The #SaveNightclubs campaign has written to the UK prime minister asking for a financial package to prevent a ‘devastating tsunami of job losses’.
Nightclubs in the UK have now been closed for eight months due to the pandemic with no confirmed reopening date, while bars and pubs have been allowed to reopen since the first lockdown.
The #SaveNightclubs campaign is a nationwide coalition that represents more than 100 nightclubs and thousands of staff.
The nightclub industry generates £3 billion (US$3.9bn) a year in income for the UK economy. The sector also employs around 45,000 people, with 72% of workers under the age of 25.
The campaign group has written an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson to urge the government to ‘act now or permanently lose the country’s nightclub industry and the enormous economic contribution it makes to the UK’.
The letter said that these venues are likely to be closed for an entire year, evidenced by the second lockdown and the extension of the furlough scheme until March 2021.
The letter read: “Unlike hospitality and gyms who were able to trade over the summer months, we have not been able to open at all resulting in zero revenue since March.
“Venues are facing mounting rent bills, ongoing running costs and the prospect of business rates in April 2021. We urge the government to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses, a wipe out of future economic contributions and further ruin to towns and cities across the UK which are already on their knees.”
The letter said that more than 70% of people working in nightclubs are self-employed, and therefore, could not receive furlough pay due to their ineligibility.
A survey by the campaign group found that four in five nightclubs (81%) will be shut by Christmas unless the government urgently intervenes.
As such, the group is urging the government to provide a financial survival package beyond the Recovery Fund to help the sector deal with the impact of the pandemic and assist in future reopening.
Furthermore, the letter asked the government to introduce protection from eviction for nightclubs during and immediately after the crisis, and extend business rate relief to April 2022.
The letter was supported by a number of nightclubs including Libertine, Cirque, Mahiki, and Sanctuary, and trade group the Night Time Industries Association.
In August this year, trade body UK Hospitality called on the government to provide urgent clarity on the reopening of nightclubs and offer financial support to prevent the loss of thousands of jobs.
Last month, the owner of London-based nightclub operator GAY launched a legal battle against the UK government’s 10pm hospitality curfew.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers