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London Night Time Commission publishes Think Night report

Published:  20 February, 2019

Efforts to support London’s late-night economy took a step forward recently with the publication of a report by the London Night Time Commission.

Entitled Think Night: London’s Neighbourhoods From 6pm To 6am, the report, which was published at the end of January, takes into account the views of various stakeholders, including residents, evening and night workers, councils, businesses and more. In addition to key data relating to night-time London, it includes nine separate recommendations.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has previously outlined a vision to “turn London into a leading 24-hour global city”, promoting “culture and leisure for all ages and interests”, increasing opening hours, ensuring safety and working with borough and the police “to create a balanced and sustainable night time offer”. In October 2017 he appointed the London Night Time Commission, which has since conducted research into the subject.

Crucially, it found that a third of London’s workers, a total of 1.6 million, usually work evenings and nights, with two-thirds of Londoners regularly active at night. The report also includes information about declining hospitality outlets in the capital, down 6.3% in the last 10 years, with drinking outlets down 30.3%, while eating outlets increased 20%.

Among the more interesting recommendations in the report is that the mayor incorporate a night test for all new policies, rating their impact on various night-related aspects such as culture, sociability, wellbeing and economy. This night test, according to the Commission, should be implemented by mid-2019, with local authorities adopting it by 2021. In addition, research is required to “establish the case for longer opening hours”.

Another recommendation is the creation of a night-time enterprise zone fund to help boroughs develop their night-time offer, as well as guidance for those boroughs to help them to develop strategies for the hours between 6pm and 6am.

Of particular interest to hospitality workers would be the establishment of a late-night transport working group, to ensure night workers are able to travel safely, and potentially even benefit from a “Night Rider” fare.

“Late-night hospitality is a crucial part of the wider sector and nowhere is that more apparent than in the capital,” commented UKHospitality late night consultant Jon Collins. “The report provides a clear framework for partnership work to ensure the sector continues to thrive and achieves even more.”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive and chair of the Commission, helped to create the report. “The Commission also has the full support of UKHospitality and we look forward to aiding the report’s implementation to support the fantastic late-night sector in London,” Nicholls said.

It remains to be seen how the Night Time Commission’s recommendations will be implemented, of course, but the report makes a convincing case for the importance of night time in London. Time will tell whether we see the necessary changes to transform the capital into that 24-hour global city of Sadiq’s vision, and how the hospitality industry would benefit