The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has written to Liverpool City Council to express concern regarding the recent decision to implement a Late Night Levy, urging the council instead to look at an alternative approach.
In its letter, the BBPA notes concerns around the process through which Liverpool arrived at the decision to implement a Levy, given that the Licensing Committee had previously recommended against implementation in March.
At the Full Council meeting in November, Liverpool’s Licensing Committee put forward four different recommendations, one of which was to impose a full Late Night Levy, rather than reiterating its single recommendation against a Levy, as was previously the case.
Underlining feedback from the consultation earlier in the year, to which the BBPA responded on behalf of its members, the organisation notes that a Late Night Levy in Liverpool will impact on a significant number of small, local businesses, such as pubs, and will have a negative impact on the night-time economy of Liverpool overall.
The BBPA recently welcomed the news that Cheltenham Council has become the first Council to consult on removing their Levy. Other major cities, including Bristol and Leeds, have also decided against imposing a Levy on businesses, and the BBPA will continue to oppose their introduction, instead championing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and other partnership schemes, such as Pubwatch and Best Bar None, that have been shown to be more effective.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, BBPA, comments:
“Levies are an unwelcome new tax on local businesses, such as pubs, which are already struggling with high business rates, high beer duty rates and red tape.
“Pubs within Liverpool’s authority area contribute £161 million to the economy, and a further £15 million in investment. They are also responsible for the direct employment of around 6,500 people, of which 42 per cent are under-25.
“Within the area that the levy would cover, Purple Flag status has already been granted, crime and anti-social behaviour is already falling, and there are a number of local partnership schemes operating successfully, including a BID.
“Considering the above factors, the BBPA has written to Liverpool City Council to request further clarification on the reasoning behind implementation of the levy at Full Council, following a clear recommendation initially not to proceed from the Licensing Committee earlier in the year.”