Greater Manchester awarded funding to improve understanding of night time economy

A £300,000 fund has been awarded from the Treasury’s Economic Data Innovation Fund (EDIF) to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and partners to help develop new datasets and analysis of the night time economy.

A consortium of public bodies – the GMCA, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) – will work together to improve data collection and analysis of the night time economy through a national pilot scheme.

The night time economy, only recently part of wider economic studies, contributed £93.7 billion to the UK economy in 2023, according to report published last year by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). This was down from 5.1 percent and £116.1 billion in 2019.

The Economic Data Innovation Fund (EDIF) is a fund from His Majesty’s Treasury to support high growth research and development companies, bringing new approaches to analysing economic data.

The funding won by GMCA, and other public bodies, is a practical example of increased devolution powers by both GMCA and WMCA through their respective deeper devolution deals. The deal gives local leaders control over spending on devolved areas, marking a new chapter for English devolution. 

This enables devolved government bodies, such as the GMCA, to better plan and fund investment to create a fairer, greener and better-connected Greater Manchester.

The funding will be used for three strands of work. Initially, it will be used to create new Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes for businesses associated with the night time economy. This new classification will help provide better data to inform economic policy.

The fund will also be used to develop a data model to track the night time economy of regions in the UK and help develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to help identify trends within successful planning applications and night-time businesses.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The night time economy is an important and diverse part of Greater Manchester’s wider economy, and deserves to be treated with the same rigour as other sectors. This funding will help us collect data and carry out more sophisticated analysis, allowing us to tailor and strengthen the support we provide to the sector. With businesses facing challenges on a number of fronts, including the cost-of-living crisis and increased energy costs, providing the right support for the night time economy is vital. We look forward to working with the WMCA, the ONS and the Government on the project.”

Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, said: ‘I’m really pleased to be working with the West Midlands Combined Authority, ONS and DLUHC. So often the night time economy is overlooked and doesn’t receive the support it needs and deserves. Producing more detailed data will give us better insights on the night time economies of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, allowing us to better understand the sectors and target our support accordingly. Developing an AI model will be a ground-breaking pilot for the UK and allow us to identify trends in planning and business which will be crucial to the future of the sector.

"We are excited to collaborate with DLUHC and ONS on delivering meaningful, timely work toward a better connected and better understood sector.

“This will lay the foundations for focused and detailed work, as well as, I hope, support the many hard-working and brilliant organisations already engaged with moving this vital sector forward.”

Becky Tinsley, ONS Local Lead, said: “The ONS Local service is our bespoke offer to local, regional, and national leaders. We provide analytical support, advice on how to navigate the current landscape of available data and capability-building activities.

“A crucial part of our work is to deliver bespoke projects to fill local data gaps - such as on the important topic of the night time economy. Close working with other bodies enables local information and expertise to be combined with granular data to maximise analytical insight, leading to better decision making locally.”

Article Published: 21/03/2024 17:18 PM