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BBPA urges council to scrap Late Night Levy proposal

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has responded to the second consultation on the introduction of a Late Night Levy (LNL) in Tower Hamlets, after errors in the previous consultation process led Tower Hamlets Council to withdraw its initial Levy proposal.

In its response, the BBPA once again 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 take into account 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 after listening to the concerns of the BBPA.

The BBPA’s response also highlights the recent House of Lords Committee report on licensing, which concluded that the Late Night Levy has “failed to reach its objectives and should be abolished”.

In Tower Hamlets, the beer and pub sector employs over 2,800 people, contributing around £116 million to the local economy and pouring £9.7 million of investment back into the local area on an annual basis. The introduction of a Levy will put these jobs and this investment at risk, the BBPA argues.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, BBPA, commented, “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.”