Traders say Late Night Levy will ‘damage local pubs’ as Southwark Council says it will review the new tax within a year

Katherine Johnston (23 August, 2019) Business

Further reductions may be made to 'best in practice' businesses

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A ‘Late-Night Levy’ to help pay for more police officers in Southwark has been slammed by business owners and the hospitality industry.

Introduced by Southwark Council, the levy means businesses selling alcohol after midnight will have to pay an extra tax to generate income for the council and Met’s enforcement teams.

Depending on the business type and its premises, owners could expect to pay anywhere between £299 and £4,440 extra a year.

The British Beer & Pub Association described it as a “backward step that will sadly damage local pubs”, while a spokesperson for the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), said the measure was a “blunt force tax that unfairly penalises community pubs, adding yet another financial burden to licensees’ bottom lines”.

Cllr Victoria Mills, cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit at Southwark Council, told the News: “Council Assembly unanimously approved the introduction of the Late Night Levy across the borough because we want to be able to provide better and wider measures to tackle alcohol-related crime.

“We want Southwark to have a thriving late night economy, but this must be balanced with the well-being of our residents and we have been working closely with our colleagues in the police, who supported the proposals.”

She said a reduction would be offered to businesses in receipt of rate relief, and committed to reviewing the levy in a year’s time – possibly reducing the tax further for ‘best in practice’ businesses.

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