Unlocking London’s night-time economy will deliver a £3bn boost to the capital and help protect London from the economic shock of Brexit, a new report has argued.
Research published today said the introduction of the Night Tube, along with a relaxation of licensing laws and other tweaks to help Londoners make the most of the capital around the clock would increase the city’s attractiveness as a hub for overseas businesses and could create 115,000 extra jobs.
Night-time industries in London already account for £41bn of direct and indirect economic output and support more than 1.25m jobs. The report, which was compiled by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for EY and business group London First, found this could rise to £43bn and 1.37m jobs by 2030 if London becomes “a truly 24-hour city”.
After 12 months of setbacks, the Night Tube is finally set to launch on Friday 19 August, letting passengers travel on the busiest bits of the underground network through the night on Fridays and Saturdays.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The Night Tube opening is a fantastic and exciting opportunity for London. It will unlock the full potential of London’s night-time economy and will be a huge driver in creating jobs and supporting hundreds of businesses in our city.”
Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce said the Night Tube is "important in terms of London's status as a world city. It's hard to say you're a world city when the Tube stops running at midnight or 1am.
"Your main, most famous form of transport not being 24 hours is a blow to your city's status. Post-Brexit we're going to have to fight as hard as possible to retain our position as the world's number one city. Therefore having a 24-hour Tube is a very good thing which will help us."
However, the report argued by limiting the Night Tube to just certain parts of the network and only on weekends, "this concentrates the benefits of the service on the important, but narrow range of accommodation, food and entertainment sectors.
|Industry||Night-time economic contribution|
|Logistics and deliveries||£7.8bn|
|Professional and financial services||£5.6bn|
|Health and social work||£5.4bn|
|Information and communications||£4.4bn|
|Accommodation and food||£2.4bn|
|Entertainment and recreation||£1.3bn|
While bars, restaurants, hotels and venues are seen as the frontline of London's night-time economy, a much more significant economic contribution comes from the logistics and deliveries sectors – which work through the night to supply businesses with goods to sell during the day – and the healthcare sector which has to operate around the clock.
The groups said: "To support the wide range of other businesses in London, the launch of the Night Tube must be part of a wider strategy to support the development of the 24-hour economy more generally.
London First's director of policy John Dickie said to super-charge the growth of London's economy he would like to see the city's infrastructure and planning laws adapt.
Citing rules around restrictions on delivery times which clog up London's roads in the morning and evening rush hours, he said: "There's a sense of London being held back by restrictions which made sense in the 1950s but don't really make sense in the 21st century".
Dickie added: "In Singapore there are banks that trade on the same hours in London. Maybe we could have a financial services sector that works longer and different shifts. To do that you need to provide 24-hour transport and you need to ensure licensing terms, not just for pubs and clubs, but sandwich bars and shops, allow them to be open then."
"London is arguably only catching up some international competitors in its support for the night-time economy," the report claimed. "If it is to keep pace and, more importantly, if it is see the full potential of a 24-hour economy, the Night Tube must be just the start of our journey."