Members of the trade have been left angered after an article in The Times seemed to suggest that pubs and bars raise less than £1m towards policing a year in its headline.
The article, however, is talking about pubs in local authorities (LA) that have adopted late-night levies – of which there are eight, out of 350, across the country.
The article used information from the Home Office, which stated eight LAs had a late-night levy in place as of 31 March 2017 – based on data received from 98% of LAs (343 out of 350).
The amount raised by late-night levies across all eight LAs, which includes estimated figures provided by some LAs, was around £1.8m in the year ending 31 March 2017, the Government body confirmed.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has refuted the article and said it was "nonsense" on Twitter.
"Hospitality businesses pay £21 billion in taxes that go towards funding public services, including police forces across the UK.
“The revelation that late night levies around the country have raised only £1 million, is a measure of how unfit for purpose the tax is, rather than how much or little hospitality businesses raise. Levies are an extra tax above and beyond the considerable tax burden the sector already faces.
“It should also be noted that many venues contribute to local partnership schemes aimed at improving the night-time economy and ensuring that customers and staff members remain safe. Any assertion that pubs and bars do not pay their way is not only false, but disingenuous also.”
The ALMR has often criticised councils that have introduced, or have proposed to introduce, late-night levies by warning that there is a real "danger that businesses will suffer".
In November, the Government rejected the proposal to scrap the late-night levy, saying that the scheme "enables local authorities to collect a financial contribution from businesses that profit from selling alcohol late at night to contribute towards the cost of late-night policing and other costs associated with the night-time economy".
However, this decision “hugely disappointed” the ALMR and the British Beer & Pub Association.