Late-night levy in Hackney will ‘force businesses to close’
PUBLISHED: 08:52 13 July 2016 | UPDATED: 18:34 25 July 2018
A proposed late-night levy in Hackney could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for businesses, a national trade body boss has warned.
The town hall’s mooted charge on any premises selling alcohol past midnight will move a step closer if approved by councillors later this month.
Hackney believes it could help drive down crime in the night-time economy areas by paying for extra policing and street cleaners.
But Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents traders in Hackney among 200 across the country, urged the council to reconsider.
She told the Gazette: “It might be relatively small, but it’s still an additional cost the business has to bear over and above the annual charge and business rates. It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“For every £1 cost to stay open after midnight companies already have to generate £4. It’s OK if you’re a late-night business but if you want to be a cafe or restaurant in Shoreditch and stay open late it’s one more deterrent.”
Ms Nicholls, who has spoken with worried Hackney traders, urged the council to sit down with them and discuss the problems, rather than put a tax on cleaning up afterwards.
She also said a levy could increase the problems with booze-related crime.
She added: “When a levy was introduced in Newcastle, 40 per cent of businesses changed their hours, which means after midnight it’s more drink-focused because restaurants and cafes aren’t open.
“Businesses tend to avoid areas where there is a levy. Hackney and Shoreditch are hotbeds of innovation and it sends out a dangerous message that Hackney is no longer open to businesses.”
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