The research showed that 333 of the 348 licensing authorities surveyed, or 95.7%, were unlikely to propose implementation of a levy – a considerable rise from the 152 authorities in the 2012 survey conducted by the licensing law firm.
In addition, some authorities stated that they did not believe that the “maximum 30% levy revenue available to them would justify implementation of a levy, although a number of consultations have considered setting up joint programmes of expenditure in partnership with the local police in order to effectively address problems associated with the night time economy”.
It concluded that, for many councils, the levy “would not be a financially-viable option when balanced with the administrative burden and the exemptions and discounts that may be applied”.
However, according to Poppleston Allen partner Clare Eames, many licensing officers confirmed that they would be monitoring the effectiveness of the UK’s first late-night levy, which was implemented in Newcastle last November.
Eames also believed the pub industry’s response to the levy “has not been as strong as it could be”.
She said: “While the trade bodies and larger operators have put up strong defences, it is a numbers game. Islington was a prime example of this, as the relatively small response from the trade as a whole against when set against the huge response in favour of the levy meant the operator’s voice was diminished.”
The Poppleston Allen report comes as a consultation for a late-night levy opened in Southampton. Running until 30 July, the consultation covers a range of activities on how a levy might be spent, including night-time economy management, taxi marshalling, street pastors and CCTV improvements.
Eames said: “The Southampton situation is an interesting one. They've clearly spent time thinking about how they can improve the late night economy with funds raised, rather than simply setting out their intention to introduce the Levy.”