As the clocks go back this weekend, London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé is encouraging Londoners and visitors to enjoy the longer nights and support our world-leading nightlife, as she urged Government to do more to help the culture and hospitality industries.
London has been roaring back this summer with more than one million additional tourists visiting the city in the three months to June, one million people attending live music shows in one week in July, and bumper cinema sales with Barbie and Oppenheimer.
In recent months London’s nightlife has been boosted BY the opening of Drumsheds in Tottenham, late-night licences for HERE and The Lower Third in Tottenham Court Road and extended hours for Electric Ballroom in Camden, and She Soho and Little Ku in Soho. The Institute of Contemporary Arts on The Mall has also adjusted its hours to attract later visitors.
The capital’s nightlife has been named a top strength compared to competitor cities, and, despite some changes in work patterns, Friday and Saturday nights remain the most popular nights of the week in central London with people travelling in for evenings out.
The Mayor’s Night Time Enterprise Zones have helped support the capital’s high streets with Bromley High Street seeing an increase in visitors of 127 per cent after 9pm during its range of events. Vauxhall has seen visitor numbers increase by 28 per cent for events, and Woolwich has seen footfall increase by 23 per cent across 10 events.
However, the hospitality industry is facing significant pressures including staff shortages, the spiralling costs of doing business, and concerns about insecure leases and licensing issues. That’s why as the sector’s golden quarter begins, London’s Night Czar is urging Ministers to do more to help businesses deal with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and ensure they can reap the benefits of these vital winter months into the new year – including scrapping VAT-free shopping to attract international visitors.
London’s Night Czar has also been supporting venues through the Mayor’s Culture and Community Spaces at Risk programme, cutting red tape through the Business Friendly Licensing Fund, working closely with the sector through roundtables and night surgeries across the capital, and encouraging more businesses and organisations to sign up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter.
There is a range of events to enjoy across the capital in the coming months as Londoners and visitors prepare to celebrate Halloween, bonfire night and Christmas. These include the Croydonites Festival, part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture programme, spectacular fireworks and light displays, ice rinks popping up at well-known locations including Battersea Power Station, the Southbank Centre Winter Festival and a host of Christmas markets. All these alongside the regular offer provided by London’s bars, pubs, restaurants and cultural venues.
London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé said: “London’s nightlife is the best in the world and as the clocks change this weekend I encourage Londoners and visitors to the capital to enjoy that extra hour and make the most of our longer winter nights. There are so many fantastic events and venues to experience, and I’m delighted that in recent months we’ve seen our capital roaring back from the impact of the pandemic. However, our nightlife, culture and hospitality industries are still facing significant challenges. We’re committed to doing all we can to provide our support as we build a more prosperous London for all, but we need Ministers to urgently step forward to provide the assistance so these vital businesses can reap the benefits of the vital ‘golden quarter’.”
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality Chief Executive, said: “The upturn in elements of London’s nightlife sector is great news, with new openings providing consumers with an even wider choice of social and entertainment venues to enjoy this winter. It is particularly heartening given the challenges that the hospitality sector continues to face, with inflation, energy prices and staff shortages causing a strain on businesses across the UK. We urge the Government to help maintain this momentum by relieving cost pressures through the extension of business rates relief and reviewing the rate of VAT for hospitality, which will spur further growth, the creation of jobs and investment in local communities.”