Hospitality groups call for late night levy scrap as Gov’t extends scheme

13th July 2023 | Jack Oliver

UKHospitality and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have called on the Government to abolish the late night levy, despite the Home Office extending the scheme.

The levy is an optional power that allows licensing authorities in England and Wales to levy businesses that supply alcohol late at night. The proceeds are used to support local policing.

The Home Office has now confirmed that the levy will be extended to:

  • Enable authorities to create late night levy areas smaller than their local authority boundaries
  • Extend the levy to late night refreshment premises, that is, businesses that supply hot food and hot drink late at night such as fast food shops

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls described the move as “frustrating”, describing the seven-year-old evidence base as “horribly out of date”.

She added: “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 said the changes were a “step in the right direction” as they allow councils to apply the levy to a smaller area such as a city centre, but said the “unfair” scheme should still be scrapped.

The group’s chair, Nik Antona, said: “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.”

He added: “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.”


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