In its recent response to the ‘Dealing with the problems of late night drinking’ consultation, the Government set out details on how the late night levy would be implemented. Below are some answers to common questions around this new initiative.
What is the late night levy?
The late night levy will enable local licensing authorities to raise funds from late-opening alcohol suppliers (including students’ unions) towards policing and tackling problems associated with the night-time economy.
It will be a local power that licensing authorities can choose whether or not to implement. If it is exercised, the levy will cover the whole of the licensing authority’s area, but they will be able to choose the period during which the levy applies between midnight and 6am. They will also be able to decide what exemptions and reductions should apply from a set list.
Why is the late night levy needed?
The Coalition Agreement included the commitment to permit local councils to charge more for late night licenses to pay for additional policing. The rationale behind the levy is that businesses which profit by selling alcohol in the night-time economy should contribute towards these costs, rather than relying on other taxpayers in the community to bear the full costs.
Who will the late night levy affect?
If a licensing authority chooses to introduce the levy in their area, all licensed premises which are authorised to supply alcohol in the levy period will be affected. Premises that do not wish to operate in the levy period will be able to make a free minor variation to their license before the levy is introduced.
Licensing authorities will have the option to offer an exemption from the levy to the following categories of premises and schemes:
Premises with overnight accommodation
Theatres and cinemas
Community Amateur Sports Clubs
Country village pubs
Business Improvement Districts (‘BIDs’)
Premises that only open late on New Year’s Eve
Guidance on exemptions will be published on the Home Office’s website in October 2012.
Licensing authorities will also have the discretion to offer a 30% reduction from the levy to premises that are either a member of a best practise scheme (which fulfils specific critera), or in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and have a rateable value of less than £12,000. Guidance on reductions will also be published on the Home Office’s website in October 2012.
What amount will be charged under the late night levy?
The amount of the late night levy will be set at a national level and calculated according to rateable value. The levy will be collected alongside the annual licence fee.
Rateable Value Band A: No rateable value to £4,300 - £299
Rateable Value Band B: £4,301 to £33,000 - £768
Rateable Value Band C: £33,001 to £87,000 - £1,259
Rateable Value Band D: £87,001 to £125,000 - £1,36
Rateable Value Band E: £125,001 and above - £1,493
A multiplier will be applied to premises in Band D and E that primarily or exclusively sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. This will ensure that larger clubs and bars make a higher contribution towards the levy.
Who will receive the revenue raised by the late night levy?
The police will receive at least 70% of the net levy revenue. The licensing authority can retain up to 30% to fund other activities besides policing. There will be restrictions on the types of services that licensing authorities can fund with the levy revenue to ensure that levy is spent on tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder and services connected to the management of the night-time economy.
When will the late night levy come into force?
The levy will come into force in October 2012. Licensing authorities will need to consult the police, licensed premises and other relevant parties before deciding whether to introduce the levy in their area. The earliest date that a licensing authority could introduce a levy would be approximately June 2013.
What does this mean for students’ unions?
Students’ unions should seek to develop their relationships with their local licensing authority and other local community stakeholders to ensure that their work to improve the night time economy is recognised and local reductions and exemptions are given where appropriate.
NUS will be providing ongoing support to unions on this issue – if you have any questions, please get in touch with Madeleine Harris Smith, Policy & Development Officer (Students & Alcohol): firstname.lastname@example.org