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NTIA: 82% of night-time firms on ‘knife edge’

More than two-fifths of night-time businesses are losing money or barely breaking even as the UK’s new Energy Relief Scheme will have ‘no impact’, according to a new poll.

Independent night-time businesses are “being ignored”, according to the NTIA’s CEO

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) conducted a poll of 306 of its members that looked at the impact of the new Energy Relief Scheme in the UK, which is due to start in April.

Under the new scheme, firms will get a discount on wholesale prices rather than costs being capped as under the current one.

The NTIA said 82.6% of businesses are on a ‘knife edge’ under the new scheme, with 42.9% barely breaking even and 39.7% losing money.

This figure is slightly higher when compared to 80.7% of members either barely breaking even or losing money under the current Energy Scheme.

The NTIA found that 45.2% of respondents have seen a more than 200% rise in energy costs. This goes up to more than 400% for 11.3% of businesses surveyed.

Members also noted that they are dealing with huge financial pressure as a result of indirect costs from the supply chain.

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, said: “With today’s figures showing a significant shift in fortune from April when the new energy relief scheme is implemented, with 7.4% more businesses losing money after April under the new scheme, and a total of 82.6% either losing money or barely breaking even under the new scheme compared to 80.7% under the current relief scheme.”

Kill noted that energy firms have “profiteered off” the energy scheme “to the detriment of the night-time economy and hospitality sectors”.

He also said independent businesses are “being ignored”, citing data from CGA that showed a 13% decline in independent licensed businesses, compared to 3% for chains.

Kill called on the government to support the industry in the next budget, due to be held on 15 March.

Sacha Lord, night-time economy advisor for Greater Manchester and NTIA chair, added: “We are all seeing daily closures now, across the whole of the UK, with London seeming to feel the impact the most.

“I cannot understand why this current government has failed the sector, unlike other governments across Europe, who recognise the importance of the sector.”

Scottish hospitality struggles

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) also recently conducted a poll looking at the challenges facing the country’s bars and pubs.

Hall of venues said they were down on sales for Christmas and New Year 2022, compared to the pre-pandemic festive season.

It found that 60% of outlets are closing early or for full days and won’t be operating to their full opening hours in the first quarter of 2023.

Furthermore, 40% of operators had to restrict opening times after being affected by post-Brexit staffing issues.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said: “As we enter the second month of 2023, three out of five outlets are operating restricted hours with rising costs, staff shortages and enormous increases in energy prices – 45% of our respondents reported energy increases of over 250%.

“Our members are also concerned about the impact of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) and the proposed restrictions on alcohol advertising sponsorship which will impact on many everyday aspects of pub life – from sponsoring the dominos team to serving local beers in branded glasses.”

In addition, 76% of venues called for government support to survive in 2023 –a slight decrease from 86% in September.

A third of nightclubs in the UK shut for good in 2022, according to data shared by the NTIA.

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