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WSTA condemns 7% licence fee hike

Published:  23 July, 2008

Plans to increase all licence fees by 7% for the next three years have been slammed by the Wine & Spirit Trade Assocation (WSTA). The increase, as recommended by the Licensing Fees Review Panel, would be introduced in the period 2007/8 and would then be reviewed in 2009/10.

If the review panel's report is approved, the annual fee for a Band C premises would rise from 295 to 315.65. Other recommendations include:

no change to the fees system being set nationally and applied locally;

no change to the use of non-domestic rateable alue as the means of applying fee levels;

the application procedure should be simplified and guidance for applicants should be more precise and clear; and

the Government should look at the hereditament issue, so that a premises licence only applies to the necessary part

of the building, and the rateable value can then be adjusted accordingly.

It is now up to the Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport whether to implement the increase - but WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles described the proposal as a kick in the teeth for the licensed trade'.

He said: When the new regime was introduced, licensing costs went up enormously for businesses. Now, after less than 18 months, they propose yet another increase.'