The UK’s night time economy crisis deepens, with recent figures from CGA NeilsonIQ released by the NTIA highlighting the rapid erosion of independent businesses, painting a grim picture of the challenges faced by businesses across the sector in the last 12 months.
The year-on-year statistics underscore the dire need for government intervention to save these vital establishments. Leading industry voices are now urgently calling for an extension of business rates relief and a reduction of VAT to 12.5% to provide financial lifelines for struggling businesses.
NTIA figures produced by CGA powered by NeilsonIQ shows that last month, there are 35,469 independent businesses operating within the night time economy, a sharp decrease from the number of businesses in 2020 at 41,596 – with a staggering 5% decline in just the past year.
Independant night time economy businesses are vanishing at a rate of 35 businesses per week, with 1825 lost in the 12 months leading to September 2023.
The decline in independent businesses within the night time economy started in 2020, with a 7% reduction compared to 2021. Since then, the decline has continued at an alarming pace, with an additional 3% decrease between 2021 – 22, and a further 5% in the last year leaving communities bereft of cherished businesses.
A total of 6127 Independant businesses have been lost between September 2020 and September 2023 and the total number of outlets in the Night Time Economy decreased from 70,826 in September 2022 to 68,583 in September 2023, a 3% decline.
The NTIA have said that Night Time Economy businesses are vanishing at a rate of 43 businesses per week, with 2243 lost in the 12 months leading to September 2023, with a total of 8501 Night Time Economy businesses lost between 2020-2023
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said, “These figures are not just numbers; they represent the livelihoods, dreams, and cultural heritage of our communities.
“The night time economy, which includes a thriving ecosystem of independent businesses, has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and cost inflation. The decline in independent businesses is a stark indicator of the immense challenges faced by those who contribute to the vibrancy and soul of our nighttime culture.
“We urgently call upon the government to recognise the gravity of the situation. As we approach the autumn budget, we implore them to provide proportionate support that will safeguard the future of these independent businesses. The night time economy is an essential part of our national identity, and it is at risk of fading into the shadows without immediate intervention.”
“To secure the survival of these vital businesses, we urge the government to extend the current business rates relief and reduce the VAT to 12.5%. These measures are the financial lifelines that independent businesses and the night time economy desperately need to weather this storm.”
To reverse this alarming trend, it is imperative that the Government intervenes with support in the Autumn budget and we come together as communities to support and uplift our local, independent businesses within the night time economy.
The survival and success of these businesses are vital to the resilience and uniqueness of our high streets and neighbourhoods, and they require immediate attention and support.