Consultation over late night levy

Liverpool’s City Council’s Licensing Committee meets on Tuesday 8 September to consider starting a consultation over the introduction of a late night levy for bars, clubs and pubs.

Under the proposed scheme, all licensed premises or clubs that supply alcohol after midnight would be required to pay an annual charge to offset the cost of the night time economy.

Merseyside Police – who are backing the move – estimate it costs around £540,000 to cover the city centre between midnight and 6am, although this doubles to £1 million when taking into account other units that have to respond to incidents.

The levy is based on current licensed premises in the city and, assuming the period it is applied is from midnight until 6:00am, would affect approximately 800 premises, with the costs varying dependent upon the rateable value of the premises.

The consultation is suggesting that the vast majority – round 700 – could pay between £299 and £1259 per year, with 20 paying the highest rate of £4,440 per year. However, the figures are just indicative and are subject to change following the outcome of the formal consultation process.

Councillor Emily Spurrell, Mayoral Lead for Community Safety, said: “Liverpool is a vibrant and safe city and its night time economy is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every week.

“Obviously this all comes at a cost arising from the minority of people who cause crime and disorder, and the money raised from the late night levy would be used to help offset this.

“We know that our community safety partners are supportive of the introduction of a levy, so what we are doing now is going out to consultation on a proposal.”

A total of 70 percent of the money would go to the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner with the money used to fund additional staff at weekends, funding specific operations and assist with ‘designing out’ crime. The remainder would go to the city council to support night time economy initiatives.

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for licensing, said: “It is important to note that if we decide to proceed with the consultation, it is just the very start of the process.

“No decision will be made until we have completed the consultation and assessed all of the feedback and it is possible that the proposal will change dependent upon the responses that we receive.”

Consultation will start in September 2015, with a decision on whether to implement it made in January 2016. If the go ahead is given, it would be introduced from June 2016.