late night levy proposal back on the table


Plans to make pubs and clubs help pay to keep Plymouth’s streets safe and clean could be back on the table.

Plymouth City Council is to consult again on bringing in a late night levy for businesses that sell drink from 1am, so that those who make money from alcohol contribute more to the cost of clearing up and keeping the city safe.

The consultation starts this week and proposes that the Council introduces a fee from any premises that sells alcohol between 1am and 6am. It would apply to alcohol sales on or off premises, although the consultation also proposes key exemptions.

The proposal was put on hold earlier in this year pending a Government Licensing Act review.

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “The Government has not carried out the review and is now unlikely to, so we need to look at this again to see how we can help provide much- needed funds to deal with some of the more negative effects of the night time economy.

“With more cuts on the way for our services and those of the police, we need to give this real consideration if Plymouth is to continue to offer a safe night out.

“The police estimate that they spend around £500,000 a year on cover relating to nights out in Plymouth – with budgets being squeezed, surely we need to ask those who profit from people drinking to contribute?”

The Council is ‘minded to’ bring in the levy which would provide more funding to support taxi marshals, CCTV improvements, street cleaning as well as enforcement and personal safety initiatives.

It could also potentially be used to provide financial support to schemes that promote better management of licensed premises, such as Best Bar None or Pubwatch

The Council can recover all costs associated with the administering the levy, with the amount left split 30 / 70 between the Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The consultation also looks at the exemptions. Premises which serve alcohol but would not have to pay the levy include those with overnight accommodation, theatre and cinemas, bingo halls, community amateur sports clubs and community premises that form part of a church hall, chapel, village, parish or community hall or other similar building.

Another key exclusion being considered is premises in Business Improvement Districts as they are already subject to the BID levy – which could help pay for initiatives to reduce crime and disorder.

There are currently two BID areas – the City Centre BID and the Waterfront BID. While not set up to address crime and disorder issues, they are being asked to submit activities that they plan to carry out to address them.

The previous consultation showed the public were in favour of the levy, but the trade were against it, arguing that businesses open beyond midnight would take an unfair burden, when most alcohol is sold and drunk before midnight.

For more information about the consultation, visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/lnlconsultation

Responses can be made either online at the above link, by email licensing@plymouth.gov.uk or post to Licensing Team, Public Protection Service, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth, PL1 3BL

The consultation will run until 4 December.

Notes to editors

As part of the consultation the police submitted information to give a breakdown of when crime and disorder offences were committed.

23 per cent of offences in the average 24 hour period across the whole of Plymouth occur between midnight and 7am
14 per cent of crimes occur between midnight and 3am
53 per cent of offences across the night time economy take place between midnight and 7am
Crime peaks on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, more so in the night time economy areas
In 2014/15 36 per cent of arrests involved someone under the influence of and these were made between midnight and 7am.
There is a peak in arrests on a Friday and Saturday, which account for 44 per cent of arrests across a week.