Lamé, who was appointed Greater London’s night czar in 2016 and tasked with ensuring that London thrives as a 24-hour city in line with Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision for the capital, wrote to London’s 33 local authorities to outline the severe risks facing licensed venues during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Some, like grassroots live music venues and LGBTQ+ spaces, are especially vulnerable as their numbers have only just stabilised after a decade of decline,” she wrote.
“The Government’s support package has provided a vital lifeline. However, without customer income, businesses must reduce spending to a bare minimum to avoid permanent closure.
“We are working with Government, local authorities, businesses, landlords and others to ensure that as many night-time businesses as possible can survive through this period. They will play a vital role in the recovery of our high streets after the crisis has passed.
“The mayor (Sadiq Khan) and I are asking all London local authorities to consider providing their licensed premises with a licence fee holiday for 12 months.
“This could include suspending collection of annual licence fees and late-night levy fees where applicable. It mirrors the business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.”
Across the UK, our licensed venues, pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs are now at severe risk of permanent closure due to COVID-19— Amy Lamé (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@amylame) April 6, 2020
I have written to the leader of every London council asking them to suspend collection of annual licence fees and late night levy fees for 12 months pic.twitter.com/RjrJGa6N6X
As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser, more than half of the late-night levies adopted in England are in London, with each of the last three imposed on venues in the capital.