Pubs and restaurants face extra £100m council bill, warns ALMR
30 March, 2011
Pubs, bars and restaurants could pay £100m a year more in licensing fees under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. The warning comes from the Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers to coincide with a debate about the Bill in the House of Commons today (30 April).
The ALMR is particularly concerned about a new clause in the Bill that will allow authorities to raise licensing fees to pay for the costs of dealing with disorder and clearing up in town centres. It has taken the estimated figure from the Local Government Association, which in lobbying for the cause has claimed that councils could pull in an extra £100m a year—or more if the fees are not capped.
ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: “These new proposals could have a devastating impact on pubs, bars and restaurants across the country. At the budget last week the Chancellor said his priority was to help small businesses in these difficult times, but these new measures fly in the face of such assurances.”
Local authorities would have free rein to rake in money from pubs and bars, he warned. “Councils are already facing significant budget cuts so the temptation will be all too great to use licensing fees as a revenue raising exercise. If the government is serious about encouraging growth then they must set a national cap on these fees or this will cripple our sector and put many operators out of business.”