Legislation to police the late-night economy
I recently attended my local Pubwatch meeting and a few of the other publicans were talking about something called a late-night levy. It seems that the police are keen to introduce this in my area to curb what they think is an unacceptable level of problems. I do not really understand what this would mean for me although I am concerned about having to spend lots of extra money when I do not cause any of the problems that they are complaining of.
Licensing authorities can introduce what is called a late-night levy to raise funds to contribute to policing the night-time economy. It is an annual charge that must be paid by premises licence holders whose premises licence allows them to sell alcohol between ‘specified hours’. The specified hours will be set by individual councils and will be between midnight and 6am.
If a levy is introduced then the amount you have to pay will be based on the non-domestic rateable value of the premises, and be from £299 up to £4,479 annually. Some councils may allow specific exemptions, for example, if you are only permitted to sell alcohol beyond midnight on New Year’s Eve, or they may offer a reduction if you are in a best practice scheme, such as a Business Improvement District (BID). However, this is down to the individual council.
You may wish to reduce your premises licence hours so you are not permitted to sell alcohol during the specified times and thus avoid the levy. However, when considering changes to your premises licence we would always recommend you take legal advice first. You can see an up-to-date picture on the late-night levy on our website, including current proposals for reform.
I have noticed over recent years more and more premises are applying for temporary event notices (TENs) to allow them to show late-night boxing on the TV. This seems to be an excellent way of drumming up business and doing something a little bit different. I would like to be able to stay open for some boxing this year and serve beer and hot food throughout the night while they watch the bout. Can you let me know how I can go about this?
You will need to check the terms of your premises licence to see whether or not you can stay open and show late-night boxing without the need for a TEN. For example, if you did want to serve hot food between 11pm and 5am, you would need permission for late-night refreshment. If you wanted to serve alcohol you would, of course, need permission for this during the hours that you would like to do so and, although you do not need permission for ‘films’ to show live sporting events, if you are showing old pre-recorded footage as a warm-up beforehand then you would need this permission.
You might also want to think about any other entertainment that you are offering and ensure that, if required, this is included on your licence. Check any non-standard timings on your premises licence to see if you are allowed to stay open later on this particular day by virtue of a non-standard timing, such as extra hours for international sporting events (although check this definition with the police and council if not previously agreed).
If your standard and non-standard hours do not permit you to do what you want to do, or there are restrictive conditions preventing you from operating as you wish, then you should apply for a TEN. Remember you may also need a PPL/PRS licence. There are many events throughout the year that you can make the most of, but remember, you should think about each one carefully to ensure you can operate as you wish.