Workers in the night-time economy should be offered free travel home after late shifts, a city council has said.

A union has called on more local authorities around the country to join Newcastle in ensuring staff get home safely with free taxis after they finish work.

Councillors recently agreed with a motion that new bars should give staff the free service, as part of their licensing conditions.

Lesley Storey, Newcastle City Council’s vibrant city cabinet member, said: “Far too often late-night workers are becoming victims of harassment, unwanted attention and abusive behaviour while travelling home.

“The cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated the problem as many staff working in the service industry simply cannot afford to pay for safe transport home.

“Nobody should ever have to suffer this type of abuse and be left feeling frightened and vulnerable. Women in particular often feel very afraid when walking home alone.

“I am proud we are leading the way in putting measures in place so employers provide free transport home for workers who finish their shifts after 11pm.

“This will give huge reassurances to those who cannot afford taxi fares and often worry about how they will get home safely.”

Bryan Simpson, who represents hospitality workers for the Unite union, said: “Unite is delighted that we’ve made this breakthrough with Newcastle City Council.

“This is part of our mission to protect the city’s hospitality workers when both at work and on their way home from work.

“It is just not right that already low-paid workers have to often spend more than they earn an hour just to get home safely, which is why we’re asking councils and employers across the UK to join with Unite to protect hospitality workers from harm.”