Plans to introduce a levy on Southampton bars and clubs that stay open past midnight are set to go out for consultation.
The proposal, unveiled by Labour city council bosses and Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes, would have any venue operating past midnight pay an annual fee anywhere between £299 and £4,400. The charge is expected to raise an additional £240,000 per year, of which 70% would go to the police and the remaining 30% to the council.
Labour council leader Simon Letts told The Daily Echo:
“We are interested to get the public’s views on it. We expect there is widespread community support for it but there will be some opposition from the licensing trade and we are keen to hear their views too. We don’t think the levy is onerous and may in fact help custom.”
Members of the city’s licensing trade have already voiced their concerns about the plans, however, which they believe will force many venues to close early and will negatively impact the variety and standard of Southampton nightlife.
Consultation is set to be launched tomorrow, with a deadline for responses set for July 30th. The new levy could feasibly be implemented by February 2015.
What do you think of the proposed levy? Let us know in the comments.