Agenda item

Licensing Fees and Charges for 2022-2023

Report of the Group Director of Services


The Group Director of Services submitted a report (previously circulated) to invite Members to determine the fees relating to licensing in accordance with the decision taken at  Full Council on 28 January 2016 to delegate the setting of those fees and registrations to the General Licensing Committee. 


It was reported that the fees are based on the cost recovery of administering and where appropriate enforcing the relevant legislation relating to such licences; and Councils are responsible for administering a range of licences and for the majority of these regimes the costs are recovered through fees set by each council and paid by the licence applicant.


It was also highlighted that Locally set fees are a vital means of ensuring that full costs can be recovered, reducing the risk of a subsidy from local tax payers, and that businesses do not pay more than they should.


The submitted reported outlined that whilst all areas of licensing had been affected by the Covid pandemic, the dynamics within the taxi trade was currently a significant concern, with the loss of 100 licensed drivers and costs rising significantly for drivers and proprietors e.g. fuel, second hand vehicles and as a consequent the trade had asked for a tariff increase.


It was reported that the current estimates were that the taxi budget will carry forward a deficit of £43,312 into 2022/23 financial year inclusive of Covid costs; If however, the costs of Covid are removed, this deficit is estimated to be reduced to £6,633.   At this time, by seeking an increase in fees for 2022 – 2023 it would place the taxi trade under additional financial pressure that will be difficult to sustain. Any deficit for Covid related issues can be recovered centrally and a modest deficit (Covid costs removed) can be carried forward.


A review of the general licensing fees was undertaken for the current financial year, which showed that at the end of the financial year there will be a projected deficit of £3,246 inclusive of Covid costs. If Covid costs are removed however, there would be an estimated surplus of £1,754. A deficit (inclusive of Covid) of this modest amount would not ordinarily prompt a fee increase. 


Discussion ensued on the difficulties experienced by the licensed trade, the loss of licensed drivers and the effects of the pandemic and acknowledged the taxi trade was still in a process of recovery; and therefore agreed with the officers recommendation that the licensing fees remain at the current level due to exceptional circumstances and recent pressures on the licensed trade.


RESOLVED   That Members of this General Licensing Committee agree that licensing fees continue at their current rate from 1 April 2022.


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