Tower Hamlets says it is determined to go ahead with plans to impose a levy on pubs bars, and restaurants which open late.
The London borough is undertaking a second consultation on the imposition of the late night levy, (LNL) after errors in the previous consultation process led the council to withdraw its initial proposal.
In its response, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) makes the case that the proposed levy is, in effect, a punitive new tax on local businesses, and has urged the council to instead look to pursue a Business Improvement District (BID) scheme.
In addition to the consultation response, the BBPA has also written to the Council strongly urging it to consider the concerns of local businesses.
The letter underlines the BBPA’s position that LNLs do not work effectively to address local alcohol-related issues, and points to the recent example of Cheltenham Borough Council, which scrapped levy plans.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We have been involved with the LNL in Tower Hamlets for some time. We responded to the initial consultation earlier in the year, and have consistently called for the council to rethink the Levy. We have done so in strong terms with our second consultation response, too.
“Tower Hamlets must reconsider, especially given that a House of Lords Committee has recently published a report criticising the policy and recommending that late night levies be abolished.
“For businesses in Tower Hamlets, a Levy would represent a damaging new tax – it is the wrong approach. The focus should be on partnership working, with the police and local business, to address any issues in the night time economy.”
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