Night Czar

MQT on 2017-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Question By: 
Susan Hall
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Can you provide an outline of Amy Lamé's activities since her appointment as Night Czar?


Answer for Night Czar

Answer for Night Czar

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Chair.  The night-time economy is vitally important for London.  It is worth £26.3 billion to our economy, employs one in eight Londoners and is a key driver of town centre regeneration.  Our night-time cultural offer is world-renowned from our theatres to our music venues in pubs.  However, since 2008, London has lost a quarter of its pubs, half of its nightclubs, over half of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, plus (LGBT+) venues, and over a third of its live music venues.  I am determined to halt this decline.


If London is to retain its reputation for world-class nightlife, no single organisation or public body can solve these problems alone.  We all need to work together to ensure the capital thrives as a 24-hour city in a way that is safe and enjoyable for everyone.  This is why I appointed Amy Lamé as my Night Czar.  Other cities like Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam have similar roles, and they bring together key stakeholders across the city to grow the night-time economy in a way that balances the needs of businesses, those who want a good night out and those who want a good sleep.


Over the past year, my Night Czar has made excellent progress.  When she was appointed, music venues were closing at an alarming rate.  One of the world’s most famous nightclubs, Fabric, had closed.  My Night Czar has worked with boroughs, the police and hundreds of businesses from the night-time economy to start to turn this around.


In the interests of brevity, I can touch on only some of the many activities since her appointment, but I hope that will give you a flavour of some of the things that she has been doing.  My Night Czar has published a vision of a 24-hour London, setting out my vision for London to become a truly 24-hour city.  She has worked closely with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to remove the controversial Form 696 for music venues and music promoters, which urban and grime musicians and DJs felt was unfairly targeting them.  She has published guidance for boroughs to grow and diversify their night-time economies and has worked with my Deputy Mayor [for Planning, Regeneration and Skills] Jules Pipe CBE on the draft London Plan to include, for the first time ever, new policies to support the night-time economy and protect pubs, as well as the Agent of Change policy so that pubs, clubs and venues can coexist along with new residential development.


She has developed a charter for LGBT+ venues, which has already been used in a landmark case to ensure the Joiners Arms in Hoxton remains a LGBT+ venue.  She has supported over 120 businesses, bringing together residents, community groups, developers, police, local authorities and others to reach positive outcomes.  These include venues like the George Tavern in Stepney Green, the Rio Cinema in Dalston and the Electric Ballroom in Camden.


She has hosted seven night surgeries to speak with residents, night-time workers and business owners, working closely with borough councils and Members of Parliament (MPs).  She has taken a leadership role on supporting a safer London for women, hosting the first women’s night safety summit, and she is developing a Women’s Night Safety Charter to make the capital’s venues safer for women at night.


Susan Hall AM:  All right.  First of all, that is interesting, Mr Mayor, because that is different to the information that has come back from our Freedom of Information request, but I do not doubt what you have said.  Do you think that your Night Czar would be advised to meet all London boroughs as part of her job?  So far, she has met only 18 of the 32 boroughs.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Time permitting, of course, if it is possible, yes.


Susan Hall AM:  It has been a year.  That is acceptable to you, is it?  That is very interesting.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am happy to set out all the other meetings she has had, if that helps, Chair.  It is a long list.


Susan Hall AM:  No, you do not need to do that.  I would have thought that your Night Czar would have wanted to have met all of the boroughs, as opposed to just 18 of them.  Perhaps that is a suggestion, bearing in mind that her hours have been doubled and she has had a massive pay increase.  Perhaps would you suggest to your Night Czar that she meets all of the boroughs, Mr Mayor?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  She is going out to meet as many leaders of communities as she possibly can.


Susan Hall AM:  I am sure everybody around this table would like to see her meeting everybody.  Since she is receiving taxpayers’ money for the job, what performance indicators are in place to make sure that she is delivering?


Tony Devenish AM:  You cannot blame the Government.


Susan Hall AM:  No, this is one you cannot blame the Government for or, indeed, Boris [Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London].


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The performance criteria, Chair - and we are talking about an employee, by the way, I remind you, Chair - are: to devise and publish a vision for London as a 24-hour global city, to produce and publish a roadmap to implement the vision, to publish best-practice guidance for the night economy, to give public speeches and carry out mayoral engagements, to support and be an advocate for the night economy, to articulate a 24-hour London vision, to deliver a night-time economy Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to begin enacting the agent-for-change principle.


The objective criteria, Chair, about one of our employees as part of her appraisal include: devise and publish a vision of London as a 24-hour global city, produce and publish a roadmap to implement that vision, publish best practice guidance for a night-time economy, give public speeches and carry out engagements on my behalf, and deliver an SPG enacting the Agent of Change principle.


Susan Hall AM:  In the original spec, the job was to include chairing the Night Time Commission and yet, when your particular Night Czar of the moment arrived, you then had to take on a Queen’s Counsel (QC) to do that because your choice of the Night Czar - not mentioning any names, Chair - could not do that.  Do you think that is acceptable?  Now you have doubled your Night Czar’s hours and you have had to employ a QC to do the job that was in the original spec.  Do you think that is acceptable?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Susan Hall AM:  You do?  It is taxpayers’ money.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Susan Hall AM:  OK.  Are you aware that 139 pubs have closed this year already?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am really happy to talk about pubs that have closed since 2008.  We are starting to halt that decline.  A lot of people have given credit for that halt in decline not just to the current Mayor but to the current Night Czar as well.  I am happy to say, Chair, when the decline began, but I will be accused of politicising the hopeless previous Mayor, who is a friend of these guys.


Tony Devenish AM:  He was a very good Mayor, actually.


Susan Hall AM:  As I said, are you aware that 139 have closed since your Night Czar’s appointment?  I tell you what, Mr Mayor.  Would you like to just take it as a fact that they have?  Can you tell me why you have doubled the time of the Night Czar and not only doubled the wage but increased it also?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is quite clear from the work that the ‑‑


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  No, we are going then into ‑‑ as I said before, we discussed in public the employment hours and salary of heads of unit level and above.  If you want to persist with your question on the employment hours and pay of the Night Czar, then I will have to ask for the press and public to be cleared from the gallery.  It is up to you.


Susan Hall AM:  No, that is fine.  As somebody who is a contracted-out employer, would you expect a Night Czar or whoever else to seek permission from the Greater London Authority (GLA) before accepting a second job?


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  That is about the employment and terms.  That will be dealt with under the GLA employment procedures.  Please try again, Assembly Member Hall.


Susan Hall AM:  I am sorry, Chair.  I just am mindful that we all like transparency and it is taxpayers’ money after all. A lot of complaints have been made about what this particular job spec involves and how we should hold the owner of this particular job to account, which is clearly what we are trying to do.  If that is unpalatable to you, Chair, I am one that thoroughly believes in transparency, but I will leave it at that.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Do you have any more questions, Assembly Member Hall?


Susan Hall AM:  No, because you will stop me, Chair.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Thank you.  Let us then move to the next subject.