24-hour licences fall away in UK

The number of bars and nightclubs in the UK with a 24-hour licence has fallen by nearly a fifth in the last six years according to EMW, a commercial law firm there.

The firm attributes the decrease in the number of 24-hour licences to a slowdown in demand for drinking late into the night.

The 19% fall in the number of 24-hour licensed nightclubs and bars from 919 in 2013 to 742 today is put down to low wage growth coupled with Millennials’ health concerns around alcohol.

Research shows that 29% of 16 to 24 year-olds were non-drinkers in 2015, up from 18% in 2005. It has also been suggested that Millennials make more use of apps to meet a partner at the expense of going to nightclubs.

On the other hand the same six-year period has witnessed growth of 40% in the number of supermarkets and other retailers with a 24-hour licence which now stands at 2,680 from 1,909 in 2013.

Beer sales in pubs fell by 1% in the first nine months of last year compared to the same period in 2017 while beer sales in supermarkets increased by 5%.

The night-time economy has suffered from uncertainties around Brexit too according to EMW, contributing to the purchase of cheaper alcohol in the multiples.

“Continued cultural changes in the way people interact and socialise, such as through dating apps and the rise of Netflix, has created less demand for pubs, bars and nightclubs,” explained EMW’s Legal Director Marco Mauro, “Increasingly, many individuals are also now not going out until much later in the evening and as a result they can often spend less on drinks at the pubs.”

Although 24-hour alcohol licenses had been expected to boost the night-time economy, this has simply not happened, he said, with many of the venues finding it simply unsustainable to make use of the 24-hour licence.

Thus there’s likely to be a further deterioration in that part of the night-time economy without more support from local and central government, he argued.


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