The Licensing Act 2003 has had fixed national fees since it was introduced – set by central government. The LGA has consistently argued that there is a shortfall between fee income and the costs incurred by councils in administering the 2003 Act, and believes that fees should be set locally. In early 2014, the Home Office issued a consultation and detailed costings survey exploring how this could be implemented. However, the survey achieved a very low response rate. Consequently, the Coalition Government decided in early 2015 not to implement its proposed changes to the fee structure at that time. However, Government instead invited the LGA to build the evidence base on the deficit.
Consequently, the LGA worked with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to conduct a survey of licensing authorities. This report outlines the finding of the survey, which includes the fact that licensing authorities in England and Wales suffer a net deficit of £10.3 million in licensing fees. The findings of the survey will inform the LGA's engagement with the Home Office and HM Treasury as we continue the campaign to close the deficit.
The LGA and CIPFA would like to thank all authorities that contributed to the findings.