By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Councillors decided to scrap a levy on city centre bars that serve alcohol after midnight to help them bounce back from the pandemic.
But Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner warned removing the levy could hinder their efforts to cut crime and disorder.
The Late-Night Levy has been running in Nottingham since 2014 to help offset the cost of policing the night-time economy.
Bars, pubs, and clubs authorised to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am must pay the levy, which is based on the rateable value of the business.
The levy can be anything between £299 and £4,440 per year.
Between November 2020 and October 2021, income generated from the levy was £133,851. Currently 144 premises in the city boundary are liable to pay.
Officers told the licensing committee on Monday, August 8, that scrapping the levy would “reduce the burden” on businesses fighting back from the cost of the pandemic. They described the scheme as “no longer desirable.”
The council said some businesses outside of the city centre were paying the levy such as petrol stations and they were getting little benefit from the scheme.
Cllr Dave Liversidge (Lab), ward councillor for St Ann’s, said: “Most of the businesses outside the city centre, 96 businesses, pay and they get no benefit from it. It should be ceased.”
More than 100 premises that pay to be members of the Business Improvement District are exempt from paying the levy as the BID has its own plans to tackle late-night anti-social behaviour.
Income from the levy is split 30:70 between Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
The money has been spent on overtime for police officers and on the cost of nine of the council’s community protection officers.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The Late- Night Levy has provided the opportunity to supplement the night-time economy policing offer with overtime funding to prevent additional officers being drawn from the neighbourhoods.
“It has allowed the partnership to provide a prompt and robust response to emerging crime patterns, trends and hotspot locations.
“For example, the Late-Night Levy has recently contributed to Nottingham’s partnership response to the national ‘spiking epidemic’.
“A proposal has also been submitted for an additional CCTV camera on St James’ Street.”
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Caroline Henry (Cons), added: “I have significant concerns that the absence of revenue raised via the Late-Night Levy will thwart mine and the Chief’s Constable’s efforts to make and keep our city centre safe.
“A further area of concern, if the Levy were to the revoked, is that of the impact and lack of resilience regarding football related violence.”
The council argued that the crime commissioner received grant funding of £237.2m in 2021/2022 and is expected to receive £250.2m, an additional £13 million, for the period 2022/2023. This will ensure extra officers are employed.
Cllr Audrey Dinnall (Lab), chair of the licensing committee said: “Nottinghamshire Police will receive that extra £13m of Government funding so it will not interfere with services, so it is something that I support.”
Cllr Audra Wynter (Lab), ward councillor for Bestwood, asked if the council’s community protection officers will be affected by removing the levy.
Officers said they would be managed in “current budgets” and they “will not be at risk.”
The licensing committee endorsed the scrapping of the scheme. It will now be revoked at a meeting of the full council on September 12.