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The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has accused the UK government of “intentionally closing dancefloors”, as a number of financial support schemes come to an end.
Tomorrow (April 1) marks the end of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for hospitality businesses, which is expected to hit nightlife businesses hard amid the continuing cost of living crisis.
Alongside the end of the scheme, which currently caps energy at 21p per kwh, venues will also have to grapple with a rise in the National Minimum wage from £9.50 an hour to £10.42 an hour (an increase of 92p) while the current freeze on Alcohol Duty will also end tomorrow.
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“Nightclubs are a British institution,” says NTIA CEO Michael Kill. “[They are] a bridge for many consumers to counter culture, a platform for artists new and old to perform and access audiences, for people to dance and socialize, supporting their physical, social and mental well being.”
“The current Government has never recognised the value of this sector, and will continue to undermine its importance, as it did in the late 80’s when the scene came together to fight for the ‘Freedom to Dance.’”
“Our European counterparts work hard to recognise the value and importance of clubs and venues and lead the way in support and true collaboration. While the UK sees one of its greatest exports as a burden on Policing and local Government,” he continued.
“Over the coming months, we will see the impacts of Government inaction take hold, and many important night time economy businesses will be lost. Intentionally shutting down our dancefloors, Ignoring the immediate issue and accepting the losses is not an acceptable approach, and will have a considerable impact on the future of the sector, but will not be forgotten.”
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“It is inevitable that we will see a growing anger and frustration amongst the industry and supporters to take direct action, and we will be standing with them.”
As part of a recent feature in Mixmag’s Cost of Living Series detailing the impact of the current economic crisis on nightclubs and promoters, Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd had shared concerns over the “April crunch point.”
“It looks like 18-20 venues will probably close before then If nothing is done about energy bills,” he said. “The average profit margin in the sector currently is 0.2%, energy prices only have to go up by around £500-£1000 and they will all be making a loss.”
Davyd has also highlighted the potential fallout of the rise of minimum wage, commenting that the rise “should happen” but ” in this sector, where so many people are working on minimum wage, where that is going to come from is troubling.“
Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins