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Councillors reject bars levy scheme
A BID to get bars and nightclubs to pay a levy towards late night town centre policing has been thrown out by St Helens Council.
Such levies are a Home Office initiative but the request was made by Merseyside Police, which said that the money would be used to curb disorder between midnight and 6am.
A meeting of the licensing and environmental protection committee of St Helens Council had heard that police chiefs thought “that in order to ensure St Helens remains safe for those who enjoy the nightime economy, the introduction of a levy is desirable.”
But a spokesman from St Helens Council responded: “The council’s licensing committee felt the proposed levy was not a viable proposition.”
Had it been approved, the levy would have allowed St Helens Council to charge an annual fee to nightspots licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am. It would also have included supermarkets with a 24-hour licence.
The levy would not have applied to every business, with those exempt including theatres and cinemas, country village pubs and buildings with overnight accommodation.
Based on licensing record as of December 2013, the estimated value of the proposed night time levy would have seen the police take £190,593 over one year with £81,670 retained by the council.
News of the police’s application came after a trial of 2am closures in the town centre during January, but this was cut short because bars and taxi drivers felt it was affecting trade.
Despite the two recent moves and the statement included in the levy application, senior police officers have denied there are any problems with funding cover during the early hours.
Merseyside Police confirmed it had worked with the council to consider whether the levy would be feasible and beneficial.
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