Three and a half months have passed since the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) launched the #LetUsDance campaign to lobby for increased U.K. nightlife aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after an online petition with the same name broke 145,000 signatures, the initiative has been heard in the U.K. Parliament.
On their website, the NTIA encouraged nightlife stakeholders to flood social media with their stories while the matter was debated in Parliament on Monday. The U.K. government has yet to publish the outcome of the hearing, a video of comments made by Manchester Labour MP Lucy Powell circulated on social media.
Thank you so much for the name check in Parliament yesterday @LucyMPowell and for continually fighting for my sector and the events sector. I’m not surprised in the slightest that Manchester was one of the biggest signs up to #LetUsDance in the UK. We know how to party! pic.twitter.com/TouC9msOI1
— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) November 10, 2020
“As somebody, I must confess, who was often found in [Manchester club] The Haçienda in her youth and is a regular attender at the Glastonbury festival, I’m particularly pleased to speak in this debate,” Powell said. “It was no surprise to me that there were more signatures from my constituency in this debate than most other constituencies across the country.”
Powell also commended Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord for his advocacy in the same arena. Last month, he enlisted lawyers to prepare to take legal action against the U.K. government if “tier three” restrictions were imposed on Greater Manchester bars, nightclubs and venues.
Slipping Through the Cracks
A few days after the NTIA launched the #LetUsDance campaign, the government allocated £500 million for a Culture Recovery Fund to aid arts organizations including a number of electronic music brands. As of Saturday, £427 million of the sum has been distributed – but some of Arts Council England‘s decisions have proven controversial.
Among the institutions named in their Round 2 data release was broadcasting platform Boiler Room, who received £791,652 even though they posted net losses in the millions in both 2018 and 2019. In Round 4, Birmingham hard dance event brand Sundissential was awarded £223,822 despite having been dormant from 2017-2019. Meanwhile, London venues like Printworks, The Drumshed, Egg London, Studio 338, Oval Space, Exhibition London and The Pickle Factory had all been denied funding.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill, who four months ago warned that U.K. lawmaker aid at the time left nightlife to “slip through the cracks,” has criticized Arts Council England’s discretion in awarding grants. “Some culturally significant venues, events and supply chain businesses being missed off the awards, bringing into question the current criteria and assessment process,” he said.
The results of the #LetUsDance debate will be published by the U.K. Parliament this week.