Quarter of UK bars and clubs will go bust without government help

·Contributor
·4 min read
The survey further revealed that 54% of businesses have spent over £15,000 in preparation for reopening on 21 June already and 17.8% have spent over £40,000. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters
The survey further revealed that 54% of businesses have spent over £15,000 in preparation for reopening on 21 June already and 17.8% have spent over £40,000. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

One in four UK night-time businesses, which include bars and nightclubs, will not survive longer than a month without further government support, ministers have been warned.

According to a flash survey from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), this jumps to 50% of firms going bust within two months without fresh funding.

The NTIA said on Monday that a government decision to delay stage four of prime minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown will “decimate” the night-time economy.

“Businesses remain resilient but cannot hide the devastation a decision to delay will have on the sector, leaving many businesses, employees and freelancers on a financial cliff edge,” it said.

The survey further revealed that 54% of businesses have spent over £15,000 ($21,142) in preparation for reopening on 21 June already and 17.8% have spent over £40,000.

Watch: Boris Johnson faces Tory backlash as lockdown lifting put on hold

A fifth of businesses estimate they will lose over £40,000 per week in revenue whilst restricted from trading, or closed due to the delay in the 21 June easing of lockdown, while 58% of firms estimate they will lose more than £10,000 per week.

In addition to this, some 33% of businesses estimate they will lose over 30% of their workforce due to the reopening delay.

Read more: Freedom day delay: Airline stocks dive as UK businesses demand fresh emergency support

Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to confirm a delay to the planned unlocking of the UK economy on 21 June at a news conference on Monday evening.

It comes amid rising cases of the Delta variant in Britain, which was first identified in India.

Over the weekend, new data confirmed that more than 90% of COVID cases in the UK are now down to the Delta strain, as the total number of cases passed 42,000, Public Health England (PHE) said.

The PHE report further revealed that cases of the virus are doubling between every 4.5 and 11.5 days, depending on the region of England, and that it has about a 60% increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha variant, which was first detected in Kent.

“We should not underestimate the importance of the 21 June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they should be given back there opportunity to trade, regain their livelihoods, careers, social well being and the day that the government is due to give culture back to the UK,” said Michael Kill, NTIA chief executive.

“Many of these businesses and individuals have adapted, overcome and survived for an exceptional length of time with the bare bones of support, and have arrived at this opportunity to find that it could be ripped away from them.”

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?

Read more: MPs launch inquiry on the impact of COVID-19 on British nightlife

He added: “The government must understand the human impact of this decision, not only considering the public health challenges of the virus but also the people within our sector who are suffering terribly and the real health risks that this represents, given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination rollout, and the ability for the sector to deliver COVID safe environments.”

“Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, as businesses are left to fall, any decision to delay without clarity on when they can open will leave us no other option but to challenge the government, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening for an extreme length of time, through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.”

The NTIA have called on the government for an extension to business rate relief, and the moratorium on evictions on firms in rent arrears (with an estimated £2.5bn owed to landlords).

The group also wants an extension of the “restriction grant” to firms unable to open due to COVID-19 rules, and the holiday on repayments on pandemic support loans.

It has also urged the government to extend the temporary 5% reduced VAT rate on hospitality to help firms recover. This is due to rise to 12.5% at the end of September.

Watch: 'Prime Minister weighing up lockdown easing delay'

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