31 per cent of UK nightclubs closed last year, as industry demands government action

Aprilia Rine

31 per cent of UK nightclubs closed last year, as industry demands government action
com com com com com com com

There has been a push for government action, following new statistics revealing that around 31 per cent of nightclubs in the UK were forced to close last year.

The update on the escalating crisis facing nightclubs and other music venues across the UK was shared by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which issued a pressing call for immediate government action.

In the statistics, it was revealed that there was a “profound and systematic marginalisation of the nightclub sector”, which poses a threat to the “vitality of our cultural landscape”.

Advertisement

Between March 2020 and December 2023, 396 nightclubs were forced to close permanently across the UK – a devastating blow accounting for 31% of the total businesses within the country. Similarly recent data from December 2020-2023 highlighted a continuous downward spiral, with an average of ten closures per month and two per week.

There was also a notable disparity in the types of businesses affected: with tenanted businesses declining from 225 to 193 between December 2020 and December 2023 and managed businesses going down from 37 to 29 during the same period.

It was free businesses that were most heavily affected though, closing down 312 businesses during this time. The number of businesses dividend from 941 to 629 – equivalent to 33 per cent of the market.

“The closure of nightclubs transcends mere economic repercussions; it represents a cultural crisis endangering the vibrancy and diversity of our nightlife. Nightclubs serve as vital hubs of social interaction, artistic expression, and community cohesion, making their preservation imperative,” the NTIA said of the findings.

Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee of Gurr perform at Brudenell Social Club on April 10, 2018 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Andrew Benge/Redferns/Getty Images)

“While the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges, the systematic closure of nightclubs cannot be solely attributed to COVID-19’s impact. It reflects years of neglect, burdensome regulations, and insufficient governmental support.

“In light of this urgent situation, the NTIA demands that the government takes immediate action to provide financial relief to struggling nightclubs. Central to this relief is the imperative for the government to reduce VAT to 12.5 per cent across the board, failing which further closures across the sector are inevitable.”

Advertisement

The recent report follows claims by the NTIA back in March, which saw the association claim that the UK government was “intentionally” closing down nightclubs and venues across the country, as it saw the nightlife sector as “a burden on policing and local government”.

Similarly, in August the association shared that over 100 independent nightclubs across the UK have been forced to close down over the past year.

The strain put on local music spaces across the UK is by no means a new issue. Back in January last year, it was shared that one-third of UK nightclubs closed by the end of 2022, and the problem would continue to worsen without government intervention.

Live music venue filled with a crowd of people.
Live music venue filled with a crowd of people. CREDIT: Credit: janiecbros/Getty Images

More recently, last month the results were shared for 2023 – revealing a “disaster” that hit grassroots music venues across the 12 months.

Among the key findings into their “most challenging year”, it has been reported that last year saw 125 UK venues abandon live music and that over half of them had shut entirely – including the legendary Moles in Bath. Some of the more pressing constraints were reported as soaring energy prices, landlords increasing rate amounts, supply costs, business rates, licensing issues, noise complaints and the continuing shockwaves of COVID-19.

Overall, it was found that venues’ rent had increased by 37.5 per cent, with them operating at an average profit margin of just 0.5 per cent.

SOURCE

Leave a Comment