across the capital as we put life at night is at the heart of our all plans to build a fair, inclusive and sustainable 24-hour city.”