Pubs in Southwark are still faced with a charge for late-night opening despite being forced to close at 10pm.
Under the Late Night Levy, licensed businesses in Southwark which operate after midnight have to pay an extra charge on top of their licensing fee.
This can be between £299 to £4,400 a year, depending on the size and type of the venue. The money goes towards the cost of policing and clean-up.
Southwark Council says it does not have the power to stop collecting the fee, because the power is set out in legislation from central Government.
Since September 24, boozers and restaurants have been forced to close at 10pm under a curfew to stop the spread of Covid.
Among the venues affected is the Prince of Peckham pub on Clayton Road.
“With a curfew forced on bars, pubs and clubs, what happens with those that have paid a late night levy for 2020/21?” it has asked. “Will we be rebated a portion of [it]?”
Southwark Council’s Cllr Evelyn Akoto said the authority couldn’t waive the fees, but that it was considering deferring licensing payments.
“These fees are set by central Government who has yet to decide to relax the legislation given the mandated 10pm curfew affecting licensed premises in the borough,” she said.
“While we await further government guidance, we are considering all options available to us, including payment deferment so premises may continue trading with a license during this difficult time.”
The issue has affected other local authority areas which have introduced a Late Night Levy, such as Camden.
The news comes as Mayor Sadiq Khan called this week for the curfew to be dropped now that London is in Tier Two restrictions.
“Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get,” he said.