Labour’s spokesperson for Economic Development in Sheffield, Councillor Ben Miskell and long serving councillor Peter Price hit out against proposals by Sheffield Greens to introduce a ‘late-night levy’, which Councillor Miskell says will “run down our city centre and drive away business and investment”.
Councils have the power to introduce a ‘late-night levy’ after a change in the law in 2011, giving councils the power to levy an additional tax on restaurants, bars and nightclubs which serve alcohol. Green councillors had proposed spending £50,000 on a feasibility study into the proposals, which Labour objected to. The exchange comes as councillors met to agree the financial budget for Sheffield City Council.
Councillor Ben Miskell, Labour’s lead for economic development said:
“I am concerned about the Green’s proposal to introduce a Night Time Levy – a regressive tax on our night time economy in Sheffield. This tax will inevitably be passed onto citizens who are spending their hard-earned cash in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Because of the way the law is set up only 30% of the income raised from this levy can be used by the council. It’s a tax which will run down our city centre and drive away business and investment.”
“In a cost-of-living crisis, with everyone struggling, including hospitality venues themselves, now is certainly not the time to back a misguided additional tax that will have a negative impact on trade, footfall, people’s back pockets and jobs in this city”.
Councillor Peter Price (Shiregreen and Brightside) said:
“People come to the city to enjoy it and to introduce a levy will be the one thing that kills it off. We must be very careful as there’s massive investment in the city centre. We’ve got students pouring into the city centre now because it’s an attractive place to be. The nigh time economy is a big part of Sheffield’s wider economy. It employs thousands of people, keeps our taxi drivers in work and works right through the night. We ought to be proud of our city centre. If Leeds see this proposal, they will laugh their heads off and so will Manchester. They are our competitors”.