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Late night club call

Late night pubs and night-clubs should be made to pay towards cleaning up revellers’ mess, council leaders have said.

 

 

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the Government to ensure that its proposed ‘Late Night Levy’ for clubs and bars compensates councils for keeping nightlife hotspots clean and safe. Under  Home Office proposals, councils and police will be able to charge venues for the cost of protecting their customers and cleaning up after them. The Coalition is proposing that 70 per cent of the fee would go to the police; councils are warning that this ignores them. Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “It’s entirely appropriate that bars and clubs should contribute towards the cost of cleaning up the inevitably messy aftermath of a big night out. The introduction of a Late Night Levy is a definite step in the right direction, but the current plans for how the money can be used risks taxpayers still being left to pick up the bill because it fails to recognise the significant contribution made by local authorities. The best way to tackle rowdy alcohol-fuelled trouble is to minimise the chances of it happening in the first place. Councils have led the way at this, whether it be employing taxi marshals to keep things in check as revellers make their way home in the early hours, or redesigning high streets to remove pressure points which get too crowded at closing time at the local night club.” 

 

The LGA, which represents more than 350 local authorities in England and Wales, is calling for police and councils to be able to decide locally how to spend and share the money. By placing restrictions on how the money from nightclubs and bars can be spend, government risks stifling the local innovation that has produced it is claimed council schemes like employing taxi marshals, supporting street pastors and improving street lighting to reduce the risk of drunken trouble. 

Councils are asking for government to give local areas the flexibility to decide how to introduce charges and decide which types of premises should be made to pay it, dependent on how much time and resource officers have to allocate to them. For instance, national proposals to exempt eight categories of pubs, restaurants and bed and breakfast accommodation might be appropriate for some areas of the country, but not others. Local authorities already receive complaints about these types of business and should be able to charge them accordingly if they are contributing to excessive noise, nuisance and drunken behaviour.


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