Licensees' fury at proposed tax bills

Related tags Licensees Police Council of the european union Middlesbrough

The trade is up in arms at news that licensees could be asked to fork out thousands of pounds in extra taxes. Middlesbrough council is planning to...

The trade is up in arms at news that licensees could be asked to fork out thousands of pounds in extra taxes.

Middlesbrough council is planning to bring in tough new planning policies that will make it more difficult for pubs to open in the town centre.

In order to gain planning permission, pubs could be asked to put up cash towards measures to combat nuisance.

This could cost as much as £10,000 depending on the size of the outlet and its opening hours, a council spokesman said. And existing licensees who are looking to expand their premises and need to apply for planning permission could also be hit with a bill.

A spokesman for the council's planning department told that the proposals had been suggested because local residents were fed up with the amount of litter, noise and disturbance.

He said the cash would be used to pay for more police, town centre wardens and measures to make the streets safer such as the installation of CCTV. "It's a fair system," he added. "Those who pollute the most, will pay the most."

But licensees in the town are outraged. They say the trade already pays enough in business taxes and cannot afford to contribute anymore.

Sue Sweetman, who runs Scruffy Murphy's, said: "It's absolutely outrageous. In fact it's scandalous. We have enough taxes to pay. It's unbelievable. Licensees are definitely getting the short end of the stick."

Greg Cromack at the Rat and Parrot agreed. "We're absolutely against this," he said. "It's ludicrous."

But it's not just Middlesbrough licensees who are worried. Publicans all over the country now fear that other councils will follow suit.

Tony Payne of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations said he was shocked by the plans. "Licensees shouldn't have to pay this," he said.

"They already have to pay high business rates. Licensees shouldn't be held responsible for council budgeting shortcomings and police problems."

This latest demand for cash comes after the Home Office published its Police Reform white paper in December, which suggested that licensees should pay for extra police officers to help tackle crime.


Would you be willing to pay extra taxes if it meant more policing and street cleaning for your area? Vote now in our latest poll and let us know what you think.

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