Retailers should put up a fight when Licensing Authorities decide to put impose a late night levy on all premises that are licensed to sell alcohol between 12 midnight and 6am (or shorter period), Robert Botkai, partner at Winckworth Sherwood, has urged.
He said the levy is intended to raise a contribution towards the cost of policing the late night economy, and is based on rateable value, which is not good news for petrol stations.
The most likely bands are:
Rateable value £33,001 to £87,000 levy is £1,259
Rateable value £87,001 to £125,000 levy is £1,365
Rateable value £125,001 or above levy is £1,493
Before imposing the levy, the Licensing Authority must consult and hold a hearing to consider any representations made.
“I attended such a hearing in Milton Keynes on August 29, 2013, representing clients,” said Botkai. “The proposal was for a levy on premises licensed between 1am and 6am. I argued that the levy was unfair and disproportionate. Pubs and clubs selling alcohol until 1am would not pay the levy. Some petrol stations may open all night but it is unlikely that they contribute to the problems the late night economy of Milton Keynes.
“The Milton Keynes Licensing Sub Committee heard my representation and also a representation from Wetherspoons, and by a narrow majority resolved to recommend that the levy not be adopted. Some of the Councillors remarked that the levy would clearly be unfair on petrol retailers.
“This is not the end of the line as the matter now goes to the full Licensing Committee and the Council who may not accept the recommendation of the Licensing Sub Committee.
“However, this experience does demonstrate how important it is that the trade responds to such consultations and puts up a fight,” stressed Botkai.