Night tsar might ‘not be best fit’ for Glasgow night life

Bailie Thomas Kerr, Conservative, initially asked Glasgow City Council to back appointing someone to the role, but there was cross-party support for an investigation into the “best model” instead.

Back in 2019, council leader Susan Aitken suggested a night-time commissioner — similar to one in place in Manchester — could be introduced in Glasgow.

At a full council meeting yesterday, she said the “thinking on that moved on”. Trade representatives and council officials visited Manchester but preferred a “collective voice and collective forum”, she said.

“Not least because the night-time industry isn’t monolithic,” Cllr Aitken said. “There are a range of views and a range of different approaches across that particular sector and they wanted that to be reflected.”

The agreed motion noted previous talks with the sector on a ‘night tsar’ post, and called for a cross-party working group to be set up to look at the “best models for sector engagement and leadership”.

It will make recommendations by the end of the year.

Bailie Kerr said: “Glasgow’s night-time economy and nightlife is iconic, world-renowned and a global draw.

“But right now it is struggling, the covid pandemic took a huge toll on hospitality and on the night-time industry, inflation has had a massive say on what’s gone on, war in Europe which has meant energy prices have gone up and a change in attitude from many young people.”

He added the council must “accept we don’t have all the answers and listen to experts in the industry”. “We must listen to hospitality and the nightclub owners to try and move this city forward.”

Cllr Angus Millar, SNP, convener for city centre recovery, said previous engagement on a ‘night tsar’ revealed “a range of views on potential models and a prevailing sense that for various reasons those such as models in place in for example Aberdeen or Manchester would not be the best fit for Glasgow”.

“Instead it was felt a more collaborative model, bringing together voices across the sector would be a better way to progress the shared actions to support the night-time economy.”

Workers will also be represented when the group meets, with the council seeking a member from the Unite Hospitality union branch.

Cllr Dan Hutchison, Greens, said workers must be represented in discussions to reflect their experiences, while Cllr Holly Bruce, Greens, said public transport needs “to be more affordable, accessible, convenient and safe”.

“It should be an essential part of the night-time economy’s recovery,” she added.

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