Ellie Ames 20 September 2023

London council calls for power to impose overnight levy

London council calls for power to impose overnight levy image
Image: marinaaragao91 / Shutterstock.com

Westminster City Council has urged the Government to enable local authorities to tax tourists on stays.

The London borough called for primary legislation allowing councils to implement and set the rates for an overnight levy.

Westminster council leader Adam Hug said in a speech yesterday that the authority was ‘exploring with business partners what an overnight stay levy could look like in practice’.

Under proposals, a levy would be placed on hotel, B&B and short term lets rooms, collected by accommodation providers and paid to the council.

Its ‘fundamental argument’ for the tax is that visitors benefit from but do not pay for local infrastructure.

The authority also proposed for a working group of interested local authorities to share data on overnight levies.

Cllr Adam Hug said: ‘As we continue to face tens of millions in cuts over the next few years, the time has come to consider whether London’s local authorities might be able to decide for themselves if they want to charge a small levy, on short-lets as well as hotels, as can be found in cities around the world.

‘This could be invested in protecting and enhancing everything from keeping the streets clean to keeping people safe and when you consider the impact of events like the King’s Coronation which drew millions to Westminster, this has to be seriously considered.

‘Although we’re incredibly proud to be the home for such significant moments in our country’s history, the council spends thousands of pounds on additional cleansing, waste collection, road closures to ensure all runs smoothly.

‘An overnight levy would – put simply – ensure that those visiting our city were playing their part, by contributing to its upkeep.’

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