Redbridge Council due to introduce new tax on alcohol after midnight next year

Redbridge Council is expected to approve the introduction of a late night levy for businesses across

Redbridge Council is expected to approve the introduction of a late night levy for businesses across the borough. Picture: Johnny Green/PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Premises in Redbridge selling alcohol between midnight and 6am will be charged up to £4,440 from May next year if councillors agree to introduce a Late Night Levy (LNL) next week.

Redbridge Council launched a consultation in February about the idea and said money generated from the scheme, estimated to be £80,000, will go towards late-night policing and clean up costs.

The charge is on top of business rates and the alcohol licence fee.

The results from the consultation show that 74per cent of people support the introduction of a LNL, but concerns were raised by councillors and businesses about how the money will be spent and the impact it could have on the hospitality industry.

Councillor Ruth Clark said the idea is bad for business and there is no guarantee that the money will fund specific officers for the borough and Faces Nightclub co-owner, John Clark, said some businesses may not get a lot out of contributing to it.

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"We could end up paying out £4,000 and see little for it in Gants Hill as more police are likely to be sent to Ilford," John said.

The Mayor of London's Office also said it "remained unconvinced that the levy achieved its objectives".

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In a letter to Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of the council, London's Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: "The mayor and I are concerned that with increases in businesses rates and rents more widely, this measure could be seen as anti-business and have serious unintended consequences such as contradicting your own desire for new responsible businesses to open in the borough."

JD Wetherspoon, which runs four pubs in the borough, also responded to the consultation.

"The hospitality sector in Redbridge is an important employer and generates a significant income," a spokesman said.

"These financial benefits should not be taken for granted or risked by the implementation of a levy.

"This is especially so as there appears considerable uncertainty as to how much the levy will realise financially.

"Redbridge will also become a less attractive proposition for developers of new businesses who may be tempted to invest elsewhere in order to avoid the cost of the levy. Job creation will suffer."

The council's licensing committee is expected to approved the introduction of the LNL at an extraordinary meeting on January 9, with no exemptions, except New Year's Day, and no reductions for any businesses.

The committee is also expected to approve proposals to establish a board to oversee the use of the levy fund.

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