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The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 gives licensing authorities the power to introduce a “late night levy” on premises licensed to sell alcohol in the authority’s area.

The levy applies during a “late-night supply period” (i.e. between midnight and 6am). The authority chooses the length of time within this period that the levy will apply. The levy must cover the whole of an authority’s area.

The net revenue raised goes towards the costs of policing the late-night economy. This must be split between the licensing authority and the relevant police and crime commissioner. At least 70% of the net revenue must be given to the police. The licensing authority can retain up to 30% to fund the services it provides to manage the night-time economy.

The levy only applies in England and Wales.

Ten licensing authorities have a levy in place.

Further information is available in Home Office guidance (March 2015).

Reforming the levy

Section 142 and Schedule 18 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 would reform the levy by:

  • allowing licensing authorities to target specific geographical locations;
  • extending the levy to include late night refreshment outlets;
  • enabling PCCs to request the licensing authority to propose introducing a levy; and
  • requiring licensing authorities to publish information about how funds raised by the levy are spent.

Section 142 and Schedule 18 are not yet in force.

Criticism of the levy

A House of Lords Select Committee report (April 2017) said that the levy in its current form had failed to achieve its objectives and should be abolished. However, it did recognise that the 2017 Act’s changes might “stand some chance of successfully reforming” it.

In its response (November 2017), the Government said that it would be commencing the provisions of the 2017 Act. However, it would not commence the measure allowing licensing authorities to charge the levy to late night refreshment premises until it had consulted on the appropriate level of the charge.

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