Those figures, as reported by the BBC, show that despite the billions of pounds of support offered to nightclubs and other such venues throughout the pandemic, there has been a steep decline in the number that have managed to survive.
In fact, the figures are the lowest on record, with the data showing there are some 1,130 nightclubs currently open in England, Scotland and Wales, which is down from 1,418 in March 2020.
The sector has struggled for more than a decade, and, in this instance, correlation is not exactly causation; yet the pandemic and consequent forced closure of many venues for long periods of time, no doubt intensified their decline.
Last year, an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Night Time Economy warned that “nightlife businesses face ‘extinction’ that will see urban centres become ‘ghost towns’”. Of the 20,000 people they surveyed within the sector, a worrying 85% of people said they were considering leaving the industry. (And given the report was released last year, many probably already have).
This becomes a wider concern when, by their own estimates, the nighttime economy (which consists of bars, nightclubs and live music venues) is worth some £66 billion to the economy as a whole. Its 1.3 million jobs, meanwhile, accounts for around 8% of the total workforce.
The ongoing cost-of-living crisis certainly won’t help either, as people tighten their purse strings and opt to stay in for cheaper entertainment. The one hope, you feel, is that like an irrepressible, dancing whack-a-mole, nightlife has a way of popping up in innovative ways when most under pressure.
That’s a hopeful sentiment, but one that won’t help the coffers of those in the industry.