Hospitality Ulster encourage businesses to respond to Pavement Cafe Licence Fee Consultation
06 September 2016
Hospitality Ulster, the voice of the hospitality sector, has strongly encouraged businesses in Belfast to respond to the Pavement café licence fees consultation launched by Belfast City Council to send a clear message that the proposed charges for the administration of the scheme should be scrapped.
The Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (NI) 2014 which comes into operation on 1 October 2016, authorises a person who owns a business involving the supply of food or drink (in or from premises) to place furniture on a public area for use by customers. This includes cafes, restaurants, pubs, retail outlets providing refreshments, takeaways and supermarkets with a deli counter.
However, Belfast City Council is the first local government authority to propose the charging of fees which many in the hospitality sector will be angered by, as they already pay rates and are the main reason why visitors and tourists flock to Belfast City Centre.
Belfast City Council are proposing the following fees:
- Grant application Fee - Non Refundable: £660
- Renewal application or Variation Fee – Non Refundable: £435
- Annual Inspection Fee: £110
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster reacted:
“The implementation of the Pavement Cafes legislation has been a long time in coming and just at the point that we thought the hospitality sector could benefit from it, the proposal from Belfast City Council to charge hundreds of pounds for a license, renewals and annual inspection will have the opposite effect.”
“The hospitality sector already pays a significant amount of rates and this is just an extra charge which we are totally against as it increases costs at a time when we are faced with a whole list of financial pressures. We are one of the biggest economic generators for this city and are a key part of the offer in attracting a significant amount of people. With only a few days a year when we can actually use outside seating, this is basically a ‘Sunshine Tax’. Why does Belfast City Council want to add another tax on us when we need to be supported?”
“We encourage as many businesses as possible to respond to the consultation to force Belfast City Council to scrap the idea of charging at all. This is the first consultation which we expect all councils across Northern Ireland to carry out and our message is clear - we don’t want these charges.”
The online consultation can be found here: http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/buildingcontrol-environment/licences-permits/pavement-cafes.aspx