Michael Fabricant has written to Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for the
Department of Culture Media & Sport, asking her to modify new licensing laws
which could force council tax up.
"Under the present system, pub and club licences are issued by magistrates"
says Michael Fabricant. "The Government are now shifting this activity onto
local councils and the fees for this work have been set by the Government.
The problem is: the cost of inspecting premises and other work associated
with issuing a licence doesn’t begin to be covered by the scale of fees
proposed by Tessa Jowell’s ministry. So all the excess costs will, yet
again, have to be subsidised by the poor, hard-pressed council tax payer.
Lichfield District Council tell me that just 10% or so of the actual costs
of evaluating and issuing a licence will be covered by the fees the publican
will have to pay.
"So I have asked that Lichfield and other councils should be allowed to set
their own fees which truly reflect the cost. The only other alternative is
that councils drop all the inspection procedures and just rubber stamp all
pub and club licence applications. I do not think that would be welcomed by
local residents in Lichfield who already suffer from the noise of late night
revelry. I do not think that the Government has thought this one through."