Night-time economy returns but cost-of-living crisis could hit growth
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk's night-time economy is returning to pre-Covid levels but people are spending less on a night out, according to a bar owner.
Pubs, bars and nightclubs have endured a torrid time over the past two years, with Covid-enforced restrictions playing havoc with their livelihoods.
Some venues closed and will not be seen again, but revellers in the county are beginning to return in numbers to town centres – which is welcome news for business owners.
But rising costs across the board could signal further pain for nightspot owners as people in the county begin to "feel the pinch".
Just last week, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce called for an emergency budget that delivers a "pro-business programme" to help companies, particularly start-ups, thrive in the county.
Wes Roper, boss of Verve Bar and Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds, said he believes levels are getting back to pre-coronavirus levels.
"In terms of Covid, I would say, yes they are," he said. "I think it's been mitigated by the fact that the cost of living has increased quite significantly and people are starting to feel the pinch.
"Those who are coming out are very much after a deal. Their desire to drink more expensive products is probably decreasing.
"The number of people coming is still quite good but the amount they are spending is probably decreasing."
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Leyla Edwards, who manages The Club in Ipswich, said it was a similar picture in Suffolk's county town.
"It seems to be really busy. We've had some record weeks the last few weeks so that's been amazing," she said.
"A lot of people are mentioning the cost of living crisis so I think that is becoming more of an issue for people."
Speaking at the Suffolk police and crime commissioner's accountability and performance panel meeting on Friday, Chief Constable Steve Jupp said policing levels are being reviewed as the county's nightlife returns to what it was before the pandemic.
He said: "We've all seen a change post-pandemic, some places have shut, some new ones have emerged, There are slightly different public behaviours.
"We feel pretty much now, from our experience, that the night-time economy is back to a level that it was before."