Late-night levy changes 'damaging blow'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Unfair: trade bodies call for Late-Night Levy to be scrapped (Credit: Getty/Predrag Vuckovic)
Unfair: trade bodies call for Late-Night Levy to be scrapped (Credit: Getty/Predrag Vuckovic)

Related tags Late night levy Government Legislation

Changes to the late-night levy (LNL) are a “damaging blow” but a “step in the right direction”, according to trade bodies across the sector.

The Government yesterday (Wednesday 12 July) announced the LNL would be extended to allow local authorities to create LNL areas smaller than their local authority boundaries and include refreshment premises.

UKHospitality (UKH​) chief executive Kate Nicholls said the changes made by the Home Office were “frustrating” and based on “out of date” evidence.

She continued: “Introducing more powers for local authorities to implement the levy and making more venues eligible to pay is a damaging blow to the late-night economy, which already paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in late night levies last year.

“Given the challenging economic circumstances businesses face, the Government should be focused on reducing regulation and easing cost burdens.

“Instead, they have chosen to add more. This will simply hamper investment and limit economic growth.”

Detrimental impact 

Nicholls also urged the Government to “show it is on the side of businesses” by abolishing the LNL​ “as soon as possible”.

Earlier this year, a poll conducted by the Night-Time Industries Association​ (NTIA) revealed 77% of those surveyed felt the LNL should be eradicated.

The new geographically based powers come into effect from today (Thursday 13 July).

However, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA​) chairman Nik Antona said while the scheme has taken a “step in the right direction”, the organisation is still calling for the “unfair” and “controversial” levy to be scrapped due to its “detrimental” impact on the sector.

Antona added: “[These businesses] are at the heart of communities and bring people together to tackle loneliness and social isolation. 

Punitive measure 

“It is for these very reasons that the Government is changing the alcohol duty system in August to support and encourage people to consume beer and cider in the regulated setting of the pub.

“It makes no sense to support pubs through the tax system but penalise them through the unfair LNL​. 

“The best way to tackle the problems of safety in the night-time economy is for councillors, the police and hospitality business to work closely together to tackle local issues.

“Not through a punitive and blunt measure like the LNL that applies to businesses even if they don’t open late into the night or aren’t a source of anti-social behaviour.” 

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