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Embargoed until: 19.00 Monday 11 July 2016
Local partnerships key to building vibrant night time economy
LGiU launch best practice for local authorities
Today, the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) with support from Portman Group, launch best practice for local authorities looking to build vibrant night time economies.
The night time economy is worth approximately £66bn a year to the UK economy and employs 1.3m people. And, as local authorities begin the shift to full business rate retention by 2020, the success of the local economy will increasingly become intertwined with councils’ ability to fund their services. In this context, the night time economy could either be a burden or an opportunity for councils.
The report, launched in the House of Commons at the Local Government APPG summer reception, looks at these issues and how local authorities can make the most of the opportunities ahead. Whilst the night time economy may be synonymous with high spending on policing, emergency services and enforcement, many areas that have been plagued by problems caused by their night time economy have pulled off remarkable transformations.
Nationally, things are undoubtedly now moving in the right direction. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a 25% decline in binge drinking and a 40% decline in alcohol-related violent crime since 2007, whilst the NHS has calculated that underage drinking has dropped to the lowest level on record. However alcohol still accounts for around half of violent crime and there are still town centres and local communities that are disproportionately impacted by alcohol-related harms. Drawing on case studies and examples of best practice from across England and Wales, the report outlines five key recommendations (included below) for local authorities to take the first steps towards setting up partnership schemes in their local area to help create safer and more sociable town centres at night.
A range of business-supported local schemes are already working in partnership with councils across the country to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder, tackle underage drinking and make town centres safer, more vibrant places to socialise at night. These include: 650 registered Pubwatches; 100 Community Alcohol Partnerships; 62 Purple Flag
accredited areas; 55 Best Bar None schemes; and 1.449 million Proof of Age cards (PASS) in
The keynote address at the reception will be given by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said: “It’s easy to view the night time economy on the ‘problem’ side of the ledger. This report shows the progress that many local authorities have made in taking a proactive and connected approach to tacking these problems. It also makes clear that the night time economy is an opportunity: to drive business growth, but also to build vibrant, creative areas.
There’s still much work to be done on this of course, but these practical recommendations can help local authorities do better. Councils are in a great position to drive this agenda forward to create flourishing night time economies that work for everyone.”
Rita King, Local Partnerships Director, Portman Group, said:
“In the last decade we have made real progress in helping our high streets become safer places for people to socialise, and for businesses to thrive. Night-time economies are increasingly valued as real contributors to local growth and official statistics show that alcohol-related crime, binge drinking and underage drinking have been in sustained decline across the country.
But there are still communities that suffer disproportionately from alcohol-related harms and where an irresponsible minority can spoil an evening out for the majority. Supporting these communities will be tough in a time when public service budgets are under pressure, which is why strong and effective partnership between local councils, police and health services are needed to help make town centres great places to live work and play.”
Notes to editors
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is a think tank and membership body with over 200 councils and other organisations subscribing to our networks. We work to strengthen local democracy and put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services. For more information, visit lgiu.org.
About Portman Group
Portman Group is the social responsibility body for alcohol producers in the UK. Its role is to regulate the promotion and packaging of alcoholic drinks sold or marketed in the UK, to challenge and encourage the industry to market its products responsibly and to show leadership on best practice in alcohol social responsibility through the actions of member companies.
The five recommendations in the report include:
- Build partnerships Partnerships between all those with a stake in this area – police, local authorities, emergency services, businesses and communities – are an essential foundation on which to create a successful and safe night time economy.
- Diversify your economy Attracting restaurants, music venues and other entertainment options to locate in your town centre will allow people to choose from a range of alternative activities; to encourage a wider range of people into town in the evening and night time, and to reduce alcohol-related crime and injury.
- Share intelligence Organisations involved with the night time economy are all busy collecting their own data to feed into their plans. Sharing this intelligence increases the insight and the value it can bring and supports a coherent strategy.
- Nominate a champion Nominating a single person who will be the single point of accountability for all things related to the night time economy will bring together all those working on these issues in the local area.
- Break down silos Often the night time economy is dealt with in a reactionary way, sorting out problems as they arise. But by working across the council silos a more proactive and positive approach can be taken.
A full copy of the report can be found here.