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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Liverpool planning a late night levy

How our moral guardians
see late night drinking
Liverpool City Council wants to introduce an annual charge of between £299 and £4,400 on any licensed premises if they want to stay open after midnight, along the lines of what Newcastle-upon-Tyne introduced in 2013. The council says that about 800 premises would be affected. The police state that it costs around £540,000 a year to cover the city centre between midnight and 6.00am, so some of the money would go towards that.

I posted my thoughts about late night levies in some detail a couple of years ago; I had serious misgivings about the real intentions and purposes of the levy, which on the surface sounds innocent enough - click here to read what I wrote then. These levies are payable when premises are licenced to be open after midnight, regardless of whether they actually stay open then or not. Some pubs have late licences which they use only occasionally, and they would have to have their licences changed to closing by midnight or they'd incur the levy: already a spokesperson for Wetherspoons has said that "If it were to be introduced in Liverpool, we would have to consider the closing times of our pubs."

I also wrote in 2013: I'm worried about the "foot in the door" effect: if taken up widely by cash-strapped councils, the policy will be declared a success. Who can be certain that the time limit might not then be moved from midnight to - say - 11.00pm? It would require no more than a simple adjustment to the Act - fine-tuning they'd call it - to bring most pubs within its scope.

I still wouldn't put it past them.

Here is the BBC news report.

2 comments:

  1. 100% right. This is really dangerous. We've got to do something about local government funding. I have my own mad plan which involves abolishing local government and replacing it with whitehall branch offices that are overseen by locally elected tribunes with investigative and veto but no executive powers. But then I'm mad

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  2. In other cities, Spoons have responded by varying their hours so that they close at midnight, but reserve the right to open later if the late night levy is scrapped.

    It wouldn't directly affect me, as I'm usually safely tucked up in bed by then, but it does seem to violate the principles of relaxing the licensing laws, and also points the finger at establishments that have no connection with disorder.

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