Leading lights in the late-night sector have joined forces to launch a new trade union aimed at promoting the positive effects of the industry and seeking to halt encroaching regulation, M&C Report can reveal.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is being led by Alan D Miller, co-founder of Old Truman Brewery and chief executive of the Vibe Bar for nearly 20 years. Other founders members include Steve Ball of the Columbo Group, Alex Proud of The Proud Group, Jonathan Downey of Rushmore Group and Aaron Mellor of Tokyo Industries.

Miller told M&C Report that the motivation behind the launch was the feeling that the late-night sector had become a scapegoat for local authorities.

He said: “There was a change about three or four years ago. Prior to that I would say most responsible operators had a good relationship with the police and the council. But something changed and all of a sudden there seemed to be an agenda that the answer to the ills of humanity was more regulation for the late-night sector.

“It has spread very quickly – a year ago the idea of breathalysers on doors seemed like a joke but now it’s increasingly a reality. Where does that end?

“Late-night venues are blamed for the actions that can occur in and around them in a way that other venues aren’t. People get drunk and cause trouble at Ascot every year but no one suggests regulation is the answer, there are fights and crime in shopping centres all over the country but there’s no campaign to close them down.

“The UK is world renowned for being at the cutting edge of music, the arts and fashion but the late-night sector is where that talent was bred. That needs to be recognised and protected.”

Miller said the group would be lobbying all political parties in the run-up to the election to seek assurances that they would support the late-night sector.

The NTIA will also commission and publish research highlighting the benefits of the sector from an economic, cultural and urban regeneration point of view. It will also campaign for legislation to protect music venues from vexatious complaints and provide a framework for sharing best practice amongst operators.

Former Best Bar None chair Philip Kolvin will provide discounted help to members, Miller said.

Promoter Sir Harvey Goldsmith will also sit on the board.

He said: “The night time industry is the life blood of music and entertainment in the UK. The night time economy is also very important to the economy of cities and towns. It is where the next generation of talent develops. We need to encourage our entrepreneurs and make sure we do not stifle creativity by imposing overly restrictive measures on one of Britain’s most productive sectors.”

To find out more about the NTIA go to www.ntia.co.uk.