One in 10 Newcastle licensees reduce hours to avoid late-night levy

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags City council Late-night levy Newcastle city council License

In total 240 premises contribute towards the late-night levy in Newcastle
In total 240 premises contribute towards the late-night levy in Newcastle
Just one in 10 licensees in Newcastle applied to reduce their premises’ hours in order to avoid paying a late-night levy, new figures have revealed.

Newcastle City Council said 135 premises applied to reduce their hours to avoid paying the levy since it approved proposals for the fee in June 2013. It said the “majority have been to remove non-standard timings which were not utilised, some have been to alter conditions to take advantage of exemptions and some have been a reduction in [standard] hours.”

A further 24 premises surrendered their licences after the levy was introduced in 1 November 2013, but the authority said these were not just limited to licences liable to pay the fee.

In October 2014 the authority refused JD Wetherspoon’s attempt to dodge the fee by cutting back its hours at three pubs. The managed pub operator is still considering whether to appeal the decision.

Newcastle City Council provided the data following a Freedom of Information request submitted by licensing law firm Poppleston Allen.

In total 240 premises contribute towards the levy in Newcastle (as of 7 October 2014) and 130 of those receive a 30% discount due to being involved in a best practice scheme. The city has around 1,174 licensed premises in total.


The council said it would publish the revenue raised from the levy shortly; it previously estimated this would amount to between £300,000 and £400,000.

However, Poppleston Allen said recent council figures based on estimates suggest it will cost £18,000 to administer the levy in 2014/2015 - £6,000 more than the authority had previously predicted.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said out of an anticipated income of £196,000 (70% of the total), £36,000 would be spent on taxi marshals, £9,000 on street pastors, £42,000 on club scan units, £40,000 on CCTV and £69,000 on police operations.

Newcastle City Council said it has not yet spent its 30% share of the proceeds but the Licensing Advisory Panel – a group set up to monitor the use of the money - has discussed accumulating the funds for larger projects. 

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