The levy contributes towards policing and management of Hackney’s night-time economy.
Photograph: Zigfrid von Underbelly, Hackney, via Flickr

The Town Hall is preparing to offer a large discount on its late night levy to venues that join its Hackney Nights safety charter.

An ongoing consultation is expected to end in such venues receiving a 30 per cent concession.

Businesses would have to meet all the mandatory criteria of the scheme each year to qualify for the reduction in the charge, which contributes towards policing and management of the night-time economy in certain areas.

Cllr Peter Snell said: “What has happened has been transformative. We as a council took our time and joined in when we realised we could work with the police and do joint funding rather than it just all going over to the police.

“Where we are now is that those people who used to be the only ones who paid the levy in Dalston are now the people who are going to get a discount, because they will do this training and they will get the discount.

“The people who were taking the mickey before will simply be told, ‘You’ve got to pay the full whack and we’ll continue to know where to enforce’. It’s helping our enforcement service, building bridges with the community.

“We are a licensing authority but we are good guys, we want to work with successful businesses, and this is absolutely a fantastic direction of travel.”

Businesses in the highest band for the levy could see a whopping £447.90 taken off their bill, with their fees set to reduce to £1,045.

The greatest amount of businesses paying the levy in Hackney are in Band B – those with rateable values of £4,301 to £33,000. These venues would see £230.40 taken off their current £768 charge.

Once signed up, businesses would receive online training, be able to attend events, webinars and networking meetings, and would receive best practice and Covid-related advice from the Town Hall.

The levy caused controversy in 2019 when around three-quarters of the £400,000 collected remained unspent, with the police unable to commit dedicated resources funded by the money during Year 1.

The balance carried over from previous years stood at £260,073 last year, with police then spending £22,417 of that money through an agreement with City Hall from August to November. Patrols were funded every Friday and Saturday night up to lockdown period, with officers in so-called ‘Scarlet Cars’ visiting premises to check on compliance with licensing and Covid requirements.

A further £6,395 has been spent on enforcement, around £6,000 on the Hackney Nights portal, and a little under £70k on administration and salaries for the entire year, with £173,903 now left in the pot.

Town Hall officers have accepted that if many businesses opt to receive accreditation, there would be “some financial impact” on the levy, with the recent cyber attack also severely affecting the ability to take payments in the first half of the year, though they are now understood to be accepted regularly.

Council and police are now gearing up for the complete reopening of the night-time economy, which the Town Hall says will present “new challenges” for the coming year, with a detailed crime analysis underway and a policing plan currently undertaken based on objectives set by the community safety partnership.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team