More than 80% of nightclubs will not survive past February without further government support, experts have warned.
Research by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) found that of 100 nightclubs, 81% said they will not survive past February unless the government increases financial support for the sector.
The research also showed 43% of nightclubs received no grants from the government and 85% of nightclubs have had to make redundancies, 65% of which have made 60% of their staff redundant.
NTIA CEO, Mike Kill said: “We are a world leader in electronic music and clubs.
“Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our culture sector and are renowned globally.
“Throughout this pandemic and the restrictive measures levied against the sector, it is clear that these businesses are being systematically eradicated from society.”
Most nightclubs and late night venues have been closed for 11 months and suffered extreme financial hardship during the pandemic.
The NTIA said the limited and hugely disproportionate funding for the sector, outside of furlough, is a key factor in why there will be widespread club closures in 2021.
Other factors the NTIA cite include the difficulty many venues face in accessing finance from financial institutions and proposed changes to planning laws that will see venues converted into housing.
If changes to planning laws go ahead, “vacant and redundant” light industrial buildings can be demolished and rebuilt as homes.
March could see landlords reclaim their property and use these laws to convert nightclubs and late night venues into housing.
Given how many venues have entered 2021 with rent arrears, the NTIA has warned this is a very substantial threat.
Manchester DJ and musician, DJ Paulette, said: “Since March 2020, the arts and events sector – that contributes billions each year to the UK economy and has immeasurable value in terms of its societal and social and mental health benefits – has been unable to operate to any effective level and unable to offer anyone the right to stay, the right to play, the right to work or somewhere to go, placing brutal pressure on the commercial landscape.
“Whilst rents and taxes continue to cripple businesses, this situation is reaching critical mass.
“A watertight rescue package is needed in order to support and restore the sector and to help it to return to world-beating form.”
DJs, musicians, promoters, and club owners across the UK have expressed their dismay at the current situation.
DJ Graeme Park, a key founder of the UK’s rave scene, said: “It is highly frustrating and disappointing that the Government continue to ignore and dismiss the valuable contribution that nightclubs have on society and the economy.
“The cultural significance of this vibrant and varied sector has given employment to many for decades and now faces an uncertain future.
“We need the government to enter into meaningful discussion to help support a sector that is recognised around the world for its creativity before it’s too late.”
Hann Hess, from London’s Egg club said: “When things go back to normal there won’t be any brands, venues or promoters left to help us through the times, to lift the spirits of our nation, without support from the government.
“Because one thing is for sure, when we do open people won’t be able to wait to go and dance and socialise with friends and family.”
Many in the industry state the closure of nightclubs will have disastrous effects on the local economies as taxi services, restaurants, bars, hotels, salons and clothes shops all benefit from nightclubs and late night venues.
Promoter Laila Mckenzie, said: “Without venues so many other businesses will be lost, it’s not just the night time economy that will suffer, losing venues will have a domino effect.”
Kill explained what is needed for nightclubs and late night venues to survive, he said: “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 reopening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt.”