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Tower Hamlets argues late-night levy is necessary to pay £330,000 police bill

By Emily Sutherland , 29-Feb-2016
Last updated on 29-Feb-2016 at 17:49 GMT2016-02-29T17:49:05Z

The council argues businesses must contribute towards police costs
The council argues businesses must contribute towards police costs

Tower Hamlets has become the latest London borough to consult on introducing a late-night levy.

Tower Hamlets council argues that £336,752 is spent every year on extra police presence to deal with problem drinkers at weekends and 200 alcohol-related ambulance call-outs take place in the borough each month.

If a late-night levy was given the green light, the charge would apply to premises that serve alcohol from midnight to 6am and members of the Best Bar None scheme would receive a 30% discount. Operators could have to pay up to £4,400 a year to the local authority.

On its website the council said: "The Government considers businesses that profit from selling alcohol between these hours should contribute towards the costs of managing the night-time economy, rather than relying on other taxpayers in the community to bear the full costs."

Stakeholders will have until Sunday 17 April to give their views. Local community organisation, the Spitalfields Society, said the levy would "be a welcome relief to the constant antisocial behaviour in some parts of the area". However, trade bodies have long argued the late-night levy to be an unfair burden on local businesses and threatens the work of schemes like Best Bar None.

Camden council confirmed it would introduce a levy at the start of this year, despite fierce opposition from locals and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.

One local bar owner told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser that the combined impact of the levy, rent increases and the living wage had wiped out his profits and meant he could no longer employ two apprentices.

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