Home Office officials claim one in four pubs and clubs that stay open past midnight will have to cut their opening hours to avoid paying a new “late night” levy.
According to the new plans, local authorities will be able to impose the measure – requiring payment of up to £4,440 – on premises that are open after midnight.
Enforcement will begin in the autumn. It is designed to tackle alcohol-related crime in communities as well as paying for policing.
Lord Henley, the crime prevention minister, said: “Where there is a vibrant late night economy, with premises open in to the early hours, then the local authority should have the flexibility to charge for a contribution towards any additional policing that this generates.
“Taxpayers should not simply be left to pick up this cost. People who enjoy a night out often visit a variety of premises and it is appropriate that the costs are shared between these businesses.”
The new policy would also give councils the power to impose a blanket ban on pubs and clubs opening between midnight and 6am in targeted areas which are renowned trouble spots.
There are 120,000 premises licensed to serve alcohol and 40,000 currently have licences to stay open past midnight.
The Home Office believes around 10,000 will reduce their opening hours so they don’t need to pay for the new levy.
Last year an Anglican Bishop hit out at the Government’s failure to tackle alcohol abuse.
The Rt Revd Geoff Annas, the Bishop of Stafford, blamed the extension of licensing laws and called for a “seismic shift in attitudes” towards alcohol, as there has been towards tobacco.