Lambeth Council have recently released a bill that requires all cafes, restaurants and bistros to pay a tax if they want to put cafe furniture or restaurant furniture outside. There is already a tax that states this but it is set to increase at the beginning of next year. The council have said that they are "standardising" the cost of putting outdoor furniture on the streets in the borough of Lambeth. The council plan to charge up to £824 to keep cafe tables and cafe chairs outside, which has come as a huge shock and created a lot of upset amongst the owners of cafes, restaurants and bistros in the area.
Shop owners have predicted that with this rise in tax, their overheads are set to rise by about 20% which in some cases may force certain cafes to go bankrupt, due to the economic climate at the moment. Another problem is that by not having outdoor furniture, small businesses feel that they will be driving customers away, not to mention the fact it will decrease the amount of people they can serve.
In response to this the Lambeth Council have said ?Lambeth council wants to make sure it is supporting local businesses, which is why we are looking at this proposal again.?
?Councils everywhere are having to look carefully at pricing structures to make sure they are fair and reasonable, but also set at levels that allow vital services to be maintained.?
One of the owners that has been caught up in this is Jane Lushington who owns the popular Tea West cafe in Rosendale Road. She claimed that she has been forced to remove her outdoor cafe furniture because she couldn't afford the £750 licence.
The actual cost for putting just one or two cafe chairs outside is £464 however for more than 21 chairs, the price almost doubles to £824 per year. Not only this just to put in an application for the licence will cost the business £103. I t seems that this could be running trend and we could see other boroughs taking part.