“Darkest Before The Dawn” NTIA Manifesto, by NDML

Darkest Before The Dawn , the NTIA and NDML manifesto was once again highlighted and widely celebrated at this year NTE Summit 2024, alongside guest speaker Philip Kolvin KC

Philip Kolvin KC, lawyer and licensing expert, authors the manifesto. He had the opportunity at the NTE to present the manifesto and discuss its main talking points.

The manifesto was published in October of 2023 and has garnered the support of multiple nighttime industry bodies.

31% of the nightlife sector has closed in the past three years. A nightclub closes every week, five restaurants close every day on average, and 50 pubs close every month. Hospitality is in dire need, and is sounding the alarm. This manifesto aims to represent the truth of what’s happening, the full extent of the crisis, as well as providing suggestions on what can be done.

What is the “Darkest Before The Dawn” manifesto?

The manifesto sets out 44 recommendations, each of which aim to prevent a downturn in the nighttime economy.

In his address to the audience at the NTE Summit, Philip Kolvin KC described the nightlife economy as a delicate ecosystem that needed to be protected. Similar to how we need to protect welfare, the environment, social services and education – the nightlife sector is an important aspect of our way of life and need equal care. He expresses how the fact that each of these areas has a representative in government but the nightlife and hospitality sector does not, whilst being the fifth largest contributor to the country’s national economy, is clearly wrong. But it provides politicians an opportunity to rectify; which indeed is the ultimate goal of the manifesto.

Philip channels all of his thought and feelings into the manifesto. He discusses local government, national government, placemaking authorities and licensing – each of which he says can do a better job protecting the sector.

Important for tourism, young people and local businesses, nightlife’s benefits and opportunities are highlighted throughout the manifesto. The suggestions the manifesto proposes are detailed and well-thoughtout.

What are the key suggestions made within the “Darkest Before The Dawn” manifesto?

The manifesto suggests a “modest amendment” to the Local Government Act 1972 to require a local authority to produce a night time strategy, to which the authority would also have regard when exercising relevant functions, including planning and licensing.

It also says local authorities should identify and facilitate late-night zones, promote ‘night time enterprise zones” and consider the establishment of a cultural industries quarter.

It suggests a protection of the cultural heritage of night-time venues and local plans should protect local authenticity in the night-time economy

Recommendations relating to licensing call for Parliament to legislate for remote licensing meetings, and the concept of proportionality to be embedded in the Licensing Act 2003.

Furthermore, the Government should take action to reduce the cost and increase the speed of appeal proceedings.

Read the full manifesto for more findings and suggestions

As well as the author other top nightlife figures, such as Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, are quoted in the manifesto – He adds: “The Night Time Economy Manifesto represents a pivotal moment in the history of our industry. It showcases the vital role our nighttime businesses can play in shaping both national and local night time economy strategy.”

NDML meets Philip Kolvin KC

“The Darkest Before The Dawn” manifesto is for the nightlife association which we’re aiming at the political parties to try and put nightlife front-and-centre in the political debate.”

“The whole point of the nighttime economy manifesto is that we really need to have the nighttime economy recognised in Parliament. When it’s all flying and going really well, then the nighttime economy can carry on, it doesn’t need government assistance. But at a time like this when it is suffering, when it’s falling away at a huge rate, then we must ask how can we protect things which are precious. It’s the same as biodiversity – when we don’t pay attention, rivers die, marine life dies, and species become extinct – And I see the nighttime economy in exactly the same way. We’ve got to pay attention, because when it’s gone its not going to come back.”

See our interview with Philip Kolvin KC here