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London Night Czar appeals to councils to suspend licence fees for clubs and venues amid coronavirus pandemic

A new government document also outlines that clubs will be eligible for business rates relief

London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé has appealed to local council authorities to suspend licence fees and late night levy fees for hospitality businesses for 12 months in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lamé, who was appointed as London’s first Night Czar in November 2016, tweeted yesterday that, “across the UK, our licensed venues, pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs are now at severe risk of permanent closure due to COVID-19”. Consequently, Lamé has written to council leaders across London, asking that they implement a 12-month fee holiday for licensed premises, including nightclubs. 

This move from the Night Czar comes days after a government update, which revealed that nightclubs will be eligible for business rates relief as hereditaments for assembly and leisure. 

“The government’s support package has provided a vital lifeline,” Lamé wrote, according to a report from The Caterer. “However, without customer income, businesses must reduce spending to a bare minimum to avoid permanent closure. We are working with government, local authorities, businesses, landlords and others to ensure that as many night time businesses as possible can survive through this period. They will play a vital role in the recovery of our high streets after the crisis has passed.

“The mayor and I are asking all London local authorities to consider providing their licensed premises with a licence fee holiday for 12 months. This could include suspending collection of annual licence fees and late night levy fees where applicable. It mirrors the business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.”

Lamé’s move comes at a crucial time for London and the UK’s night time economy, and its innumerable workers. Last week, it was revealed that the £5 million fund to help artists affected by the coronavirus pandemic, launched by Help Musicians UK, had already been used up.

Also last week, SoundCloud announced $15m worth of initiatives to assist artists who are struggling for income during the coronavirus crisis. The initiatives include direct "fan-support" buttons such as links to Bandcamp, Patreon, Kickstarter and even PayPal from your profile.

A new interactive map has been developed to show you what independent record stores are still operating in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and how you can buy from them and give support in this challenging time. 

DJ Mag are asking our readers — if they can — to support clubs and other nightlife causes that are under threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have curated a support directory here, demonstrating the ways you can help. This list will be updated as new avenues for helpand support emerge. If you have a suggestion for us to include in the directory? Please send to [email protected]