The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has reiterated calls for Gloucester City Council not to introduce a late night levy, and instead to look at the example of nearby Cheltenham council, which has opted for an alternative, partnership approach to protect and enhance its night-time economy. A council discussion on the issue is due on March 23.
The BBPA submitted a detailed response to Gloucester’s recent consultation, arguing that a late night levy is an indiscriminate tax on local business which unfairly penalises pubs, many of which are small, independent businesses making a positive contribution to the local economy.
There are more than 70 pubs in Gloucester, contributing £43 million annually to the local economy and employing over 1,600 people. Pubs are already having to contend with recent rises in beer duty and a business rates system that is sorely in need of reform.
BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “We all want to see a safer drinking environment, but a late night levy is not the right answer. It is an additional tax, not a partnership, and we have seen elsewhere that schemes between local business, the council and police can produce very positive results without placing an undue burden on local pubs.
“Cheltenham implemented a late night levy in 2014, but has recently abolished it in favour of existing partnership schemes including their Business Improvement District scheme.
“On the eve of their decision, I would urge Gloucester to look at the example set by Cheltenham, and those set by Cheshire East, Bristol and Leeds councils, which have all rejected a levy, and instead pursue a more positive approach.”