Licensing

Industry slams Liverpool late-night levy decision

By James Evison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Trade anger: Liverpool has agreed to implement a late-night levy policy
Trade anger: Liverpool has agreed to implement a late-night levy policy

Related tags: Late-night levy, Licensed multiple retailers, Liverpool, Cheshire, Liverpool city council

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and British Beer & Pub Association have described the move by Liverpool City Council to implement a late-night levy as "disappointing" and questioned if the local authority has the powers to implement it without further consultation

Liverpool City Council (LCC) decided to put an late-night levy (LNL) in place after extensive consultation and an initial refusal earlier in the year.

In a damning comment, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls described the move as an "extremely disappointing decision" for the city's night-time economy, which was "strongly opposed" to the levy in the 2015 consultation by the local authority.

Explicitly overridden

Nicholls said: "We are particularly concerned that the council has ignored its own licensing committee's calls for more detailed police evidence and spending proposals, and that it has explicitly overridden the call not to start the levy at the earliest possible hour.

"Late-night levies do not raise as much [money] as predicted by over-optimistic councils and have a deleterious effect on trade and custom in the late-night economy.

"We will be exploring all possible options to oppose this levy but, in the meantime, urge the council to follow the example of nearby Cheshire East Council, which recently opted against a levy."

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds echoed Nicholls' call, also stating the move was disappointing and pointing to the previous consultation on the issue.

“Liverpool’s licensing committee had rejected a levy in March, after extensive consultation. Other major cities, such as Bristol and Leeds, have also rejected a levy, which will damage the city economy."

Challenging decision

Simmonds also pointed to the legal ramifications of the decision, stating the BBPA was looking at "whether the council can reintroduce the measure in this way, without further consultation".

She continued: “Pubs are already struggling with high business rates, high beer duty and red tape. This will also undermine partnership schemes between local business, the council and police, which can produce very positive results.”

Related topics: Licensing law

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