Scotland’s Night Time Economy face cataclysmic job losses as bosses calls for parity with art and industry sectors


Nightclubs, late night bars and live music venues, which employ collectively more than 75,000 people in Scotland are set to slash jobs according to a new survey by Scotland’s Night-Time Industries Association (SNTIA) which shows three-quarters of the businesses are set to make more than half their staff redundant in a matter of weeks, as bosses are calling for similar subsidies as those paid out to arts venues and theatres.

The survey, released today, suggests that more than half of the businesses will have to close shut permanently within two months without further Government support with 83% of businesses confirming they are set to make staff redundant. This includes 76% of businesses who will make more than half of their workforce redundant.

The SNTIA is leading calls for an extension to the job-retention scheme that is set to end in October, which it found is putting the businesses surveyed on a dangerous cliff-edge. The survey found that 75% of businesses set to make over half of their workforce redundant in a matter of weeks when the job retention scheme ends.

Just 19% of survey respondents reported that they have been able to re-purpose, and these businesses are generating 40% less trade compared with this time last year. Financial viability is extremely difficult to achieve in current circumstances without the Government initiatives that other sectors have seen, such as ‘eat out to help out’.

Mike Grieve MD Sub Club / Director NTIA / Glasgow NTE Commissioner comments, “Of all the affected sectors of the Scottish economy, hospitality has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. In the case of nightclubs, we were the first to shut down and without a shadow of doubt we will be the last of the last to re-open. Meanwhile there has been a staggering lack of support available to keep these economically significant and culturally vital businesses alive to protect the future of our hugely vibrant nightlife sector. I fear that a huge swathe of Scotland’s best operators are on the verge of going out of business entirely, leaving the way open for illegal and unlicensed events to exploit the inevitable demand that exists. We urgently need some clarification of the perceived timescales for reopening and without financial support in the meantime the consequences for nightlife in Scotland are potentially cataclysmic.”

Donald Macleod, CEO, Hold Fast Entertainment & CPL (Owner of The Garage and Cathouse Rock Club, Concert Promoter, Convenor Glasgow Licensing Forum, Glasgow NTE Commissioner said, “As a sector we were amongst the first to close and will probably be the last to reopen. It is only right therefore, to avoid thousands of job losses and hundreds of businesses from going under, that it is treated on a par as our other art and industry sectors. It must be given the emergency Scottish Government funding it so urgently requires in order to survive’’.

Geoff Ellis, CEO, DF Concerts / Co-Chair Glasgow NTE Commission said, ’The Night-time entertainment sector is vital for the economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy of our towns and cities as well as for the health and wellbeing of those who live, work, study and visit them. Most of these businesses have had no income since March and many might not have any at all in 2020. The whole sector is in dire need of government support and very soon!”.

Andrew Fleming-Brown Managing Director SWG3 said, “Prior to lockdown, the night-time economy was a thriving – and growing – part of the UK economy. Not only is it an important driver of tourism, leisure and business growth within our towns and cities here in Scotland, but it provides jobs for more than 75,000 people. There needs to be clear and urgent action from the government to protect the industry before it’s too late.”

Commenting on the survey, Michael Kill, Chief Executive of NTIA said, ‘‘Without immediate additional help and clear indication of when we can re-open we are facing financial armageddon.

“Businesses still can’t open their doors and haven’t been given any guidance on when they might be able too. Businesses are being forced to make the heart-breaking decision to let their loyal and hardworking staff go.

It’s potentially fatal for the future of the Night-Time Economy, a cornerstone of Scotland’s diverse arts and cultural tapestry. I implore the Government to act on this data. Give us a clear roadmap on when businesses can reopen and reassurance that the financial support will be there to keep businesses financially afloat in the coming months’’.

NTIA Scotland – Summary of Survey Results

*80.30% of Businesses surveyed employee between 1 – 50 Members of Staff

*83.04% of Businesses will make redundancies following the end of the Job Retention Scheme

*75.4% of Businesses will make over 50% of their employees redundant from August

*62.33% of Businesses will only have enough cash flow to survive for another 2 months



*95.11% see music as important to their current business model.

*84.11% see music as a vital component to your business.


Businesses that have Re Purposed their space

*19.11% of NTE Business in Scotland are open at the moment (80.89% are not open at the moment)

*Businesses that are open are trading at 38.97% Down on Last Year

*65.85% of Businesses that have opened have repurposed as Bars/Pubs

*90% Businesses that have re-purposed have spent between 10k – 30K to accommodate for changes.

*86.05% of Businesses that have re purposed are achieving between 10-50% of Capacity of business


Businesses that have not been able to Repurpose their space

*8.84% of businesses that are not open but are able to re purpose / 91.16% Unable to repurpose space

*82.35% of businesses that are not open, but are able to repurpose would become Bar/Pubs

*75% of businesses that are not open but able to open, have estimated the cost to re open at 10-50K

*64.71% of Businesses that could re purpose and open expected to achieve between 10-50% of Business Capacity

*88.24% of Businesses highlighted the following reason for not re purposing – Concern over Future/Investment/Viability