The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has announced the official launch of ‘Darkest Before the Dawn”, its 2024 Night Time Economy Manifesto. Written by Philip Kolvin KC in collaboration with key stakeholders, the manifesto is the first of its kind in the UK, and signifies a milestone in NTIA’s advocacy for a thriving and secure night time economy throughout the United Kingdom.
NTIA’s manifesto is an all-encompassing roadmap, containing 44 recommendations to fortify the nighttime industry within towns, cities and regions across the UK. It urges policy makers at national and local level to adopt cohesive strategies to protect and foster the night time economy, for the benefit of residents, visitors, workers and businesses. This blueprint is the culmination of research, dialogue with stakeholders and the invaluable expertise of Philip Kolvin KC, a distinguished legal authority and writer in the fields of licensing and the night time economy.
The manifesto requires policy-makers to measure up to the systemic challenges faced by independent businesses in the nighttime industry and the wider cultural landscape, from rising business rates, high levels of VAT, crippling energy costs, commodity prices, labour shortages and reduction in consumer spending power.
Data from CGA Neilson shows that free tenure outlets in the Night Time Economy have reduced by 8.2% in the year to March 2023. The decline is repeated across all regions. For example, CGA’s data shows that Birmingham has seen a 12.6% decrease in outlets since the start of Covid in 2020, Leicester 13.7% and the Central regions 7.1%. Even these falls mask a cliff edge now faced by the independent sector, particularly music venues, nightclubs, LGBT venues and community pubs, with closures continuing to accelerate, threatening the nation’s grassroots cultural base.
The evidence underscores the urgent need for direct action to prevent a catastrophic downturn in the nighttime economy, and to ensure the continued vibrancy of our cultural landscape. The Night Time Industries Association, in collaboration with its partners, is committed to addressing these challenges and advancing the principles outlined in the Night Time Economy Manifesto 2024. By doing so, it aspires to illuminate the path forward in these dark times, and to secure a brighter, more resilient future for the nighttime industry and the communities it serves.
Philip Kolvin KC, emphasized the crucial role of the nighttime industry: “Pubs, nightclubs, and music venues are the bedrock of popular culture, particularly for young people, but for many years have been closing at an unsustainable rate. The financial challenges they now face often appear overwhelming. Darkness before the Dawn advocates a paradigm shift, requiring policymakers to view the night time economy as a social good to be celebrated and protected, and not just regulated. It shows how a strategic, systematic, and creative approach to governance of the sector will help to drive its revival for the economic and cultural benefit of the nation.”
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, underscored the significance of this manifesto, saying, “The Night Time Economy Manifesto represents a pivotal moment in the history of our industry. It showcases the vital role our nighttime businesses can play in shaping both national and local night time economy strategy. This work is of paramount importance, and its implementation will not only revitalize our nighttime businesses but also enrich the cultural and economic fabric of our nation.”
Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, offered strong support for the manifesto, stating, “Coming out of the pandemic, the NTIA has consistently been the leading voice for the night time industry recovery. This manifesto should be treated as the bible for our industry. For the first time ever, a document has been compiled by industry leaders to help both form and create the industry’s future. I’d strongly urge politicians from all parties, local authorities and decision makers not only to read this manifesto but to adopt it.”
Link to Manifesto 2024: