Late night levy welcomed in Shoreditch

"There are only three things guaranteed in life. Death, taxes, and a good night out in Shoreditch." Credit: Soda Club Guide

A levy on the sale of alcohol after midnight which came into force on Wednesday has been welcomed by both locals and bar owners in Shoreditch, where the new tax may have the biggest impact.

The new late-night levy will see 429 bars and off-licences in Hackney pay as much as £1,493-per-year on top of their existing licence fee if they want to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am.

70% of the expected £400,000 per year from the new charge will go towards funding policing and the rest on community safety. The council believes that the levy will pay for more police officers, street cleaners and enforcement officers.

Both residents and bar owners in Shoreditch, a hub for bars and nightlife, welcomed the measure. Hoxton East and Shoreditch ward also has the highest crimes rates in Hackney.

Paul Daly, owner of Zigfrid von Underbelly, a Hoxton Square pub, said he was happy to pay the tax despite it potentially harming his business.

“We all pay taxes and all must contribute,” he said. “Of course I’m concerned about profits, but I’m also concerned about the wider area and if it helps tackle crime and helps the area survive then that’s great.”

“There’s only three things that are certain in life – death, taxes and a good night out in Shoreditch,” he added.

Happy to pay the tax even if it harms business – Zigfrid Von Underbelly, Hoxton. Credit: Ewan Munro.

Pitfield Street resident Paul Fleming also welcomed the tariff saying it was a “sensible way” to create balance between the night-time economy and the interests of local people.

“With the night-time economy there are things you can measure, like revenue, and things you can’t. You can’t really measure the noise disturbance to local residents, for example.”

Hackney Police estimate that policing the night-time economy costs £1.4 million per year. Borough Commander, DCI Simon Lawrence welcomed the extra funding.

“We dedicate resources specifically to the night time economy to… help keep Hackney a safe place to live, work and enjoy,” he said. “With limited resources this is becoming more difficult to achieve”