UKHospitality: Late-night levy is 'stifling' industry's recovery

25 January 2023 by
UKHospitality: Late-night levy is 'stifling' industry's recovery

UKHospitality has called for the removal of the late-night levy after figures showed nightclubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are responsible for 42% of customer spending after 6pm.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there is strong public demand for the night-time economy, which employs 8.7m people.

However, the sector has lost 800,000 staff over the past six years, which UKHospitality called a "worrying trend".

The trade body also voiced concerns that the late-night levy, which has been charged on some sites serving alcohol past midnight since 2012, has reduced turnover.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "Hospitality is the main attraction in the night-time economy, with almost half of consumer spend taking place there, but there's so much more we can do if barriers to doing business are removed.

"The late-night levy can be one of the main drains on business, costing venues £365,000 last year and stifling the sector's recovery from the pandemic. Its introduction has been a failure and removing such an ineffective levy, which local authorities and a House of Lords Committee both concluded has not been successful, would provide much-needed relief for affected venues."

A consultation into late-night levy charges, due to close this April, was launched by the Home Office earlier this month, ahead of changes aimed at increasing its use by local authorities.

Only nine local authorities, including Newcastle, Southampton and London boroughs Camden and Tower Hamlets, charged a late-night levy in 2022.

Several councils, such as Nottingham and Cheltenham, have scrapped the tax in support of the hospitality industry.

Nicholls urged the government and local authorities to support the night-time economy through a "concerted effort".

She added: "Supporting positive measures such as the agent of change principle would be a great help to the sector, as would planning and licensing policies that recognise the benefits the late-night sector brings."

Image: Patrick Kato / Shutterstock

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