The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed Cheltenham Borough Council’s decision to abolish its Late Night Levy – the first local council ever to do so. From April 1st, the Levy will cease to be in effect, and Cheltenham will instead continue to operate the existing local Business Improvement District (BID).
Cheltenham’s decision comes after a consultation, to which the BBPA responded, in November 2016, which represented the first time a council has consulted on ending a Late Night Levy.
The BBPA’s detailed response urged Cheltenham Council to abandon the Levy, which is, in effect, is a tax on local business which unfairly disadvantages pubs. The Council did not receive the level of revenue that had been predicted after implementing the Levy in 2014.
The BBPA’s successful submission to the Cheltenham consultation was one of a number of comprehensive, evidence-led responses to Late Night Levy consultations the organisation has submitted since 2013.
In addition to action in Cheltenham, the BBPA has recently opposed Levy plans by the Gloucester City Council, and written to Liverpool City Council urging them to look again at its decision to implement a Levy, after its Licensing Committee originally rejected a proposed scheme earlier in 2016.
The BBPA will continue to oppose the introduction of Late Night Levies, and instead champion BIDs and other partnership schemes, such as Pubwatch and Best Bar None, that have been shown to be more effective.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association, comments:
“Cheltenham Council have taken a wise decision in abolishing their Late Night Levy. A Levy was implemented in 2014, but it has failed to reach expected revenue targets, raising less than 39 per cent of the £199,000 figure that had been predicted in the first year.
“Small businesses like pubs contribute to the Levy, but the funds collected are not reinvested to tackle the particular problems that these small businesses face. Local pubs are already struggling with high business rates, other taxes and red tape, and the decision to remove this extra tax is very welcome.
“We will continue to oppose Late Night Levies, campaigning against them wherever they are proposed. Other councils, such as Leeds and Bristol, have taken the decision to abandon their Late Night Levy plans, and it’s very encouraging to see a levy removed, for the first time. “