Originally, the consultation was set to finish on 7 April 2019, but was extended until 16 May 2019. The reason for the latest extension is to allow for additional responses to be made due to responses being fairly split for and against the introduction of a levy, according to licensing experts Poppleston Allen.
In February, the licensing committee of the London borough of Redbridge agreed to consult on the introduction of a late-night levy, which was due to come into force on 1 October 2019.
At the time, this followed Southwark, which was also consulting on the levy, with plans for that to come into force this September.
The levy is intended to apply to premises licensed (via a premises licence or club premise certificate) to sell or supply alcohol between midnight and 6am. Poppleston Allen said it understood there was no proposal to provide exemptions or reductions.
In February, the licensing specialists said: “As you may also know, the late-night levy was brought into force by the Government a few years ago as a tool for councils to charge an additional fee to operators who are permitted to sell alcohol under their premises licence or club certificate for a period between midnight and 6am.
“Notwithstanding the recent news regarding Southwark and Redbridge’s intentions, to date only 10 councils have the levy in place (half of which are London boroughs) – yet the Government had predicted 80 would opt for a levy.”
Unfit for purpose
On the news of the consultation extension of the Redbridge levy, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The fact the council is having to extend its consultation highlights how unwieldy and unfit for purpose the levy is.
“The levy is a retrograde measure that will only harm businesses in the borough and has already been discredited by the House of Lords.
“It also runs entirely counter to the mayor’s plans to promote London at night. The council should abandon its plans to introduce this additional tax that will only undermine local businesses and make Redbridge a much less attractive place for customers.”