Late Night Levy

A number of local councils have now chosen to adopt a Late Night Levy. The Levy is a discretionary power, introduced through the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, and allows licensing authorities to raise contributions from late-night alcohol suppliers to help fund policing of the night-time economy. Levy charges are based on the rateable value of the property where the premises licence is held. Whilst the power is discretionary, local authorities work within a framework that is established at a national level and can then adjust certain aspects to suit specific localities.


In practice the Levy has proved inflexible and unworkable. The BBPA has been vocal on this point and has responded to a number of local council consultations on the Levy, as well as producing a joint report on alternatives to the Late Night Levy. In essence, a number of fundamental flaws exist. Firstly, the Levy can only be charged between the hours of 12am and 6am. This has led to a vast number of local businesses enacting minor variations to scale back opening hours, unveiling a sobering reality in which Levy revenue has fallen far short of local council predictions. Furthermore, legislation dictates that only 30% of Levy revenue can be allocated to local councils, with at least 70% allocated to police. A combination of the two aforementioned factors has led several councils to reject the Levy on the grounds that net revenue from the Levy will be insignificant when factoring in administration and implementation costs.


Most important of all, in its most basic form the Levy is a direct tax on local business, and one which unfairly disadvantages pubs. Pubs are at the centre of local communities up and down the UK and many are small, independently-run local businesses. What is more, pubs are leading the charge when it comes to championing a safe and vibrant night-time economy. The key criticism of councils that adopt the Levy is that they have not truly engaged with the local initiatives that are already in place, and to which many pubs are fully committed. Some local councils have chosen, instead, to enact a Business Improvement District (BID). A BID scheme is fairer as it spreads the burden between businesses of all kinds and undoubtedly provides for more a targeted and business-led allocation of funds.


BIDs exist within a broader partnership framework. Other schemes such as Pubwatch, Best Bar None, Purple Flag, Street Pastors, Community Alcohol Partnerships and PASS have also provided tangible benefits and proven their worth in creating the night-time economy that all stakeholders are striving for. Local businesses are both willing and, more importantly, able to assist in creating a safe and vibrant local economy. With effective partnership working in place, such an environment is no longer the Holy Grail, but instead is entirely within reach. In contrast, the Levy is a step in the wrong direction.


Resources

» Supporting a Safer Night-time Economy

Late Night Levy industry briefings

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BBPA response to Late Night Levy and Early Morning Restriction Orders

The BBPA has submitted its response to the Government Consulation on Late Night Levys and Early Morning Restriction Orders.

City of London - late night levy

BBPA response to the City of London's late night levy consultation.

Alternatives to the Late Night Levy: A BBPA/CAMRA report

The aim of the attached guide is to outline the issues that late night levies cause the pub sector, the wider late-night economy and consumers. It also seeks to encourage those considering introducing this tax to explore the wide range of partnership options already in place and consider these as more effective alternatives to the levy.

Euro 2016 - guidance for pubs

Guidance for pubs during the 2016 European Championships.

Late Night Levy blog posts

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Business Improvement Districts for town centres and tourism

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have existed in the UK since ...

National Pubwatch conference – partnership in action

The 11th National Pubwatch conference was held this week at the Palace Hotel, Manchester. Well attended by licensees, police, local authorities and others with an interest in the trade, the title of the conference was ‘protect and promote your Pubwatch through partnership working’ and a variety of speakers expounded on this theme.

Experience the benefits of Pubwatch

Next year’s National Pubwatch Conference ‘Protect and promote your Pubwatch through partnership working’ will be held at the Palace Hotel, Oxford Street, Manchester, on the 18th February next year.

National Pubwatch website - a key tool for licensees

Pubwatches are the original partnership schemes specifically aimed at pub licensees – low cost, easy to set up and controlled by licensees and managers themselves.

New research clearly shows the many benefits of pubwatch

As the effective alternative to levies and EMROs, the BBPA supports a number of partnership initiatives. One of the most popular schemes in the pub sector is a local pubwatch – a voluntary group set up by licensees working together to promote a safe drinking environment, in partnership with the police and licensing authority.

EMROs vs. Partnership – there should only be one winner

Last week’s decision by Hartlepool Borough Council’s licensing comm...

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