NIGHTCLUB owners are warning the industry is ‘drowning’ as they issued a desperate plea for help.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland Commission has written an open letter demanding more financial help as the industry has remained shut for over a year.

Michael Grieve, chair of the NTIA Scotland Commission and owner of Sub Club said: “Enough is enough.

“Our sector is drowning in a sea of debt as rent and other costs keep being incurred.”

The nightlife body believes thousands of business have been “condemned” to “bankruptcy with all the human, economic, cultural and social consequences that entails”.

The letter addressed to the Scottish Government added: “We stand ready to work with you to avoid our sector’s Armageddon!”

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Mr Grieve said: “There is despair that not only don’t we have a road map to reopening, but we have a cliff edge at the end of April when what little financial support there is comes to an end and the ­restrictions carry on.

“We need more financial help and we need it to continue until we can fully re-open.

“The nature of our businesses means that we can’t operate sustainably with any form of social distancing and restrictions.

“We take no pleasure in setting that out. But it’s a commercial and economic reality that has to be faced.”

The NTIA has fears over the impact of the loss of financial support without clear guidance on the reopening of the sector.

No indicative dates have been announced for the possible reopening of nightclubs in Scotland. Hospitality has been given the go-ahead to open from April 26, but pubs and restaurants will not be able to serve alcohol indoors until May 17.

Social distancing constraints, as well as limited operating hours, will prevent most of the business from training sustainably, the ­letter added.

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Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: “At least in other parts of the UK we have a glimmer of hope in the form of a clearly set out roadmap.

“I urge the Scottish Government to review their treatment of large parts of our sector.

“It is simply unconscionably unfair to let night time businesses fail in the form of a long slow decline into debt and bankruptcy when they are not to blame in any way and have consistently tried to work ­constructively with the Scottish Government.”