Newcastle set to introduce late-night levy

Newcastle night-time by Ian Britton http://www.freefoto.comPlans to introduce a late-night levy on bar and club operators in Newcastle are expected to be approved next week after they were backed by the local council’s leaders.

The proposals will be debated at a full meeting of full council on Wednesday (July 3) and, if the vote is in favour, it would be implemented from November 1 this year.

It would make Newcastle City Council the first local authority to introduce the late-night levy which allows it to charge a fee to on-trade premises serving alcohol between midnight and 6am.

Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the fee can be charged for covering “the extra enforcement costs that the night-time economy generates for police and licensing authorities”.

Activities in Newcastle could include taxi marshalling, CCTV improvements, street pastors, street cleaning, enforcement and personal safety initiatives and increased toilet facilities, which would be agreed by all partners at a local level.

The amount of the levy, set by government, depends on the rateable value of the premises and ranges from £299 to £4,400 per year.

However, Newcastle City Council’s proposals include some exemptions such as those operators that are already paying to be part of a business improvement district (BID). They include the Newcastle NE1 business-led partnership covering Newcastle city centre.

The council’s proposals were published on June 19 after a 12-week consultation. They can only go ahead once they have been agreed on July 3 at the full council meeting although the Labour group has a majority of 24.

Councillor Linda Hobson, deputy cabinet member for community safety and regulation for Newcastle City Council, said: “The vibrancy and vitality of Newcastle’s night-time economy has a worldwide reputation and makes an invaluable contribution to the city’s prosperity.

“However, it also has less welcome consequences – noise, crime, anti-social behaviour and negative health impacts. If the levy is agreed, it will be the first of its kind in the UK.

“These proposals, which will be delivered in partnership with the police, licensing trade and residents, seek to strike the right balance by ensuring those businesses which benefit should make a limited contribution to these costs, maintaining the city as one of the safest in the country and attractive to investors and visitors.”

To read the full Newcastle City Council cabinet decision, click here to visit the John Gaunt & Partners website.

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