Despite outdated evidence and opposition from the sector, the Home Office has confirmed today that the late night levy will be extended to:
- Allow local authorities to create late night levy areas smaller than their local authority boundaries.
- Extend levies to late night refreshment premises.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “It’s really frustrating that the Home Office has proceeded with this extension of late night levy powers, particularly when the evidence base is seven years old and horribly out of date.
“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 stymy investment and limit economic growth.
“I would continue to urge the Government to show that it’s on the side of businesses and abolish the late night levy as soon as possible.”
CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said: “These changes to the controversial Late Night Levy scheme are a step in the right direction, allowing councils to make sure they can apply to a smaller area like a city centre rather than penalising business across the whole council area.
“However, CAMRA is still calling on the Government to abolish the unfair Late Night Levy scheme completely due to its detrimental impact on well run and responsible pubs, social clubs and taprooms which are at the heart of communities and bring people together to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
“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 Light Night Levy.
“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 Late Night Levy that applies to businesses even if they don’t open late into the night or aren’t a source of anti-social behaviour.”