Wetherspoons

Late night levy: JDW to review last call time in Camden venues after council pushes ahead with levy

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

The council voted for a levy despite representations from business owners
The council voted for a levy despite representations from business owners

Related tags: Camden council, Late night levy, 2015, 2016

Wetherspoons will consider whether to stop selling alcohol at midnight in its Camden venues after the borough pushed ahead with controversial plans to introduce a late-night levy (LNL.)

Camden council voted to introduce a levy at a meeting held last night (Monday 27 January 2016) despite heated protests from local operators and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.

A spokesperson from the pub giant stressed the policy was under review.

 Local pub and bar owners have expressed their anger at the council’s decision, with one local venue the Phoenix Artist Club accusing councillors of ‘killing Camden night life.”

“All those residents who apparently so concerned about the mess, noise and ‘sea of vomit’ that late night venues in Camden apparently ‘cause’ can now sit back, enjoy their £3.50 bottles of plonk from Tesco and watch endless reruns of Murder She Wrote.

“The only crime here is the death of independent venues who work incredibly hard to support the community, their employees and their equally hard-working customers.”

Owner Ken Wright told the Publican Morning Advertiser's: "​This levy, along with increases in rent, insurance, living wage and compulsory pension contributions means that what small profit we made in 2015 will vanish in April 2016. We will be unable to continue to support one of our two apprentices and now have to decide which one will lose their position."

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls described Camden council’s decision as ‘very disappointing.’

“Camden council chose to disregard the concerns of hardworking businesses in  their area and who spoke movingly at the meeting about the impact the LNL would have on their teams, customers and communities.

“Every representation made at the hearing, including the one from the ALMR, was from businesses opposed to the levy, who are now faced with shouldering an additional financial burden. We are also fearful that the additional costs may jeopardise the future of voluntary partnership schemes which have been successful in significantly reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

However, Labour leader of Camden council Sarah Hayward argued that the late night levy will cost businesses ‘less than the cost of a pint per day’ and would help fund efforts to deal with the impact of late night drinking.’

Tenants in the area have previously hit out against the plans, arguing that Camden ‘wouldn’t be what it is without a vibrant night-time economy’ and that the funds raised would not be enough to pay for extra police.’

Camden council argues the area experiences higher levels of alcohol related harm than other London boroughs.  

Related topics: Legislation, Licensing law, JD Wetherspoon

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