Tower Hamlets to implement late-night levy

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Disappointment: Tower Hamlets will implement a late-night levy to start in 2018
Disappointment: Tower Hamlets will implement a late-night levy to start in 2018

Related tags Late-night levy City of london London borough of tower hamlets London borough

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets will introduce a late-night levy (LNL) on 1 January 2018.

The council ratified the implementation last week at a council meeting to the dismay of the pub sector that said its implementation would put more pressure on the sector.

The levy will apply to all businesses that sell alcohol between midnight and 6am.  According to the council businesses will pay between £5.75 and £85.38 per week, depending on their size and rateable value of the premises. 

The levy will be collected by the council’s environmental health and trading standards team at the same time as they collect the annual fee from all licensed premises.

The borough said it plans to offer exemptions to some businesses such as hotels, theatres and cinemas, community premises (including sports clubs) and premises open after midnight on New Year’s Eve only.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: "The borough has a vibrant night-time economy, which we want to support. The LNL is a way to ensure a financial contribution from businesses that sell alcohol between midnight and 6am is ring-fenced for this purpose.

"This will ensure, as a council, we can then tackle antisocial behaviour through the work of our antisocial behaviour officers and police to reduce alcohol-related crime. We are keen to hear from businesses and residents about our proposals."

Poppleston Allen partner Jonathan Smith said: “In order for premises to avoid the requirement to pay the LNL, free minor variation applications to reduce the licensed hours of the premises licence will be accepted by the licensing authority from the 25 September 2017 to 18 December 2017.”

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Obviously, this is a very disappointing decision from Tower Hamlets council, one that will put further financial pressure on valuable businesses in the area. The levy will stifle investment, put jobs and risk and could ultimately see venues close.

“The decision is even more disappointing given the House of Lords committee reviewing the Licensing Act acknowledged that the levy is unfit for purpose and recommended that it be abandoned altogether.”

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds agreed: “This is very disappointing and will damage the economy of a vibrant, inner London borough with a beer and pub sector that employs over 2,800 people – a point we had made very clear to the council on two occasions.

“Other authorities have turned away from a levy, and a recent House of Lords report has concluded that the late-night levy has “failed to reach its objectives and should be abolished”.

“When it comes to addressing any issues in the night-time economy, there are far better solutions than this punishing new tax on local business, such as business improvement districts.”


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