- "With no help from the government and after having talks with the landladies they are refusing to reduce the rent until the virus is dealt with," owner Kieran Canavan said.
Canavan's Peckham Pool Club will be closing for good tonight at 10 PM.
Owner Kieran Canavan announced on Facebook Thursday evening that the Rye Lane venue would close its doors for the last time on Friday, September 25th, at 10 PM, referencing the new Covid-19-related curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants. "With no help from the government and after having talks with the landladies they are refusing to reduce the rent until the virus is dealt with," wrote Canavan, who took over the venue in 2011 and made it a nightlife destination. "I cannot afford to pay three months rent in advance in this situation. After paying my rent every quarter on time for the past ten years, this is a very hard pill to swallow, but such is life."
"As you know we are a nighttime club and only get busy after 10 PM—there is no way I can survive," he added. Canavan's hosted a mix of student events and club nights, and most notably was the first home of local party and eventual label Rhythm Section—read founder Bradley Zero's tribute to the venue here.
As the closure news was shared yesterday evening, it's clear Canavan's mention of "no help from the government" is referencing chancellor Rishi Sunak's Thursday announcement about the UK government's new "jobs support scheme" as its furlough and self-employed schemes come to an end next month. Sunak says the next support phase, which hinges on the government covering 22 percent of wages for workers who fulfil one-third of their contracted hours over six months, is aimed at retaining what he calls "viable jobs" in the UK.
"We need to create new opportunities and allow the economy to move forward and that means supporting people to be in viable jobs which provide genuine security," Sunak said Thursday. When pressed on what is a "viable job," Sunak said, "It's not for me to sit here and make pronouncements upon exactly what job is viable or not, but what we do need to do is evolve our support now that we're through the acute phase of the crisis... I believe it is right thing to do to concentrate that support on jobs that have a genuine prospect, of being viable and providing long-term security for those employees."
The creative nighttime industries, which have largely been unable to operate since March as government pandemic regulations have not allowed nightclubs, venues and live music spaces to reopen without major changes, are denouncing the government's lack of extended support. Night Czar Amy Lamé tweeted the new scheme "does not go far enough" to support the nighttime economy. "Ongoing support for jobs is welcome, but it will not be enough to save businesses in London's retail, hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors," she said. "Many of these businesses can't afford to keep people on even part-time, with London's nightclubs, theatres and music venues that operate late at night unable to reopen at all." Lamé pledged she and mayor Sadiq Khan will "continue to press the government for urgent sector specific support."
Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) chief executive Michael Kill also decried Sunak's scheme in an op-ed for iNews, saying the chancellor has "completely exile[d] the entire nighttime sector." "The current new measures clearly only consider businesses that are open and operating either fully or at limited capacity," he wrote. "What use are tax measures and extended support for working staff, when you are not allowed to open?"
Kill also urged the government to reconsider the 10 PM curfew: "Night-time economy businesses have also been unfairly targeted by the new 10 PM curfew, which we believe has no scientific basis and will prevent businesses from rebuilding the necessary revenue to stay afloat." Read the full opinion piece here.
In July, the government announced a one-off £1.57 billion relief package for the arts and cultural sectors, though it wasn't until the #LetUsDance campaign by the nightlife industry and community that it was clear clubs and festivals would be eligible for grants. Arts Council England then led the application process for £500 million of the grant set aside for cultural organisations. Venues that received the aid included Corsica Studios, EartH, FOLD, Soup Kitchen and The Deaf Institute.