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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - MIND THE SHORTFALL

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The increased licensing fee levels announced by Tessa Jowell MP are good news for councils (LGC, 28 January). In no...
The increased licensing fee levels announced by Tessa Jowell MP are good news for councils (LGC, 28 January). In no small part are they attributable to Camden LBC's sustained lobbying over this issue. It is ironic this lobbying seems to have paid off more for other councils than Camden itself, although we are not the only authority to find itself in a difficult situation.

Camden's projections show it is still likely to incur costs of around£2m over the next four years. The licensing fees are still not high enough to cover costs of a licensing regime in the borough, where we have 1,700 licensed premises.

Unless fee levels are increased, taxpayers will be left to make up the shortfall. This is unacceptable in our view.

We are therefore pleased the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has given its assurance it will monitor the fees situation closely. The secretary of state has also promised an independent review of actual costs incurred and swift action in the event of a shortfall.

We welcome such a review and seek assurance that fees can be speedily increased if shown to be necessary to cover actual costs, and that any councils in this position are compensated for additional costs incurred in transition.

Dame Jane Roberts (Lab)

Leader, Camden LBC

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