Newcastle City Council asks drinkers for views on new ‘late night levy’

DRINKERS in Newcastle are being asked to have their say on council plans to charge pubs a “late night levy” to open after midnight.

Councillors say it would “reduce alcohol related crime and disorder” with at least 70% of the cash going to fund policing the “party city.”

But if the proposals go ahead as outlined up to 30% could help fill the authority’s coffers, which face a £100m black hole over the next three years.

The plans have already proven controversial with pub bosses claiming any new fee would harm responsible outlets and warning the move could lead to job losses.

An online consultation has now been launched on the plans, which could be introduced by November 1, with residents able to have their say before April 30.

“Newcastle has a reputation for a great night life, both for local people and visitors to the city,” the information for residents reads.

“Most people enjoy a safe night out, but as with any city with a lively night time economy there is a need to reduce levels of crime and disorder.

“That is why Newcastle City Council wants to introduce a Night Time Levy. This is where places that sell alcohol after midnight are charged extra money to pay towards the cost of policing.

“We think all licensed premises (for example pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels) that are licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am should be charged.

“As well as for paying for policing we think this money should be used to pay for some of the council’s services, for example checking licensed premises operate legally, cleaning the streets of the rubbish people drop on a night out and CCTV.

“We believe this is a fair way to make sure our city remains safe. It will benefit local residents and businesses and make sure our city remains attractive to tourists.”

Do you think Newcastle pubs should have to pay a late night levy to open beyond midnight? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.