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New ‘pub tax’ expected to get the green light

A controversial new ‘pub tax’, which will see drinkers contributing to the cost of policing, is expected to get the first stage of approval in Leeds.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that a ‘late night levy’ in the city could raise more than £1 million in revenue for the police and local council. The money will go towards the estimated £1.4m of overall costs of late-night policing in the city.

The newspaper claims that around 70% of the revenue would go to the police and 30% to the council, to pay for weekend street cleaning and marshals.

The scheme would see every business licenced to sell alcohol paying a levy, which will vary from £299 to £4,400 a year. The actual payable fee will depend on the type of business, with further discounts for PubWatch members, while certain venues such as cinemas and bingo halls would be exempt.

The proposals have drawn criticism from many businesses within Leeds and perhaps not surprisingly from many pub owners. Matthew Jones, who owns three pubs in Leeds city centre told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Why are we constantly being punished with big fees, new licences and higher taxes?” However West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson welcomed the proposal, adding that there was “a case that such a levy could be used for the benefit of the night-time economy”.

The Leeds City Council licensing committee is meeting today to discuss the proposal.

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