London night-life economy up for review

City of Westminster is at the heart of London’s night-time economy and thus its hospitality and entertainment sector, with some 3,700 venues licensed. Its present policy is up for review and it needs to have one in place by the 6th of January 2021. 

So l respond to their Consultation Survey on Sunday before the end of the consultation. 

I welcomed the inclusion requirements as a step forward not only for the Council to discharge its Equality Act responsibilities but stopping some of the exclusion activities of establishments highlighted by the media in recent times. 

The renewed more subtle emphasis on the prevention of crime and disorder; promoting public safety and the prevention of public nuisance will be welcomed by all living in the City of Westminster. And also the presumption to refuse licensing applications in Cumulative Impact Zones. Though l do think they should not remove these zones along the Edgware Rd and Queensway, Bayswater while the state of the Central London economy is in such difficulty in light of the pandemic. So not surprising l think more emphasis needs to be placed on protecting jobs and the West End economy in the review and something l am sure the Mayor of London will be saying as well.  

In recent months we have seen the pandemic impact on this critical part of the London economy.  I have implored the Government to find a way to support the small businesses who are still falling through the gaps of their economic support, particularly the small and medium size enterprises in the night time economy. 

It has been positive to see the Chancellor recently refine components of his Winter Economic Plan, responding to some of the concerns raised by the business community. However, while these changes are welcome, we have already seen a large number of jobs unnecessarily lost in the capital due to the Government’s previous missteps and failure to act early enough. 

When we come out of this lockdown, London and other parts of the country will probably move into Tier 2 restrictions, continuing the prohibiting of household mixing in indoor spaces. But can l make a plea in the lead up to Christmas, that the Government’s previous 10pm curfew policy be dropped.  

The 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping venues with cashflow at a time when they need all the support they can get. If anything the push to get out of the pubs at 10 pm and then on public transport is where we have the biggest risk of transmission of the virus. So the Prime Minister needs to call time on this pointless curfew. 

Finally, it has been positive to see Westminster City Council decide to scrap its proposals to charge hospitality venues to use pavement space. This would have been a hugely misguided policy, adding unnecessary strain on struggling businesses. So lets not see this proposal again during the Christmas break!