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London council calls for power to impose overnight levy

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

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

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

Westminster leader Adam Hug said in a speech yesterday 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, bed and breakfast and short term lets - collected by accommodation providers and paid to the council.

Cllr 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 and 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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