'Night-time commissioner' could be appointed in Glasgow to help control city's nightlife scene

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A fresh call has been issued for a “night tsar” in Glasgow to oversee the city’s licensed trade.

Glasgow Conservative group leader Thomas Kerr will ask the council to support appointing someone to the role at a meeting this week.

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

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At the time, she said the model was “emerging as the one that is most relevant for Glasgow”. The role would involve championing the city’s nightlife.

A Glasgow SNP group spokesperson said although work had been shelved during the pandemic, a recently-established group will focus on “the best models for ongoing engagement with the sector”.

Cllr Kerr will ask councillors to acknowledge the “huge role of the hospitality trade and night-time industry” plays in the city’s economy and culture and agree it is “vital to support these sectors”.

He believes a “strategic lead to engage and support our night-time economy and work in partnership with the council and the private sector” is required.

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Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said: “Glasgow’s night-time industry is at breaking point and needs urgent support. It is worth billions to the economy in the city and beyond and helps create jobs and opportunities for many people.

“Glasgow has a long-held reputation of being a vibrant city to be in at night-time and I want that to continue. A dedicated night tsar would be able to help shape a positive policy agenda to support struggling businesses and attract people into our city.

“I hope that councillors from across all parties will listen to my calls as well as those from the industry and show Glasgow’s night-time industry that we are on their side.”

He wants a cross-party working group to look at the role and its remit, with final recommendations by the end of this year.

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The SNP group spokesperson said: “Our night-time and hospitality sectors are vital to Glasgow, for the important contributions they make to our economy but also their positive impact on our international reputation as an exciting, vibrant and dynamic city.

“In recent years we have worked extensively with the sector on a model which would best promote our shared agendas. Although this work was shelved due to the pandemic, a dedicated group with key industry involvement to promote Glasgow’s evening and night-time economies has been recently established by the city centre taskforce.

“Part of the early work will focus on the best models for ongoing engagement with the sector on these vital parts of our economy.”

At a local licensing forum meeting in 2019, Cllr Aitken said the night-time commissioner idea had arisen after a number of venue owners contacted her for talks on the state of the industry.

London has had a ‘night tsar’ since 2016, when Amy Lamé was hired by Sadiq Khan, while Andy Burnham appointed Sacha Lord to the role in Manchester in 2018.

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