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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 15: Power to impose charges on licence holders etc. in zones

131.This section gives local authorities a new power to impose charges on the holders of premises licences which authorise the use of premises for the sale by way of retail of alcohol and the holders of club premises certificates which permit the club to supply alcohol to members or guests. Subsection (1) enables the Secretary of State to make regulations setting out the detail of these charges which will be payable monthly.

132.Subsection (2) provides that the regulations may require the local authority to use the revenue from these charges for the purposes specified in the regulations. The charges are likely to cover the costs of initiatives to tackle the problem of alcohol-related crime and disorder over and above the normal level of public services. The costs will cover additional enforcement activity by the police and local authority affecting all premises liable to pay the charge within the zone.

133.Subsection (3) requires the Secretary of State to set the charging rate at a level which he considers appropriate to cover the purposes specified in the regulations under subsection (2), and the administration costs of running the scheme.

134.Subsection (4) enables the Secretary of State to set different charging rates in the regulations. There may be different rates for different types of local authority area (e.g. a large urban centre as compared to a rural area with one small market town), different types of alcohol disorder zones (e.g. the number of premises within the boundaries of the zone) and different premise types (e.g. those which close before a certain time at night). The rates may be set out in the regulations, or the regulations may simply prescribe the mechanisms for working out the different rates.

135.Subsection (5) enables the regulations to authorise or require a local authority to grant discounts from the charges. This provision will provide for the granting of discounts once the industry code of practice is launched, is well established and premises have signed up to implement it. Regulations must provide for certain premises to be exempt from the charges. These exemptions are specified in subsection (6), and are limited to premises where the following two conditions are both satisfied:


the premises are not principally used for the sale or supply of alcohol; and


the availability of alcohol is not the main reason or one of the main reasons why people visit the premises (either generally or at particular times of the day or week).

136.The purpose of subsection (6) is to ensure that licensed premises such as restaurants, hotels, cinemas and gyms, whose primary purpose and/or basis of patronage is not the sale or supply of alcohol do not have to pay the charge.

137.Subsection (7) ensures that discounts or exemptions can be limited to premises complying with conditions which are set out in the regulations or specified by the local authority in accordance with the regulations.

138.Subsection (8) enables the regulations to make provision about payment, collection and enforcement of the charges, determination of liability to pay the charges and appeals.

139.Subsection (9) enables the regulations to include a provision for interest to be charged on charges where payment is overdue, and for the suspension of the premises licence or club premises certificate if the charge is not paid.

140.Subsection (10) explains that the reference to the administration costs in subsection (3) is a reference to the cost of arrangements for imposing, collecting and recovering the charges.

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