The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has reiterated calls for Gloucester City Council not to introduce a Late Night Levy, and instead to look at the example of nearby Cheltenham council, which has opted for an alternative, partnership approach to protect and enhance its night-time economy. A discussion on the issue is due in the Council in just a week’s time, on 23rd March.
The BBPA submitted a detailed response to Gloucester’s recent consultation, arguing that a Late Night Levy is an indiscriminate tax on local business which unfairly penalizes pubs, many of which are small, independent businesses making a positive contribution to the local economy.
There are over 70 pubs in Gloucester, contributing £43 million annually to the local economy and employing over 1,600 people. Pubs are already having to contend with recent rises in beer duty and a business rates system that is sorely in need of reform.
A Late Night Levy, the BBPA argues, would add further cost pressures at the worst possible time.
The BBPA has urged Gloucester instead to look to the example of nearby Cheltenham, which last month decided to abolish a Late Night Levy after it raised less than 40 per cent of the predicted revenue.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments:
“We all want to see a safer drinking environment, but a Late Night Levy is not the right answer. It is an additional tax, not a partnership, and we have seen elsewhere that schemes between local business, the Council and police can produce very positive results without placing an undue burden on local pubs.
“Cheltenham implemented a Late Night Levy in 2014, but has recently abolished it in favour of existing partnership schemes including their Business Improvement District scheme.
“On the eve of their decision, I would urge Gloucester to look at the example set by Cheltenham, and those set by Cheshire East, Bristol and Leeds councils, which have all rejected a Levy, and instead pursue a more positive approach.”