Islington Council Introduce Late Night Levy
Islington Council Licensing Authority have decided to introduce a Late Night Levy (LNL) which will take effect from September 2014.
This Late Night Levy, the first to be introduced in London, was agreed at the council meeting last week. This is the third such policy to be introduced in England and follows in the footsteps of Cheltenham and Newcastle who introduced the levy in 2013.
The fear is, now that one council in London has successfully introduced the levy, others will quickly follow suit. For licensed businesses this will feel like another form of taxation on businesses which already contribute heavily to the exchequer.
Islington Late Night Levy
If a premises is located in an area covered by a newly introduced Late Night Levy (such as Islington) they will, if they are open past midnight on any one day in a year, be subject to a Late Night Levy of anywhere between £299 and £4,400; depending on their non-domestic rateable value.
Discounts of 30% are offered for premises which are involved in best practice schemes such as Best Bar None.
These fees are earmarked to be spent on a combination of policing the late night economy and the council services; Islington have suggested the split will be 70% / 30% in favour of the police.
Islington currently has 1300 licensed premises, it is estimated that 457 will be affected by the levy directly.
What Option for Islington Premises Licence Holders?
There was a consultation process held in Islington to which relatively few responses were received from licence holders; who we assume would have been against the proposals. This made it relatively easy for the council to force the measures through.
It is now too late to object to the proposals, so premises licence holders whose licence allows them open past midnight on any one day in the year only have two options:
- To pay the levy once introduced later this year
- To submit a Minor Variation to change their licence and reduce the hours of their licence so they fall before midnight, thus avoiding the levy altogether. The Late Night Levy allows for the Minor Variation to be completed without the council’s normal fees being incurred for this process (usually £85).
Premises licence holders in other boroughs, where councils may subsequently decide to consult on the adoption of a late night levy, are being strongly advised to respond to the consultations local authorities must hold before introducing a late night levy.
These measures can be defeated, but only with a concerted effort from all businesses with an interest. Those businesses not directly affected by the levy (because they close before midnight) should also consider that the successful introduction of such measures in their area, which may not affect them in the short term, can set a worrying pretext for future legislation; the idea that businesses should be forced to pay towards specific services such as policing, rather than these services being funded from general taxation.
We Can Help
Our licensing consultants can arrange for a minor variation of your premises licence, to ensure that the hours are changed in-time for the introduction of the Late Night Levy in Islington. We will also structure the minor variation so it only applies during the period the late night levy is in force, so if at some future date the Levies are removed, the current hours will be reverted to automatically.
We also offer premises license health-checks which can be completed at the same time, where we inspect your premises licence and advise on any other anomalies which may be worth addressing at the same time.
Please contact us on 01784 434 392 or email us at email@example.com.
- Islington is first London borough to adopt late night levy >> – Islington Council
Author - Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy. He delivers training courses and provides expert opinion on alcohol & entertainment licensing for individuals, organisations and public bodies. Peter is a frequent contributor to industry publications.
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Page Updated: 5th March 2014