Fears over Newcastle's nighttime economy post pandemic

Report by Gregg Easteal


They used to say there was nothing like a night out in Newcastle. Now there's no such thing.

For 332 long days and nights, the city's party streets have seen little sign of life. Now, the question is, how many venues will still be there when it's all over?

Tommy Caulker is the owner of the World Headquarters nightclub, he doesn't know how long he can continue, he said:

''We're getting to the point now where we really have exhausted all options and you know my house is remortgaged, I'm up to the hilt in debt and we've got no sign of reopening.

''It's been difficult for us because you know with bars, restaurants, they had 'Eat Out to Help Out', they've had schemes to help them. But with nightclubs, they seem to be the forgotten thing I think.''

Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

Tommy says nightclubs have been an essential part of our lives and are vital for social cohesion. He said:

Where did you meet your wife, where did you go when you were at university? You know, bars and clubs and the nighttime scene.

Tommy Caulker, World Headquarters

MPs have now issued a report to the Government, warning clubs and music venues are facing extinction.

Their findings claim 85 per cent of people in the industry and now considering leaving and 78 per cent have been furloughed at some point.

85%

of people in the industry are considering leaving

75%

of people in the industry have been furloughed at some point.

Newcastle North MP, Cat McKinnel, said: ''If this goes, we'll never reopen again. And Newcastle has a globally renowned nighttime economy.

''It's regularly featured in guides and magazines as one of the best places to go out. If the city's pubs and clubs don't survive this pandemic, they won't just simply reopen again, we'll lose part of our history, our character, part of what makes Newcastle a really special city.''

But if the beat doesn't come back to places like the Bigg Market soon, the fear is - that will have a huge financial impact on the whole city.

There are 350 businesses involved, the value is around £340 million per annum, with 6,500 people employed in that sector. We need to do everything we possibly can to make sure it can survive.'

Adrian Waddell, CEO, NE1