Seventy per cent of night-time operators face going out of business if they do not get urgent access to cash support from government, Manchester night czar Sacha Lord has warned.

Lord was speaking amid increasing concern that support measures are not reaching businesses quickly enough, and after it emerged only 9% of the money earmarked to help small businesses has so far been paid out by local councils.

Lord, who works with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, said: “I’ve had messages from hundreds of restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels who are struggling, and even at the start of this month, we knew that 70% of operators would not survive if they didn’t have cash in the tills within four weeks.

“I’m very concerned by the lack of financial access available to these businesses.

“Some of what the government has done to support the night time economy is good, but now they really need to get a move on getting the grants out quicker.”

Lord said the amount of paperwork needed to apply for loans and grants was overwhelming, and called for a faster system – or risk seeing some of “our most loved outlets” go under before help arrives.

He suggested when lockdown is relaxed, there could be ‘one in, one out’ measures at venues, and temperature testing on entry.

Lord advised operators to be mindful of potential capacity restrictions at venues.