Greater Manchester has released a new plan for supporting businesses in the city-region’s night-time economy to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on trading.
Released by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Mayor Andy Burnham and the city-region’s night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, the blueprint details for priorities for local government support for the sector. Focuses will include lobbying of central government on the industry’s behalf, support for businesses to adapt and diversify in new trading conditions, and mental health support for workers in the sector.
The night-time economy supports 33% of Greater Manchester’s workforce, and over the last 20 years growth in the sector has outpaced the wider economy in the city-region, however, workers are disproportionately low-paid compared to the wider economy. The sector has also been disproportionately hit by Covid-19 restrictions, with 90% of night-time businesses closed during lockdown, and a larger proportion of jobs in Greater Manchester are in ‘shut-down’ sectors compared to other UK regions.
As a result, by April 2021, Sacha Lord has set out plans to open a Night Time Economy Office to signpost employers and workers in the sector to support, as well as launch a new campaign to promote the diversification of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafés across the city-region.
Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser, said:
Not many would argue against the fact that hospitality has been one of, if not the, hardest hit sectors [by Covid-19], having to adapt, week by week, sometimes in a matter of hours, to new rules and guidelines and fluctuating customer confidence. The sector has faced serious challenges since March, with large sections still shut, without a road map for re-opening. It is going to be an extremely dark few months ahead and we will and already have seen many closures and redundancies.
“This sector is resilient. Greater Manchester is resilient. We will come out of this, with the sector greatly reduced and looking significantly different. Now is the time to come together and look and plan forward. It’s time to look forward to rebuilding on our previous strengths. Build on what we’ve already achieved and learn from previous mistakes.
“Now is the time to start planning, so that when we do return to normality, and we will, that we bounce back bigger, better and bolder than before.”
The full plan can be accessed online here.