Almost all councils (92%) believe that the night time economy will play an important role in preventing the decline of high street retail, a new study by the Local Government Information Unit and Portman Group reveals.

Jonathan Carr West, Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit, said:

“With customers spending more time and money online, a varied night-time economy could be a life-belt to the beleaguered high street. Encouraging activities and venues that appeal to a wide range of people is, rightly, important to local councillors. A national strategy would help councils get the best out of the night-time economy, to the benefit of everyone in the community.”

John Timothy, CEO of the Portman Group added:

“Partnership working between the police, businesses, local authorities and other stakeholders is already happening in communities up and down the country to make the night time economy safer and more inclusive. This is crucial at a time when we know our high streets are changing, with online retailers challenging traditional operators and more shops standing empty. We need to further develop these models of partnership working to deliver vibrant night time environments that can help revive and retain our much-loved high streets and town centres as well as boosting the local economy.”

In a survey to senior official and politician decision-makers within English local authorities, three quarters (74%) of councils said they saw developing their night time economy as a key priority or important, yet only 1 in 5 (22%) councils have a dedicated night time economy strategy. This strengthens the argument for a national level policy for the night-time economy; three quarters of councils said they would welcome a system to help them share best practice across the country.

While antisocial behaviour and crime is a major issue in the night time economy (with 72% of councils placing it in their top three challenges) 9 in 10 councils (88%) treat their area’s night time economy as a way of supporting local businesses and job creation.

Partnership working is essential in supporting a vibrant night time economy, say 8 in 10 councils (79%), with local businesses (95%) and the police (93%) named as key partners by almost all councils.

You can read the full report here.