The Evening News has been doing some digging and will report fairly soon that the net cost to Norwich City Council taxpayers of the switch to 24-hour licensing laws is around £300,000 - a massive sum of money that outstripped even what the Conservatives predicted. The cost to the council should have been revenue neutral, we were told, but clearly somewhere along the line something has gone very, very wrong. Now councils up and down the land are demanding that central government pass on money to pay for the policy that they forced local government into. I think it is a reasonable demand given the scale of the money involved (what we could do with 300k is beyond belief). However I also think we need to look at the level of the licensing fee for this too. We should neer be trying to make a profit out of this but if applicants fees aren't covering the realistic cost of processing then they should be charged more - it isn't fair on taxpayers to cover this cost.
Central government shovel more and more onto councils and never pass on the money required. Next time council tax goes up, ask who is really to blame - local councils or the Labour government?