If the decision is upheld by the full Council in June, the levy will apply to all premises in the London borough licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am. It will commence on 1 October 2014.
The committee spent 30 minutes considering the levy at a hearing this afternoon, following the launch of a modified consultation that closed in early April. The council had launched an initial consultation on the fee in June 2013, but resolved to carry out a further round in order to adopt some of the responses.
Of the 747 licensed premises in the borough, the council’s LNL report estimates that 290 premises will have to pay the levy if no exemptions or reduction are permitted, which would raise a total income of £475,000.
A 30% discount in the levy will be granted to premises that have shown they operate at the standard required to achieve the City of London ‘Safety Thirst’ award, which is given to pubs and clubs “who make safety a priority”. There will be no exemption on New Year’s Eve.
There were 70 responses to the consultation, including 18 from premises licensed to sell alcohol after midnight and 16 from premises with a license to sell alcohol up to midnight. 67% of responses were in favour of introducing a levy.
The City of London police said its share of the money (70%) will cover the costs associated with licensing hearings, advice and objections to Temporary Event Notices, estimated as costing between £20,000 and £30,000 per year, as well as funding three additional officers to run an ‘action team’ within the police licensing team. These officers will actively target licensed premises that have been identified as responsible for the majority of crime or disorder.
If approved, the City of London will be the fourth local authority to implement a late-night levy, following Newcastle, Cheltenham and Islington.
Last week a survey from Poppleston Allen showed that the number of licensing authorities in England and Wales considering the introduction of a late-night levy has fallen sharply.