Home Office Late Night Levy changes step in right direction, but unfair scheme should still be scrapped: CAMRA
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling for the controversial Late Night Levy scheme to be axed to help support pubs, despite changes announced by the Home Office today.
Campaign group CAMRA, which represents more than 152,000 pub goers and beer drinkers, is calling on government ministers to axe the controversial Late Night Levy scheme which sees extra costs charged by some councils in England and Wales on pubs and hospitality businesses.
The Home Office has announced that from 13 July 2023 the law around Late Night Levies – which are designed to raise money towards policing the late-night economy – will be changed slightly so that they can apply only to specific geographic areas rather than a whole council area as at present.
Local authorities will also be able to apply the levy to businesses offering late night refreshment like cafés and takeaway, as well as to those serving alcohol.
Commenting, CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said:
“These changes to the controversial Late Night Levy scheme are a step in the right direction, allowing councils to make sure they can apply to a smaller area like a city centre rather than penalising business across the whole council area.
“However, CAMRA is still calling on the Government to abolish the unfair Late Night Levy scheme completely due to its detrimental impact on well run and responsible pubs, social clubs and taprooms which are at the heart of communities and bring people together to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
“It is for these very reasons that the Government is changing the alcohol duty system in August to support and encourage people to consume beer and cider in the regulated setting of the pub. It makes no sense to support pubs through the tax system but penalise them through the unfair Late Night Levy.
“The best way to tackle the problems of safety in the night-time economy is for councillors, the police and hospitality business to work closely together to tackle local issues – not through a punitive and blunt measure like the Late Night Levy that applies to businesses even if they don’t open late into the night or aren’t a source of anti-social behaviour.”