Student tuition fees and the smoking ban are killing off British nightclubs

Raffles clubGettyA general view as Shingai Shoniwa and Dan Smith of the Noisettes launch their new single in Raffles Club called ‘That Girl” on August 15, 2012 in London, United Kingdom.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents licenced hospitality venues, revealed that the number of British nightclubs fell to just 1,733, from 3,144 in 2005.

In turn, because it is a large employer of Britons aged 18-24 years old, this has hurt the youth employment sector.

Nightclub managers are mainly blaming the rise in student tuition fees and the smoking ban for the closure of the venues as its target audience are poorer and therefore are finding other places or drinking at home.

“I don’t think the number of people going clubbing at the weekend is any different to where it was 20 years ago, but I do think they are going to different places,” said Logan Presencer, the boss of iconic club chain, Ministry of Sound, to the BBC.

“With the advent of later pub opening hours, the smoking ban, student tuition fees and the squeeze that a lot people are under financially since the recession,” he explains, “I think people are finding different ways and different places to go out.”

Tuition fees for university used to be capped at £1,000 ($US1,549) per year, from 1998 to 2004. However, the cap was lifted and the government said that universities can charge students up to £9,000 ($US13,941) per year. Currently, 64 universities charge that full amount, while 59 charge at least £6,000 ($US9,294) per year.

Meanwhile, the smoking ban from public venues, such as pubs, nightclubs, and restaurants, was enacted in 2007 and is still largely being blamed for the dwindling number of these types of venues.

The ALMR warned that more closures of nightclubs could also impact Britons’ youth employment sector in the longer run, due to its large intake of youngsters.

Last year, nightclubs “generated 37,000 new jobs with over 80% of these for 18-24 year olds.” According to the Office for National Statistics, 729,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in March to May 2015.

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