A plan to ask bars and clubs to contribute towards the cost of anti-social behaviour and crime moved a step closer after the council agreed to go to a consultation.

The authority's licensing committee met this week to consider a tax on all businesses with a licence to sell alcohol between the hours of 3am and 6am.

Referred to as a late night levy, the plan is an option to all councils since the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 12 years ago, although the number of councils to introduce it remains small. Other examples of the tax are to be seen in areas of Liverpool and Newcastle.

The businesses are split into Bands A to E based on their rateable value, or in other words their rental value, with the charges set by central government.

READ MORE: Bolton Council allowances could change as review starts.

All revenue is split between the authorities, in this case the council, and the police, in this case GMP, to be spent on a night-time operation called Operation Overspill.

Superintendent Danny O'Neill, of GMP Bolton, explained the need for this revenue to support their work when the licensing committee met this week at the town hall.

Superintendent O'Neill said: "What we see is a sharp spike in demand from 3am until 6am when we focus on a small amount of premises. 

"We have limited resources to deal with this sharp spike in demand, which places officers and members of the public at an increased risk."

READ MORE: Bolton Council contracts 3GS to fine litterbugs in the borough.

Superintendent O'Neill said the cost of the night-time operation since it started in March 2022 is in the region of £200,000.

However, it has seen a reduction in certain crimes and has saved as much as four times this figure as a result, he suggested.

He added: "We have demonstrated we are delivering a good night-time operation.

"This levy is helping us to take it to the next level."

Councillors were all in agreement to go to a consultation, perhaps as soon as between May and June.

As well as bars and clubs, businesses like 24-hour off-licences and petrol stations are also affected.

Cllr Sue Haworth said: "For whatever reason, the town centre is attracting people who are really problematic, really risky, committing violence and so on.

"It's marvellous this sad business is being attended to."

Cllr Mudasir Dean said: "In my day when you went out you came back at half two and my dad used to say why are you out so long?

"Now it's the norm for people to come back at half six, which is something I cannot understand – maybe it's an age thing," he added.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act allows for exemptions to some businesses like bingo, cinemas, hotels and theatres.

After a consultation, the licensing committee will make a recommendation to the council, which will make a decision later this year.

The late night levy could come into effect at the start of 2024.

The charges are set by central government. Here is a list of them:

Band A - rateable value of £0 to £4300 - £299/year
Band B - rateable value of £4301 to £33000 - £768/year
Band C - rateable value of £33001 to £87000 - £1259/year
Band D - rateable value of £87001 to £125000 - £1365/year
Band E - rateable value of £125001 and above - £1493/year
Band D x 2 multiplier = £2730/year*
Band E x 3 multiplier = £4440/year*

*The multiplier applies to Band D and Band E businesses where the sale of alcohol is their primary purpose or sole purpose.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.