Nightlife boss attacks Sadiq Khan over London 24-hour city claims

A night-time industry boss has criticised Sadiq Khan after he claimed that the capital was “leading the world” as a 24-hour city.

Michael Kill, head of the Night Time Industries Association, said that there was a “real disparity” between the “narrative presented” by the Mayor and London’s nightlife.

Mr Khan had shared a clip of night czar Amy Lamé telling the BBC that London was “a truly 24-hour city”.

He wrote in the caption: “London is leading the world in its 24-hour policy with other global cities looking to us for inspiration.”

But Mr Kill hit back at the remarks, telling the Guardian: “After 11 or past midnight, it is hard to get a drink and that is linked to the challenges around infrastructure which is not committed to a 24-hour economy.

“Let me give you an example: if you cannot get home after midnight or cannot get a cab, or there are not enough places open and people around to socialise … You need the right infrastructure in place for the market to go later and longer and at the moment there is not that commitment.”

He also cited figures showing that 1,100 bars and clubs had shut in just three years in London.

Last month, Ms Lamé defended herself against criticism in an article for the Independent, where she said she had “helped hundreds of night-time venues keep their doors open” in the face of “manifold” challenges for the sector nationally.

She also wrote that the capital’s night economy had “faced huge challenges in recent years, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Brexit, the cost-of-living crisis, rising rents and business rates, and staffing shortages”.

A spokesperson for the mayor of London, told the Guardian: “The night-time industries across the country have faced huge challenges in recent years, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, rising rents and business rates, staffing shortages due to Brexit, and the government’s cost of living and cost of doing business crisis.

“The mayor and night czar continue to work closely with businesses, venues, boroughs and Londoners to support them throughout these challenges and last year London’s hospitality industry sales outpaced the rest of the UK. They know challenges remain and will continue to do all they can to protect and support venues across the capital and help new ones to open.”