The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have joined forces to lobby councils to consider alternatives to the controversial late night levy.
The duo’s new report, ‘Supporting a safer night time economy’, urges councils and police to instead partner with businesses to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.
There are currently seven levies in place across England, with affected businesses being charged over £750 each annually.
Late night levies were introduced by the Home Office to divert the cost of ‘problems’ caused by the late night economy away from taxpayers, and directly to businesses that sell alcohol between midnight and 6am.
Brigid Simmonds BBPA chief executive, said: ‘This new research shows that introducing a late night levy is really a direct tax on local businesses that damages effective partnership working between the trade and other stakeholders.
‘We are working with local authorities and police to find better ways of promoting a safe and vibrant night-time economy.’
The duo is pushing for partnerships between businesses, local Pubwatch schemes, Business Improvement Districts, and the Best Bar None scheme, as an alternative. These measures have been successfully pursued by a number of authorities that have specifically rejected the levy approach, it says.
CAMRA chief executive Tim Page, said: ‘Community pubs that provide essential services to their customers will be those that are hit hardest by a late night levy. With pub closure rates being an ongoing concern for CAMRA members, it is essential that government and councils do everything possible to support pubs that are so vital to communities, rather than placing a financial burden on them.’