The Caterer

Alcohol licensing nothing more than stealth tax, says FSB

21 June 2005
Alcohol licensing nothing more than stealth tax, says FSB

England and Wales's new alcohol licensing regime amounts to nothing more than a stealth tax, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In a letter to licensing minister James Purnell the FSB claims neighbourhood pubs are being unfairly collared with the same high licence fees as super-pubs and large clubs.

FSB policy chairman John Walker said: "This is a stealth tax that raises additional revenue for local authorities. A business with a rateable value of under £5,000 is very different to one with a rateable value of £33,000 and yet under the new system they pay the same licence fee."

The FSB wants instead to see a genuine sliding scale for fees based on more distinct bands and measures to combat the red tape the act introduces.

Businesses whose rateable values range from £4,301 to £33,000 pay a licence application fee of £190, with an annual charge thereafter of £180.

New licensing laws come into force in England and Wales on 24 November 2005.

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