Late-night levy

Call for alcohol taxation to replace late-night levy

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Green Party calls for all alcohol tax to replace late-night levy

Related tags: Late-night levy, Councillor

Green Party councillors have called for an alternative to the late-night levy in which a proportion of all alcohol taxation would go towards improving the night-time economy.

Late-night levies require licensed venues operating between midnight and 6am to pay an additional tax, but a proposal from the Greens on Brighton & Hove City Council have called for taxes from all alcohol sales, including cheap supermarket booze, to be devolved to local authorities.

Late-night levies often face fierce opposition from pubs, so the spreading of the financial burden to tackle alcohol-related problems and policing the late-night economy could prove popular in the industry.

Council mulls options

The move comes as Brighton & Hove Council is considering introducing a late-night levy on pubs and clubs in the city. 

The Greens have claimed the levy presents practical difficulties and high administration costs, while failing to target supermarkets and off-licences where revellers can purchase cheap alcohol at any time of day, in order to 'pre-load' before a night out.  

Green councillor and spokesperson for licensing Lizzie Deane said: "We are not advocating that the council abandons the possibility of introducing the late-night levy, indeed far from it - it is, after all, the only offer on the table for tackling alcohol-related issues.

'Flawed'

“However, we believe the concept is flawed, and would suggest there are easier ways to raise money to tackle alcohol-related issues. I am really not surprised that it has had a very low take-up nationally.”

Green councillors and campaigners stress the need for action following the release of the Brighton & Hove Health Profile​ in June 2015, which showed the city is performing worse than other local authorities in relation to alcohol-related hospital admissions, alcohol-poisoning and alcohol-related violent crime and disorder. 

Deane continued: "We recognise concerns expressed by local venues that the late-night levy could damage the night-time economy by increasing their costs. We like to support our pubs as we believe they offer a safer environment in which to drink and be entertained.

Bargain-priced alcohol

“We therefore believe that a fair and proportionate means of collecting additional revenue is necessary to fund the significant antisocial behaviour caused by alcohol misuse and binge-drinking. This means targeting all businesses selling alcohol, including supermarkets, whose bargain-priced alcohol fuels many of these problems.”

The funding would be used to strengthen late-night policing in areas of high concentrations of late-night venues, and support preventive programmes for tackling alcohol-related harm.

"We are keen to promote responsible drinking and want to support the late-night economy. However, we believe the late-night levy is not the best way to raise the funds necessary to police it effectively, and that it is within the Government's gift to make it fairer and simpler all round," Deane added.

Brighton & Hove’s Council's chief executive has asked the minister for policing, crime and criminal justice, Mike Penning MP, to devolve a proportion of revenue raised from the £10bn of taxation on alcohol sales, to local police and crime commissioners and directors of public health.

Related topics: Legislation

Related news

Show more