Hotels, Village Pubs And Restaurants Could Be Exempt From All-Night Licence Fees
Hotels, restaurants, casinos and country pubs could all be exempt from plans to give licensing authorities the power to charge premises which open past midnight, the Home Office said today.
An annual charge of up to £4,440 is planned for large nightclubs from the autumn, with lower fees for pubs, to help fund the additional policing costs caused by late-night drinking.
But hotels selling alcohol only to guests after midnight, restaurants serving meals, casinos and bingo halls with membership arrangements, and country pubs in villages of fewer than 3,000 people could all be exempt.
Home Office Minister Lord Henley said the proposals aimed to ensure that premises which were not part of the "wider late-night economy" are not penalised when the fees are brought in.
The powers, introduced in the Government's Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, are aimed at tackling problem premises but could be introduced across entire local authorities.
Other measures will also give power to communities to end 24-hour drinking in their area.
Licensing authorities will be able to make an early-morning alcohol restriction order, effectively banning premises from selling alcohol during set times, such as between midnight and 6am.
"Alcohol-related crime and disorder is a problem for many of our communities," Lord Henley said.
"These new measures give power back to local areas so they can respond to their individual needs."
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said: "Ideas put forward to exempt restaurants and members' clubs from the levy would be unfair, and could leave pubs footing the entire bill.
"Overall, these additional costs will be an obstacle to growth in the sector and the creation of much-needed new jobs."
She went on: "If the Government is serious about cutting red tape for small businesses like pubs, they need to think carefully.
"More and more alcohol is drunk at home, yet more and more red tape is heaped on pubs."