A report in the Times stating that pubs pay less £1 million a year towards policing has been criticised by an industry body. The newspaper made the claim in the headline for a piece about new Home Office figures showing how much money has been raised by the late-night levy, a policy adopted by just eight local authorities across the country.
However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has insisted that hospitality businesses actually pay £21 billion in taxes that help to fund public services, including police forces, the Publican’s Morning Advertiser reports.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said the implication that pubs, bars and nightclubs only contribute £1 million towards policing costs is therefore “enormously misleading”.
She described late-night levies as “an extra tax above and beyond the considerable tax burden the sector already faces”.
Furthermore, she argued that many venues contribute to local partnership schemes aimed at improving the night-time economy and ensuring that customers and staff members remain safe.
As a result, Ms Nicholls believes any assertion that pubs and bars are not paying their way is “not only false, but disingenuous also”.
Ms Nicholls added that the “revelation that late-night levies around the country have raised only £1 million is a measure of how unfit for purpose the tax is, rather than how much or little hospitality businesses raise”.
This comes shortly after ministers rejected a recommendation from peers to abolish late-night levies.
Last year, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 concluded that the legislation was “fundamentally flawed” and in need of a “radical overhaul”.
The late-night levy was flagged up as one area of concern, with peers saying it does not pay for the cost of policing as intended” and is “fundamentally wrong in principle and in practice” in its current form.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Robert Botkai in our Commercial Real Estate and Licensing department.