A petition opposing the introduction of a late-night levy in London’s Southwark will be presented to the borough council today in a drive by local businesses and UKHospitality to block the move.
Southward Council has consulted on introducing a tax on businesses selling alcohol after midnight, arguing they should contribute towards the “expense of cleaning the streets and keeping people safe”. It had estimated that these costs amount to £280,000 a year.
The petition will be presented ahead of a meeting where the levy is due to be discussed.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The number of people, businesses, customers and local residents, who have come together to oppose this new tax shows how strongly they feel about it.
“It also highlights how wrong Southwark Council is to even consider this unsuitable and dangerous new tax. The levy has already been dismissed by the House of Lords Committee on Licensing which recommended it be abolished.
“Hospitality businesses in Southwark have helped drive regeneration over the years and they came together to support the community following the devastating attack two years ago. Now, they are being squeezed by a council only interested in another tax, even if it undermines businesses, loses jobs and harms investment in the community.”
Alex Philiotis, general manager of Belushi’s, the Dugout and St Christopher’s Inn, all in London Bridge added: “We will be paying even more in taxes and there is no guarantee that anyone in the borough will benefit from it. The money raised may not even be spent here. It will only restrict our ability to invest money in our venues and staff, it will reduce choice for our customers who will also suffer and make the area a much less exciting place.”
Redbridge Council in east London has also launched a consultation into the introduction of such a levy.