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The BID Foundation opposes late night levy in consultation response

high street at night

The BID Foundation (TBF) has informed the Home Office that it does not support any future expansion of the late night levy, the discretionary power enabling licensing authorities in England and Wales to collect financial contributions from businesses that sell alcohol at night.

Under new government proposals, the levy, which is designed to fund safe and secure high streets,  would expand to incorporate premises that sell hot food and drink. TBF responded to these plans as part of a consultation that closed today (4th April 2023).

At a BID Leadership Network meeting in Bristol in early February, TBF members discussed the late night levy and its role in supporting vital and viable night time economies. There was a clear consensus that the levy was fundamentally flawed, despite the need for action to ensure that businesses, customers and communities feel safe when visiting high streets at night.

TBF’s stated objections to the levy include:

  • That it will place further financial burden on high street businesses that already make a range of tax contributions, which will discourage growth and new entrants to the high street.

  • Hospitality and entertainment is a growth sector that is driving local economic recovery. Targeting this sector with further financial burdens will stymie this growth.

  • There is little data and evidence to emerge from the current late night levy policy. A greater evaluation is required, given some figures cited in the consultation date from 2016.

  • While investment in safe and secure high streets is welcomed, TBF members and other place leaders report a lack of transparency in spending of the late night levy, which can be used for a wide range of interventions. There is an opportunity cost of raising funding in the manner of the late night levy and then in not enabling scrutiny of how it is spent. We appreciate the nuances of bureaucracy and accounting in large organisations like local authorities/licensing authorities and the police, which often makes this level of granularity impossible to achieve. As with any place governance and funding, efficacy and scrutiny of spend is essential.

Matthew Davis, Director of Membership for the Institute of Place Management, said:

“Proposals to extend the late night levy are not in step with a range of government measures – on business stimulus, rates relief, and the range of hugely welcomed place-based investment since 2019.”

“Only 9 local authorities have employed the levy to date and there is very little data on the effectiveness of the spending it provides for. We are concerned about future funds going into anonymous local pots and would welcome a discussion on a range of options to properly fund and provide for safer streets.”

The government will publish a 'response to consultation 'document on GOV.UK, summarising all responses including that of The BID Foundation.

A number of BIDs have been communicating with their levy payers about this consultation to ensure that engagement on the policy is as broad as possible. 

If you have any questions about The BID Foundation’s view on the late night levy, or would like to share your perspective and views, please contact

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