PUBS and clubs could be hit by new powers given to local authorities to charge them more for late licenses and restrict trading hours.
The Home Office has finished consulting on plans to give councils powers to enforce a Late Night Levy and Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs).
The levy would allow local authorities and the police to charge late-opening premises up to £4,440 a year to cover costs of policing and clean-ups and the EMROs could see earlier closures in a bid to curb trouble.
Michael Kheng, Director of Kurnia who operate pubs across Louth and Mablethorpe, said the plans would have a ‘massive impact’ on local premises.
“I think the EMRO is the more likely, with a midnight levy to catch the most out,” he said.
“But I think it would be the police pushing for it more than the council as the levy income is weighted 70 per cent to them.
“Such measures would have a massive financial impact on local pubs and clubs.”
Sharon Davies, owner of The King’s Head in Louth, described it as a ‘stealth tax’.
“We’re unsure how it will affect us as a hotel, but it seems like everyone is going to be paying for a minority,” she said.
“We’re lucky that we don’t have much trouble, so it’s unfair to pay to police individuals.”
ELDC’s Principal Lincensing Officer, Adrian Twiddy, said the council weren’t expecting to see the regulations until November.
“The regulations are expected to cover such areas as the type of evidence that is needed in order to introduce an EMRO and how consultation on the possible introduction of a EMRO should take place,” he said.
“Once we have received the regulations we will be talking to Lincolnshire Police and consulting with interested parties.”
Neil Williams, from the British Beer and Pub Association, said the levies ‘would put more unnecessary red tape on pubs’.
“It goes against the government’s own stated objective, to cut burdens to small businesses,” he warned.
Do you agree with the levies? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.