The UK clubbing scene is on the brink of “extinction” with the vast majority of venues unlikely to survive past the end of the month without government support, the industry has warned.
A damning report released by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) today laid bare the devastating impact of the pandemic on British nightclubs, which have been closed since March.
A survey of 100 clubs revealed that half of venues are in more than three months’ rent arrears, while roughly two-thirds had made 60 per cent of their workforce redundant by the end of 2020.
Just over 80 per cent of clubs said they would not survive past February without further government support.
The NTIA blamed the government for failing to provide adequate support, with 43 per cent of the clubs surveyed saying they had received no financial support from the state.
The industry lobby group also complained of a lack of a clear timetable for reopening and proposed changes to planning laws that would allow landlords to convert clubs into housing.
“We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution, the government has ignored the sector and failed to recognise its economic and cultural value,” said NTIA chief executive Michael Kill.
“The government needs to support nightclubs and late night venues with a robust financial package and which is tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March and a roadmap giving a clear indication of the timelines for re opening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt.”
Some London clubs, such as Fabric, Printworks and Columbo, which owns Jazz Cafe, Phonox and XOYO, last year received funding through the £1.57bn cultural recovery fund.
But other venues, including King’s Cross favourite Egg, were excluded from the support.
“The importance of nightlife is a pivotal part for all generations and the culture of the UK but the government is not giving enough to support our venues, brands and promoters,” said Egg owner Hans Hess.
“So, Boris Johnson, come on do the right thing and show your commitment to help the nightlife industry.”
Nightclub operator Deltic, which owns brands such as Pryzm and Atik, was saved from collapse in December after it was bought out by Danish group Rekom.
The deal is expected to save more than 1,300 jobs, though roughly 10 Deltic venues are still set to close.
“We understand these are extremely challenging circumstances for businesses, particularly nightclubs. The current restrictions are essential so we can control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives,” a government spokesperson said.
“We have put in place one of the most comprehensive and generous packages of business support in the world, worth £280bn.”