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British Beer & Pub Association raises concern over ‘damaging' licensing policy

29 July 2016
British Beer & Pub Association raises concern over ‘damaging' licensing policy

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called for Camden Council to rethink plans to change its licencing policy.

The policy, which the BBPA said would damage local pub business, proposes the introduction of a late night levy which would operate as a new tax on local businesses.

There is a concern that Camden council intends to make public health its own consideration in licencing decisions, a purpose for which the 2003 Licensing Act was not intended, and which contradicts previous government decisions.

The BBPA said the proposed changes would place ‘burdens' on Camden's pubs, which generate over £700m for the local economy across 250 venues every year.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: "I hope Camden listens to these concerns, as pubs are vital to the local economy. Camden's draft policy is far too specific a tool to be effective in promoting wider public health objectives, which should be done through targeted campaigns and raising public awareness.

"Powers under the licensing regime are rightly focused on dealing with issues in and around specific premises, such as public nuisance, crime and public safety. A Late Night Levy is not a partnership, but a tax.

"I hope Camden will consider a more partnership-based approach, through schemes such as Business Improvement Districts, Pubwatch and Best Bar None, which encourage businesses, the council, and police to work together to share best practice and promote a safer drinking environment."

The BBPA's views have been outlined in a submission to Camden's consultation on its draft licensing policy, which closes today.

Milton Keynes council recently rejected plans to introduce a levy while the local authority in Cheltenham abolished a similar scheme.

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