CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Pubs still face late night levy bills despite 10pm curfew

Licensees call for charge to be cancelled this year

29 September, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

Henry Conlon at the Dublin Castle

PUBLICANS say they are stuck paying a late night levy to the council, even though now they face six months of closing by 10pm.

Venues which normally stay open later in Camden Town have faced an extra charge to pay for policing and weekend clean-ups since 2014.

The compulsory bills of around £1,300 have been posted out, leading to anger among licensees who were ordered by the government to have their doors closed by 10pm, a measure that Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Henry Conlon, the chairman of the Camden Inner London Licensees Association, told the New Journal: “CILLA members say to be sent a bill for this amount at this time, when we are all trying to get back on our feet and stay above water, is insensitive to say the least. It is for the coming year, so we believe it would make sense for it to be waived.”

Mr Conlon runs the Dublin Castle music pub in Parkway, which famously gave Madness, Blur and Amy Winehouse a stage before they were famous.He added: “It has always been an unfair tax. We were the golden goose for Camden, bringing the tourists in, creating opportunities for young and old musicians alike. Now we are having a bit of trouble, they are kicking us when we are down.”

Landlords opposed to levy are frustrated that late night take-aways and off licences are not billed and argue such outlets should also bear responsibility for clean up costs and safety.

Camden’s finance chief Councillor Richard Olzsewski said the council was bound by law to keep collecting and the government had decided not to relax the rules despite the new 10pm pub curfew.

“New government advice is emerging on a daily basis and we will continue to monitor the impact it has on Camden businesses,” he said. “In the meantime, the policing that the levy pays for is still deployed within the borough to deliver services to Camden’s business community.”

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