Home office minister joins Cheltenham for alcohol levy launch
Published on 1st April 2014
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker is visiting Cheltenham today (Tuesday, 1 April) to mark the borough’s introduction of the late night levy.
Cheltenham is the second local authority in England and Wales to bring in the power, which allows councils to collect a contribution from late night businesses selling alcohol towards the cost of policing.
Under the Cheltenham scheme, licensed premises selling alcohol between midnight and 6am pay an annual amount to help offset the cost to the taxpayer of the late night clean-up.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:
"I am delighted to be in Cheltenham on the day its late night levy comes into force.
"The levy is part of a wide range of action the government is taking to address the £11 billion a year that alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder costs England and Wales.
"We are also introducing a ban on the worst cases of very cheap and harmful alcohol sales and I am challenging the drinks industry to play a greater role in tackling misuse of its products."
Authorities must consult locally before introducing the late night levy.
Cheltenham becomes the second authority to introduce a levy after Newcastle. Islington confirmed it will become the first London borough to bring in the power later this year.
Councillor Peter Jeffries, Cheltenham Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, safety and communities, said:
"We are fortunate that many residents and visitors who enjoy Cheltenham’s vibrant night life, do so safely and responsibly.
"Nonetheless, a thriving night-time economy does put additional demands on the cost and resource involved in keeping everyone safe.
"New projects paid for by revenue raised from the late night levy should start in late 2014 to early 2015, and at that point residents and visitors should start seeing the benefits."
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said:
"Cheltenham’s nightlife is one of the most active in the region and keeping its communities safe while people are out and about having a good time puts pressure on both police and council resources.
"Only last month, tens of thousands of race-goers descended on the town for Gold Cup Week, which was clearly good for local pubs and clubs.
"But I think that businesses benefiting from Cheltenham’s buoyant night-time economy should share in the cost of achieving our goal of safer days and nights for all and I’m pleased that the implementation of the late night levy is finally getting under way."
Notes to editors
- Alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, and the government wants to support local communities in reducing the scenes of drunkenness and violence that blight communities, particularly at night.
- The government believes that those businesses which benefit from selling alcohol late at night should make a reasonable contribution towards late night policing costs, rather than relying on taxpayers to bear the full costs.
- The levy, conferred on licensing authorities by provision in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, gives licensing authorities the power to charge a levy to those who are licensed to sell alcohol late at night in the authority’s area, as a means of raising a contribution towards the costs of policing the late-night economy.
- The levy must apply to the whole of the licensing authority’s area. The late night supply period must begin at or after midnight and end at or before 6am. Licensing authorities may consider that there are some types of premises in relation to which the holder should not make a contribution towards the cost of policing the night-time economy through the levy or where a reduction should be offered.
- For more information call Jamie McGinnes in the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3825.