All eyes on Newcastle as the city council introduces a late night levy on pubs

Landlords and politicians up and down the country are today looking to Newcastle as it introduces a late night levy on pubs and clubs to see if the controversial “tax” works.

The city is the first in the country to introduce such a scheme, which charges licensed businesses that open beyond midnight between £299 and £4,400 depending on how much business rates they pay.

Many publicans are angry about the levy’s introduction, and particularly that it is a blanket charge regardless of whether pubs regularly stay open to the limits of their license.

And some landlords have suggested they may be forced to stay open later to try and recoup the extra cash they are being forced to pay.

But the council’s director of Regulatory Services and Public Protection, Stephen Savage, said the fees would help the local authority “recover the costs of alcohol related crime and disorder which we strongly feel taxpayers should not bear the brunt of.”

So far more than 130 pubs and clubs have signed up to a new best practice scheme in exchange for a 30% reduction in the levy.