Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord have unveiled their night-time economy blueprint.
The blueprint details the priorities and changes to be implemented by April 2020 across safety, transport and cultural diversity within the sector. The proposals follow a series of consultations that Sacha Lord has held across Greater Manchester with workers, customers, operators, local authorities and other key stakeholders.
The night-time economy, which covers all activity between 6am and 6pm, including leisure, transport, social care and emergency services, is the fifth biggest industry in the UK employing nearly 10 per cent of the nation’s workforce. Greater Manchester alone has around 414,000 employees working between the hours of 6pm and 6am.
Key priorities outlined in the blueprint, to be met by April 2020, include:
- Enhanced safety measures for customers, artists and employees including the implementation of at least one permanent Safety Haven across Greater Manchester.
- The pilot development of night-time transport links, taking reference from London’s 24/7 night tube.
- The development of later opening hours across cultural organisations, cafes, shops and restaurants for greater accessibility and opportunities for families, under 18s or those who don’t drink.
- Further progression of the MappingGM facility as an online resource to connect tourists, visitors and residents with the later offering opportunities across Greater Manchester.
- A voluntary Operators Standard to ensure employees have a safe, supportive and fair working environment, including best practice guidelines concerning wages and tipping.
- A business advisory service for those wanting expert advice on starting, scaling or relocating a night-time business to Greater Manchester.
- Greater improvement to the provision of mental health and wellbeing support for night time businesses and their employees.
- Deeper research into the skills issues facing individuals and employers in Greater Manchester’s night-time economy in order to further implement changes and eradicate skills gaps.
Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord said: “As the traditional model of a retail-driven high street is failing, the night-time economy is a powerful tool for the revitalisation of our region. Since 2001, employment in the night-time economy has grown 45 per cent faster than the rest of the Greater Manchester economy, proving it plays a critical part of the growth and leading status of our city.”
“We want to ensure that there is a thriving night time offer across all of our communities, towns, city centres and high streets in Greater Manchester; an offer that is distinctive and reflective of our place, driving a unique visitor experience for international tourists, national visitors and residents.”
“These plans will not only serve the countless businesses, restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural organisations operating in the region, but also the hundreds of thousands of employees - both to support their career paths and mitigate issues, from wage discrimination, staff safety and reduced transport options, to poor physical and mental health.”
“While we are proud of the work we will be doing over the next 12 months, these initiatives are just the beginning of our work to engage and regenerate with the night-time economy, and drive our vision for a truly 24-hour city region.”
Speaking at Friday’s meeting of the Combined Authority in Oldham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I'd like to thank our Night-Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, for the huge amount of work that he has been putting in over the last year. Thank you to your Panel as well – you are focusing on a workforce that doesn't often get the attention that they need. It is great to hear about your intentions on the Good Employment Charter.
“We’ve seen the turnaround in towns like Altrincham, and many of our towns have further potential. We are beginning to turn around perceptions of our towns, a big challenge I have set for Greater Manchester devolution: can it be good for our towns as well as our two cities? There is growing evidence that it is indeed possible, and this is a strong blueprint.”
The report received further praise from local authority Councillors and Leaders at the Oldham meeting - Councillor David Molyneux from Wigan said: “You cannot underestimate the power of culture in terms of regenerating our town centres. We've seen that from what we have just done in Wigan with the recent Fire Within Festival and the footfall that increased in the local area. It is a massive part of what we need to revitalise our towns.”
Leader of Oldham Council, Sean Fielding, added: “I want to place on record my thanks to Sacha for his support to our Night-Time Economy Taskforce in Oldham. The reason we have people sitting round the table is down to Sacha's involvement. People are excited about the potential of our night-time economy.”
The blueprint comes during a turbulent time for the night-time leisure sector. Between 2010-17, there was a 27 per cent drop in the number of nightclubs (-115) and 14 per cent drop in the number of pubs and bars (-250) in Greater Manchester. However, the sector is being buoyed by an increase in theatre admissions and a rise in the number of food establishments opening in the region.
The full Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Blueprint can be accessed at https://www.gmcameetings.co.uk/download/meetings/id/4917/18_night_time_economy_blueprint.