Milton Keynes rejects late-night levy

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Late-night levy Milton keynes Buckinghamshire

Late-night levy: Milton Keynes has rejected implementing a late-night levy
Late-night levy: Milton Keynes has rejected implementing a late-night levy
Pubs, clubs and bars in Milton Keynes may not be subject to paying a late-night levy, after the licensing sub-committee recommended that such a fee should not be adopted.

A late-night levy would have meant that venues that are authorised to supply alcohol between 1am and 6am would have been subject to an annual fee.

According to licensing law firm John Gaunt & Partners, the vote was very close because there was a lack of representation from local businesses.

John Gaunt & Partners’ website said: “The low response rate from businesses and the meagre attendance were remarked upon more than once.”

Only two businesses were present in person at the meeting – JD Wetherspoon and a representative for petrol stations.

Falling crime

Martin Rawlings, former British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) director of pubs and leisure, addressed the committee as a resident of Milton Keynes and quoted his experience in licensing over many years. Rawlings is now a consultant to John Gaunt & Partners.

In opposing the plans to introduce the levy Rawlings highlighted the very significant fall in crime in Milton Keynes (from 916 in April 2011 to 410 2013); the unjust nature of the levy; and the more effective partnership working which can be achieved through Pubwatch, Best Bar None and particularly the value that a Business Improvement Bid (BID) might bring.

John Gaunt & Partners added: “If the trade wants to ensure that the recommendation is adopted by the full licensing committee they should turn up on Wednesday 18 September at the Civic Centre. 

“You will be offered the opportunity to speak if you want to. It is not too late to write/email the Council to support the decision.”

In June, Milton Keynes Council deferred making a decision.

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council said: "The licensing sub-committee today resolved a recommendation to the licensing committee that a late-night levy not be adopted for Milton Keynes.

"The licensing committee will consider this recommendation in due course, at its meeting on 18 September 2013."

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “It’s encouraging news to see another local authority stepping back from the late-night levy. It’s clear that the message on partnership working, and on avoiding damage to jobs and town centre business, is getting through to councillors.”

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