Mayor announces plan for Night Time Commission for the capital

15 March 2016

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today confirmed plans for a Night Time Commission, a six month investigation into what should be done to protect and manage the night time economy, which is worth £66 billion a year to the UK and employs 1.3 million people.

In London, the restaurants, bars, clubs, music venues and other activities that contribute to the night time economy are an important part of city life, adding to its status as an attractive and dynamic place to live in, work and visit. The night time economy is a key part of the capital's cultural offer, helping attract the millions of visitors that have helped the capital break records as the world's most visited destination, with four out of five saying culture is a key reason for coming here.

Although plans for the Night Tube are expected to increase London's status as a 24 hour city, the Mayor wants also to ensure this is balanced with other needs of people living, working and doing business here, such as the impact on local residents, keeping people safe, street cleaning and other concerns.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'There is no doubt that the night time economy is hugely important to our prosperity and the life of our city, but there is insufficient oversight for the way it is managed and problems are mitigated. It is brilliantly successful, but night time activities can be seen as causes of noise and nuisance, whilst businesses complain that rising property values, the need for housing, licensing requirements and other red tape are damaging their operations, even leading to closures. If we are to compete against other world cities is vital that we develop policies to reconcile the competing needs and concerns.'

The Night Time Commission will run for six months and will make recommendations about measures to support the night time economy, including the precise role and responsibilities of a night time champion.

The commission follows the Music Venues Rescue plan, published last year and supported by the Mayor, which recommended the appointment of a night time economy champion, who would bring together businesses, residents, local authorities, transport, police and emergency services to build positive relationships, review policies aimed at balancing competing priorities and maximising the full potential of the sector.

A number of cities around the world have already developed such policies, including Amsterdam and Paris, which have introduced so-called night time mayors. The commission will be an opportunity to hear from the widest number of stakeholders and establish important facts and research about the sector in London, informing the best way to proceed with the appointment of a night time champion.

More details about the Night Time Commission, including membership and plans to undertake a comprehensive strategic review into the growing night time economy, its impact and potential, will be announced in due course. The commission is then due to report on its finding in the autumn. 

Notes to editors

The London's Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan was produced by the Mayor's Music Venues Taskforce in October 2015, as part of the campaign to halt the drop in the number of music venues in the capital. Since 2007 London has lost 35 per cent of its grassroots music venues and it is feared that if this decline continues it could have major implications for the long term future of a creative and cultural sector that feeds into the UK's £3.8 billion music industry. Recommendations including support for the so-called Agent of Change principle, which the Mayor has already acted upon and puts the onus on developers to mitigate potential future conflicts between new developments and long-standing live venues; a night time economy champion to promote the merits of a sector that in the UK is worth £66 billion a year; and a London Music Development Board to take forward an action plan to protect grassroots music venues in the capital. The London's Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan and the Mayor's response can be downloaded from www.london.gov.uk/musicvenues