Late-night levy ‘ignores values of Redbridge pubs’

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Disappointing move: Redbridge council has moved closer to implementing a late-night levy
Disappointing move: Redbridge council has moved closer to implementing a late-night levy

Related tags: Late night levy, London

An east London council has moved closer to adopting a late-night levy in a move pub campaigners have said ignores needs of the sector.

Redbridge's licensing committee approved plans to charge businesses that sell alcohol between the hours of 12.01am and 6am.

Venues could be charged between £5 and £85 per week depending on a business’s size and the rateable value of its premises.

The council ran a consultation on the idea last year and said almost three quarters of respondents (74%) were in favour of the levy.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was one of the voices to criticise the move and said it was unfair for pubs already struggling with difficult seasonal trading conditions. 

Disappointing move

CAMRA regional director for London Geoff Strawbridge said: “This is a really disappointing move from Redbridge councillors, which will no doubt be badly received by local licensees and pubgoers. 

“Late-night levies are a blunt instrument that tax all venues equally, regardless of whether they are creating issues in the local night-time economy. This completely ignores the social and community value of pubs. 

“January is a very tough time year for publicans, when trade usually dips. 

“The news that the council has now decided to adopt a late-night levy will be yet another blunt force tax adding to the bottom line of Redbridge’s hard-working licensees.”  

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls also spoke out against the decision and described it as a “retrograde step”.

Redbridge’s licensing committee recommended the council implement the levy from 1 May 2020.

The committee’s recommendations are subject to approval from the full council, which will meet 16 January 2020 to make a final decision.

The borough would join around a dozen councils with similar levies, including Southwark, which introduced a levy in September last year.

In its consultation document​, Redbridge officials said there was a clear correlation between the locations of late-night licensed premises and incidents involving crime and disorder such as antisocial behaviour.

Revenue from the levy will be put towards late-night policing and clean-up costs.

The leader of Redbridge Council, councillor Jas Athwal, said: “While most premises and their customers are responsible, there is an undeniable impact associated to the late-night sale of alcohol, and its effect on anti-social behaviour, as well as the cleanliness of our streets.  

“It is only right that those businesses, which are selling alcohol during these times, are helping to fund the costs of addressing these issues."

Related topics: Licensing law

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