The council was due to decide on the levy on March 23, however, the meeting to confirm this has now been pushed back to 21 July.
Prior to the summer meeting, the council will now run a one-month consultation throughout June, inviting comments on introducing a possible business improvement district (BID).
Gloucester City Council said that the levy is still an option for the city’s licensed premises and that it could run alongside the BID.
Both the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) had previously urged Gloucester City Council to follow neighbouring Cheltenham’s example and adopt a BID instead of a late-night levy.
Levy is ‘blunt and ineffective’
The ALMR has welcomed the postponement decision. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “A late-night levy in Gloucester will place additional financial strain on businesses without any guarantee of successfully tackling perceived problems.”
She said that a move away from the levy, which she called “a blunt and ineffective tool” towards closer partnership working would be very welcome.
“The ALMR has been an advocate of greater emphasis on partnership and voluntary schemes and we will continue to liaise with the council to recommend a BID in favour of a levy that will undermine investment in the area,” Nicholls said.
Industry bodies prefer BID
The introduction of a BID would mean that all businesses in a defined area must pay a charge, which differs from a late-night levy that would only be paid by late-night-opening businesses.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I am pleased that Gloucester City Council has chosen to defer the decision to implement a late-night levy and consider a BID as an alternative course of action.
“Our response to Gloucester’s consultation made clear that a BID is an example of effective partnership working and will engage local businesses to help improve the local economy. In contrast, a levy is a punitive new tax on already hard-pressed local businesses."
Simmonds highlighted the example of Cheltenham, which brought in a late-night levy in 2014 but recently abolished it in favour of existing partnership schemes, including the business improvement district.