Bolton Council is set to start another six-week consultation on a late night levy after an initial six-week consultation led to a change to the scheme.

Its idea is for businesses to contribute towards the cost of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour via a tax on those with a late night licence.

Initially the authority was looking to impose the levy on those with a licence to sell any alcohol between the hours of 3am and 6am across the borough of Bolton as a whole.

Now the authority is looking to impose the levy on those with a licence to sell any refreshment, including food, between the hours of 3am and 6am but in the town centre only.

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 government.

All revenue is split between the authorities, in this case the council, and the police, in this case GMP, to be spent on their night-time economy team.

The Bolton News: The area affected by the late-night levy

A report for consideration by Licensing Committee today reads: "Ensuring the safety of Bolton's night-time economy is paramount and the statistics demonstrate the Town Centre region is a demand generator for policing resources. It is therefore recommended the proposals to introduce a boroughwide late night levy be scaled back to focus on the Town Centre region where it is evident the majority of ASB incidents are occurring.

"It is recommended all late night refreshment premises captured within the revised area be included in the late night levy due to the statistics highlighting a number of ASB incidents are occurring within or in close proximity to these businesses."

The law allows for exemptions for businesses such as bingo, cinemas, hotels and theatres and for reductions for businesses such as those in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief.

The Licensing Committee is set to start another six-week consultation on the late night levy before making a recommendation to the council which would make a decision next year.

The charges are set by 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.

203 residents and stakeholders took part in the digital survey, outlining their reflections on the proposed late night levy. Four official responses were received from organisations from the hospitality industry.

They included a submission from Rontec Watford Ltd, who run a 24-hour petrol forecourt with an alcohol licence on Salford Road, Bolton. They described the levy as ‘a blunt instrument which lacks flexibility’.

Their statement, said: “We would respectfully point out that to many businesses the levy would not be a ‘small charge’ as stated in your consultation. “Some premises would be faced with a levy of £1,259 each year regardless of how much, if any, alcohol they may sell during the night.
“We would suggest that there is an insufficiently large number of premises licensed between 3am and 6am in Bolton to generate enough revenue to make the levy a viable option. “Many of those so licensed will not be the cause of issues that may occur within the town centre late night economy.”

Another person said: “It is not reasonable to expect police and council resources to be concentrated in one area. “There are other towns such as Westhoughton, Horwich and Farnworth that do not have late licences until 6am and are thriving and do not have any trouble.
“The police are rarely seen here and this is not fair or reasonable to those that pay their taxes in these places.”

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.