Liverpool City Council says it can't afford to abolish late night levy

16 February 2023 by
Liverpool City Council says it can't afford to abolish late night levy

Businesses serving alcohol after midnight in Liverpool will continue to be charged a late night levy after the city council said it could not afford to abolish the tax.

A review of the levy was held by Liverpool City Council's Licensing and Gambling Committee last week, following a consultation process.

The committee said: "Whilst [it was] not unsympathetic to the problems faced by the hospitality industry, the levy provided a valuable source of income for resourcing useful initiatives targeted at mitigating the problems that flowed from the late night supply of alcohol in the city."

The council had introduced the levy in April 2017 under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, with premises that supply alcohol between midnight and 6am on one or more days in a year charged between £299 and £4,440, depending on the rateable value of the premises.

Police receive 70% of the funds raised through the levy, amounting to more than £1m since it was introduced in the city.

The council receives the remaining money, which it has used to fund initiatives including the purchase of knife detector wands and drink spiking testing kits, the upgrading of CCTV, the funding of taxi marshals and the purchase of a street cleansing machine.

As of 31 March 2022, only eight licensing authorities in England had late night taxes in place, five of which are London boroughs. Since then, Nottingham City Council has voted to abolish the levy to reduce the financial burden on hospitality businesses.

In January the Home Office launched a consultation into the future of the tax, ahead of making changes aimed at increasing its use by local authorities.

At the time, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "The ineffective and costly late night levy continues to stifle the recovery of the night-time economy, which was among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

"Now is not the time to extend the levy and the economic harm it inflicts on our late-night venues, taking £365,000 from the industry last year. Instead, the levy should be abolished in order to free up much-needed cash for businesses to invest in their business or, in many cases, simply stay afloat."

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