10PM Curfew ‘Catastrophic’ For UK Night Time Businesses
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images – People make their way home from Soho, London, following the 10 p.m. curfew imposed on the country.
The picture was taken on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 10:06 p.m.
As predicted by professionals working in the night time sector, the 10 p.m. curfew recently introduced by the UK government is having devastating economic impact.
Feedback gathered by the UK’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) in the days after the curfew came into effect on Sept. 24, confirms what the professionals working in the night time economy have always known and warned about: that it would be extremely harmful to introduce a curfew, which coincides with these businesses’ most lucrative hours.
More than 300 Night Time Economy (NTE) businesses operating on the Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24-25, after the curfew became effective, reported “a catastrophic drop in trade, showing on average 62% down on previous weeks,” according to NTIA figures.
This drop is “believed to be solely due to the implementation of the new restrictions,” according to the association.
Even when the curfew was still only a matter of political discussion, the UK’s Music Venue Trust issued the following statement: “Closing night-time economy spaces is a serious measure with very significant impacts upon people’s businesses, jobs and livelihoods. Closing them during their most economically rewarding hours, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., is an equally serious measure which will have precisely the same impacts.”
It also asked for scientific evidence for why a 10 p.m. curfew was required.
It chimes with the latest statement from NTIA CEO Michael Kill, who said, “we are yet to see the scientific evidence to substantiate the decision to implement this and we feel the sector has been unfairly targeted.”
According to the NTIA, “The night-time economy has been totally disregarded by government policy. The government narrative has delivered empty promises and left us an industry in exile.
“Debt terms have been driven further down the road for a sector that is already overburdened financially, with many of our members languishing in up to three quarters of commercial rent arrears with no certainty on whether they can pay this.
“It is simply not good enough to allow much loved entertainment, cultural and social institutions in an industry that, pre Covid, employed over 1.3 million and contributed £66 billion per year to the UK economy to disappear with all the corporate and personal pain that causes.
“At some point these businesses will have to draw a line and will be forced to make a decision on the future of their businesses and their workforce.”