British Beer & Pub Association calls for Cheltenham to scrap late-night levy

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

BBPA calls for Cheltenham to scrap late-night levy

Related tags Local government

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has urged Cheltenham Borough Council to abolish its late-night levy (LNL) in a response to its latest consultation.

The consultation represents the first time a local authority has consulted on ending a LNL and it comes after the council did not receive the level of revenue it had predicted after it implemented the levy in 2014.

The Cheltenham levy​ required premises that operated between midnight and 6am to contribute towards improving and policing the late-night economy.

The council had originally hoped 218 premises would pay the levy, but only 123 venues paid due to operators changing hours and handing in their licences.

As a result the council collected £76,899 in its first year – less than half the predicted £199,000 

Earlier this year, Cheltenham adopted a business-improvement district (BID), where the majority of businesses liable to pay the LNL were also affected.

In its response to the Cheltenham Borough Council consultation, which ended on 7 November, the BBPA urged the council to focus on the BID.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Small businesses like pubs contribute to the levy, but the funds collected are not reinvested to tackle the particular problems that these small businesses face. Local pubs are already struggling with high business rates, other taxes and red tape, and don’t need this extra tax.

“We will continue to oppose late-night levies, campaigning against them wherever they are proposed. We’ve already seen several big city councils, such as Leeds and Bristol, abandon their late-night levy plans, and it’s encouraging to see that Cheltenham is looking to do the same.”

Cheltenham Borough Council confirmed to The Morning Advertiser​ that there was to be a meeting next week to discuss the issue. It would then be put forward to the council cabinet with a likely decision early next year.

If the council does decide to scrap the LNLs, this would happen on 31 March 2017.  

The BBPA said it would continue to oppose the introduction of LNLs, and instead champion BIDs and other partnership schemes, such as Pubwatch and Best Bar None, that have been shown to be more effective.

Related topics Licensing law

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