Calls for more support for Harrogate nightlife sector as businesses struggle

A Harrogate nightclub owner is calling on the Government to give the sector more support as venues remain unable to open.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 11:01 am
Updated Friday, 2nd October 2020, 11:04 am

Paul Kinsey, owner of Viper Rooms and Harewood Group, said many late-night businesses will be forced to make redundancies and potentially close for good if they are not offered a financial ‘survival’ package.

It comes after he announced his company will be cutting more than 200 jobs due to the hardships posed by the coronavirus crisis, as the furlough scheme is set to end this month.

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Paul Kinsey, owner of Viper Rooms, has called for more support for the nightclub industry.

He told the Harrogate Advertiser: “Whilst Rishi Sunak’s announcement of support for the hospitality industry has helped pubs, hotels and restaurants it has left the whole of the nightclub industry without a penny of support. We have been closed since March 23 by law and have no indication of when we may reopen. The assertion that the Government doesn’t help ‘zombie’ businesses is fair but he has turned nightclubs into a ‘zombie’ business.

“My company alone will now have to lose over 200 people, and in the coming weeks the 1,200 clubs in the UK will be forced to remove the livelihoods of the 100,000 people that rely on us.

“Please don’t leave the industry I love to go to ruin, it deserves much more.”

Paul hopes the Government will offer up a ‘survival’ package for those in the industry, to cover rent, fixed finance costs and critical management salaries whilst the venues remain closed with no idea when they can open their doors and welcome customers back.

Viper Rooms is now the only official nightclub left in the town, which is not also a bar or dining venue.

He added: “As soon as we are able to reopen we will pay back any contribution we have received - we could make up for it in VAT in the first nine months alone. No-one wants to see businesses close but I think it’s very likely if things continue in this way. There is such a lack of opportunity in our sector right now and we are being overlooked.”

Paul has started a Linked In campaign which now has more than 15,000 views and has been shared across social media.

He says losing any more of Harrogate’s nightlife could be detrimental to the area, adding: “Harrogate has been fighting against the tide for a few years and doesn’t need any more set backs. If we don’t offer people a vibrant nightlife, they simply won’t visit, and young people will move away to big cities with more choice.”

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has launched a national campaign to gain support for those in the industry who are still unable to work.

The NTIA wants clubs to reopen, like bars have already been able to, or have access to a coronavirus financial package to support the 1.3 million employees in the industry.

UKHospitality, one of the largest bodies representing those in the sector, is also calling for more support for nightclubs.

The body has called on the Government to provide details of a roadmap for the reopening of the UK’s nightclubs and has written to Culture Minister Oliver Dowde for clarification on the latest plans.

The letter highlighted the crucial role nightclubs play in the UK’s economy as well as their social value and asked for more to be done to support all those in the sector.