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First reported by The Spectator, her salary has risen from £83,169 a year pro-rata, to £116,925, as a result of two pay bumps – one in September 2021 following a review of her role, and another in April 2022, which came as part of the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) annual salary increase.
Her hire in November 2016 was much-celebrated at the time, with her role involving “championing London’s nightlife both in the UK and internationally, including safeguarding venues across the city”, according to the GLA’s own website.
However, she has faced scrutiny during her tenure from some within the industry — particularly as venues struggled during pandemic lockdowns, and now the cost of living crisis affecting running costs and revenues.
The latest figures from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), dated from June 2022, show a 37% fall (346 to 221) in the number of nightclubs in the capital since December 2016, when Lamé was a month into the job.
Michael Kill, the CEO of the NTIA told Mixmag: “In the current landscape, where the industry is in crisis, and night time economy (NTE) businesses and jobs are being lost across the country due to inflationary pressures, industrial action and the downturn in trade due to consumers having less disposable income, it is inevitable if this is true, that many will find this news extremely hard to accept.
“However, we know that NTE Advisors have hugely important roles to play in supporting the sector across the country, and as an organisation will continue to campaign for these roles to be implemented in every major city across the UK,” he continued.
Responding to the reports of her pay increase, a spokesperson for the Mayor of London explained that the pay increase was decided independently of the Mayor’s office, and came following a review of the Night Czar’s responsibilities, which were deemed to have expanded since the previous review. The full statement can be read at the bottom of the article.
One much-discussed part of Lamé’s role has been the introduction of ‘Night Surgeries’, where she meets with Londoners to discuss their experiences of night life in the capital.
But, as The Spectator reported, on the GLA’s website only 27 previous surgeries have been listed since beginning her role in November 2016 – an average of one every two and a half months. No surgeries have been reported since March 24, 2022 – nearly 10 months ago.
Read this next: 10 ways the Night Czar can improve London clubbing
When asked about the seeming lack of Night Surgeries, the spokesperson told Mixmag: “The Night Czar speaks with businesses, organisations, boroughs and Londoners every single day as part of her role to help London thrive between 6:PM and 6:AM. This includes regular meetings and roundtables with business groups, councils and industry associations covering all aspects of the capital at night, from support for the pub sector and music venues, to safety, transport, policy and planning issues.
“Night Surgeries are organised together with local authorities to meet resident and community groups, businesses, councillors, night workers and volunteers to hear their views and the challenges they are facing across all aspects of London at night. The surgeries are a small but important part of Amy’s work, and that is why she has organised more night surgeries in 2022 than any previous year.
“She will continue to hold in-person and online surgeries as part of her wider work to support the capital at night and deal with the pressures facing the industry following the impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.”
In July 2020, as clubs were closed due to pandemic restrictions, a petition was launched to remove Lamé from her post, which gathered over 1,000 signatures.
She has had her share of successes, with the GLA pointing out the launch of the Women’s Night Safety Charter, being involved in the recent launch of the £500,000 Night Time Enterprise Zones scheme, as well as working with the Metropolitan Police to scrap Form 696 – a discriminatory risk assessment form that required promoters to disclose the ethnicity of their artists.
Yet her overall record has faced criticism from members of the nightlife community. Producer Karistocat tweeted: “sorry but wtf has amy lame done apart from save the venues she personally DJs at? She’s done absolutely f-all for the capitals night life, and was absent during covid.”
Music journalist Chal Ravens wrote: “congratulations to Night Czar Amy Lame on her 40% pay rise. and she didn’t even have to strike for it!”
Read the full statement from the GLA below:
“The Night Czar’s job description was independently reviewed to better reflect the responsibilities of the role, as part of a restructure of the Mayor’s office. The post was then graded using the GLA’s usual independent process, from a grade 13 to 15.
“The Night Czar is responsible for helping London to thrive between 6pm and 6am as part of the Mayor’s work to build a safer and more prosperous London for everyone. This includes advising the Mayor, Deputy Mayors and Mayoral Advisors on all areas of policy and planning which impact on London at night, championing London’s nightlife as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic and the 1.6m Londoners who work evenings and nights, standing-up for venues, working with partners across the capital to improve night time initiatives across the city, and helping to put women’s safety at the heart of night time organisations.”
Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins