Concerns raised over Redbridge tax on alcohol after midnight
PUBLISHED: 11:56 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 19 February 2019
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Concerns have been raised over Redbridge Council's plan to introduce a Late Night Levy (LNL) which means that all premises selling alcohol between midnight and 6am will be charged up to £4,440.
The charge is on top of business rates and other costs and the money generated from the scheme would be spent on policing and cleaning.
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.
“The levy will be a further hardship to Redbridge businesses that are already experiencing a drop in patrons/sales due to the 24-hour rail travel into London,” she said.
“The Levy is based on the rateable value of your property, rather than your profits.
“This is deeply unfair for small businesses that operate on the margins.
“Furthermore, the Ilford Business Improvement District (Ilford Town Centre) would be exempt and as most of the anti-social behaviour occurs in Ilford the rest of Redbridge night time businesses would be subsidising the extra police in Ilford.
“Redbridge Conservatives believe that we should encourage business owners rather than punish them -We consider the proposal a stealth tax.
“That is why we intend to table an amendment to the Council’s proposed budget that would stop the Night Levy.
Faces Nightclub co-owner, John Clark, said some businesses may not get a lot out of contributing to it.
“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,” he said
“Another questionable thing is that the amount of money it takes to set up versus the amount of money it generates.
“It could take around £50,000 and only bring in around £100,000 and the council will only be able to use some of that on police.”
UKHospitality represents 700 venues including nightclubs, pubs and late-night bars.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said if the levy is introduced, there is a very real possibility that venues will be squeezed out of the area altogether.
“It is ridiculous that we are still having a conversation about the nonexistent merits of the late-night levy and councils are still considering introducing it.
“The House of Lords Licensing Committee stated that it had limited benefits to policing and managing the late-night economy and recommended that it should be discontinued.
“It is even more ludicrous that, at a time of near-unprecedented political and economic turmoil, Redbridge Council should seek to pile more costs on hard-working and valuable businesses in their area.”
Redbridge Council has launched a consultation about the LNL and said will the price is set nationally the borough will be able to retain 30per cent of the net money raised.
The tax will also not be applicable to temporary events.
“If we introduce the levy after consultation, it will apply to all premises licences and club premises certificates authorised for the sale or supply of alcohol after midnight and before 6am, even if the full licensable hours are not used,” a Redbridge Council spokesman said.
“Although there is no proposal to provide exemptions, reductions or discounts, such premises as hotels and guest houses could be considered for exemption from the LNL as long as the supply of alcohol was made to a person staying at the premises and was for consumption on the premises.
“It is considered that these premises do not significantly contribute to late night alcohol-related crime.”
Based on the current number of businesses operating in Redbridge, the local authority could make more than £115,000 through the levy.
The scheme would be run by a “local management board” in collaboration with the Met.
“Police crime reports and complaints shows a clear correlation between the locations of late night licensed premises and incidents involving crime and disorder, including antisocial behaviour and public nuisance,” the spokesman added.
“The Metropolitan Police and council’s enforcement team incur additional costs to police the night time economy in the borough using finite resources.
“Over 530 premises are authorised to sell alcohol and of these, 120 are able to supply alcohol at any time after midnight and before 6am.
“If the LNL is introduced, license holders has the right, if they so wish, to make an application to vary their licence. They can do this free of charge before its introduced so that the premises will not be subject to paying the levy.”
The consultation closes on April 7.