Plans to make Leeds bars pay for policing go to council leaders next week

police-on-patrol-5765931Plans to introduce a tax on bars, pubs and clubs in Leeds to help pay for late-night policing could take an important step forward next week when council leaders meet.

If members of Leeds City Council’s executive board give their approval next Wednesday (4th September), a model of how the “late night levy” would work will go out to consultation before Christmas this year.

Under the model, any licenced premises selling or supplying alcohol between 0:30am and 6am throughout Leeds would have to pay between £299 and £4,440 a year, depending on the premise’s rateable value.

Some types of premises would be exempt, including country village pubs, premises with overnight accommodation, theatres, cinemas, bingo halls, community amateur sports clubs, and community premises.

And there would be reductions available for premises which are active members of council-approved schemes aimed at reducing alcohol-related crime, and for smaller businesses that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief.

The top 10 areas of Leeds to be hit the hardest by the tax

The top 10 areas of Leeds to be hit the hardest by the tax (from council report)

Levy to raise £600,000 a year

With reductions and exemptions taken into account, the tax/levy would bring in some £600,000 a year.

“A conservative cost of policing and other arrangements for reduction of prevention
of crime and disorder, in connection with the supply of alcohol between midnight
and 6am is £1.49m per annum,” says a report drafted for next week’s meeting.

All but £90,000 of that total is down to police costs.

If the levy had been set to run from 00.01am to 6.00am (rather than 00.30am to 6am as it stands) it would have brought in around £1.1m a year, according to figures in the report.

By law at least 70% of the revenue raised goes to the local police, with 30% retained by the council. In theory the police can spend their share on whatever they decide, while the council is restricted to spending on stuff like preventing alcohol-related crime, street cleaning, mobile treatment units … 

Here in Leeds the council and the police are currently looking at the possibility of pooling the revenue in a single fund that would be jointly administered and used for jointly agreed initiatives. 

Whatever comes of that joint approach and whatever the outcome of this autumn’s 12-week consultation, it doesn’t look like the pubs and clubs will have to cough up for nearly two years.

“It is expected that implementation will take 9 months from the design of the levy and
the first payment would be made 13 months after implementation,” says the council report going to next week’s meeting.

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4 Responses to Plans to make Leeds bars pay for policing go to council leaders next week

  1. Bywater blog says:

    Not sure if I like this; bars will just try to get around it, many are exempt. We dont ask fast food bars to pay extra or their customers’ litter clearing away, and alcohol carries a much higher tax. Much of our alcohol fueled violence starts off from people that have consumed supermarket bought alcohol before they venture out to the pubs.

  2. Simon Cooke says:

    So what would the cops be doing if there weren’t bars? Sitting in the station playing cards and drinking coffee? Or maybe we’d need fewer of them?

    Just another tax on pleasure from the place that’s fast becomeing Britain’s most puritan, anti-fun city.

  3. Pingback: Leeds today: robots, salt, transport, revivals, policing, big dog, mud and comedy. | Beyond Guardian Leeds

  4. Paul Thomas says:

    Simon

    I agree with your sentiment. The first instinct today to any problem – real or perceived – seems to be to ban, censor, regulate or tax. And Leeds seems at the forefront of much of that.

    Paul

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