Mayor Sadiq Khan unveils first ever 24-hour vision for London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched his vision for London to become a leading 24-hour global city as he pledged to plan for life at night in the same way the city does for the day.

Sadiq’s 24-hour vision is the first of its kind for London and outlines 10 principles which will help to pave the way for the capital to become a trailblazing city at night, competing with the likes of Berlin, Tokyo and New York. The principles focus on building a night-time culture which serves the needs of all Londoners and visitors to the capital. They include:

– promoting all forms of culture and leisure – not just pubs and clubs, but a wide range of activities for people
of all ages and interests;
– attracting investment and tourism;
– increasing opening hours where appropriate to help businesses cope with the recent business rates hike;
ensuring the safety and well being of residents, visitors and night-time workers;
– working hand in glove with boroughs and the police to create balanced and sustainable night time offers across
the capital.

London’s £26bn night-time economy generates one in eight jobs in the capital and is set to grow in the coming years. From the outset of his mayoralty, Sadiq Khan has made it clear that growing the city’s cultural and night-time industries is a core priority and today’s vision aims to ensure that London is on the front foot in creating a thriving 24-hour economy.

The vision will be realised by Night Czar Amy Lamé alongside the new Night Time Commission chaired by Philip Kolvin QC, which will include planners, licensing experts, venue owners, artists, the police, media entrepreneurs as well as leaders of major cultural organisations.

It will help to shape the way in which City Hall, authorities across the capital and industry leaders build the night-time culture and economy over the coming years. Through this vision, Amy and Philip will support local authorities to plan for life at night in their planning, licensing, culture, regeneration, community safety and economic strategies to bring a diverse night-time culture to every borough, as well as working with cultural organisations, international stakeholders and investors to open up more opportunity for London afterhours.

The 24-hour vision also seeks to address the challenges facing the prosperity of the capital’s night-time economy, including the supply of workers from across the European Union, rising business rates, competition from other cities and the perception that London as night is not as safe and welcoming for all Londoners as it could be.

The 10 principles of the vision have been developed with businesses, Night Time Economy Borough Champions, the police and many others across the night-time industry. The principles are for London to:

1. Be a global leader.
2. Provide vibrant opportunities for all Londoners, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation or means.
3. Promote all forms of cultural, leisure, retail and service activity.
4. Promote the safety and well being of residents, workers and visitors.
5. Promote welcoming and accessible nightlife.
6. Promote and protect investment, activity and entrepreneurship.
7. Promote domestic and international visits to London.
8. Be strategically located across London to promote opportunity and minimise impact.
9. Become a 24-hour city that supports flexible lifestyles.
10. Take account of future global and domestic trends in leisure, migration, technology, employment and economics.
Over the coming months, Philip and Amy will consult with industry experts on bringing the vision to life.

The Mayor has already taken significant steps to safeguard the capital’s night-time culture and economy. As well as launching the first-ever Night Tube service at weekends, Sadiq has also outlined plans to protect pubs, music venues, LGBT+ venues, and to set up a group of Night Time Champions from every London local authority.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’ve pledged to make growing London’s culture a core priority, and our city’s thriving night-time economy is a key part of this. Building a vibrant 24-hour city is crucial for London to remain a cultural and economic powerhouse – it is also what keeps visitors, workers, students and businesses flocking to our great city. We have stiff competition from other world cities like Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tokyo and New York and I want to make sure London is on the front foot by planning for life at night in the same way the city does for the day.

“Today’s vision isn’t just about pubs and clubs – it’s about everything from museums and theatres opening later, being able to do your weekly shop after an evening shift, through to the safety of Londoners working and travelling at night and residents being able to get a good night’s sleep. We must create a life at night that works for everyone, showing the world that London is open for business, open for people and ideas, and open 24 hours a day.”

Chair of the Night Time Commission, Philip Kolvin QC, said: “London can only become a truly 24-hour city if we can bring everyone across the industry, the boroughs, police, transport and health to work together. This vision gives us the guiding principles we need to ensure decisions around planning, licensing and building for the future make the night-time economy a priority. With the multi-talented Night Time Commission, we can bring the whole city’s resources together to tackle the challenges we face and to maximise every opportunity for London to become the world-leading night-time economy.”

London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “As Night Czar, I have been out and about speaking to everyone who has a stake in our night-time economy – residents, workers, revellers, venue owners, the police, councils and many others. We want London to be the world’s number one night-time destination, whether you want to grab a late bite to eat, take in an afterhours exhibition, enjoy a drink, dance or just get a good night’s sleep. The 24-hour vision takes the needs of all Londoners and visitors to the capital into account and will help to shape all our future work to make London a 24-hour metropolis.”

Alan D Miller, Chairman of The Night Time Industries Association, said: “This is a moment of history for London and Britain. A truly 24 hour vision for the city that is future oriented and upbeat, promising to encourage and expand the incredible array of talent, creativity and entrepreneurial zeal that is so abundant here. We at The NTIA are enormously excited and proud that The Mayor of London is championing this vital vision along with the multi-talented combination of Amy Lamé and Philip Kolvin. The fruits of this 24 hour vision for London where all stakeholders are working together in partnership shall be felt across a whole array of sectors across the capital and beyond and shall help elevate London to its rightful position internationally. Hurrah!”

John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s 24-hour vision for London as serious joined-up thinking on the importance and potential of the night-time economy. As we highlighted in our report Because the Night, a thriving night scene of pubs, music venues, theatre and late-night gallery openings contributes to the vibrancy and success of the wider creative sector.

“Smaller venues nurture and promote emerging talent and allow artists to build a fanbase. The wider range of culture on offer entertains Londoners but also attracts students and tourists, who are so important for the economy. Many creative businesses want to base themselves in towns and cities which can offer this because it helps them attract the staff crucial for their success. But there are serious challenges to after-hours culture including planning and licensing laws, transport and policing. Addressing these with a single vision makes complete sense.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of The ALMR, said: “The Mayor’s proposals to further boost London’s vibrant night-time economy is a welcome recognition of how eating and drinking out contributes to London. It also provides optimism that the innovation and entrepreneurial talents of the sector can be freed to create yet further economic and employment growth, and add to the unique cultural character of the capital.

“Different elements of day- and night-time economies support each other, so a vision that encompasses both will help to optimise not only the offer that London has for citizens and visitors but also how the capital can continue to set the standard for 24-hour cities around the world. A flexible operating environment provides convenience and opportunities for employers, staff and customers and the Mayor’s vision for London can help to provide that flexibility.”

Caroline Artis, Senior London Partner at EY: The Night-time economy is a key component of the overall attractiveness of London, both for foreign direct investment but also in terms of attracting the best talent to live and work in the city. Our research in this area predicts that the night-time economy could add £2bn a year to the London economy by 2030 and could directly support 790,000 jobs across a variety of industries. The opportunities to capitalise on London’s 24 hour economy highlights the need to support this strategy around how best to involve businesses and engage key stakeholder groups to ensure that London remains a vibrant and competitive global city.”

Dr David Lutton, Economic Policy Director at London First, said: Unlocking the 24-hour economy will mean a more vibrant and successful London, delivering billions of pounds for the economy and creating thousands more jobs. So setting out a clear approach for planning and licensing through to freight, deliveries and road use, promises huge benefits for our capital.”

Damion Pell
About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.