The amount of fees payable by some licensed premises in Aberdeen has been capped.
Aberdeen City Council’s licensing board made the decision to cap the annual fees payable by on-sales premises as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It means premises such pubs, bars, nightclubs and cafes could see a reduction in the amount they pay for the yearly licence allowing them to sell alcohol.
The decision was made in its meeting yesterday (Tuesday), which took place virtually.
Those in attendance acknowledged the exceptional circumstances experienced by on-sales premises during the coronavirus pandemic and agreed to take into account the period for which those premises were unable to trade when calculating the annual fee payable.
Sites have been shut for most of the lockdown period, and have only begun to be able to trade again recently.
As a result, the annual fee has been capped at two-thirds of the maximum figure laid out in legislation for all on-sales premises.
Licence holders will be contacted to let them know the amended figure payable at the end of August.
Councillor Marie Boulton, convener of Aberdeen City Council licensing board, said: “It continues to be a very challenging time for all of us during Covid-19. The licensing board recognises the difficult circumstances that on-sales premises, in particular, have experienced this year.
“On top of the loss of earnings they have also had to fund adaptions to their premises which reduces capacity but allows them to keep their patrons safe and complies with the Covid-19 guidance issued by the Scottish Government.
“That is why we have agreed that it is appropriate that the period for which those premises were unable to trade is considered when calculating the annual fee payable. The Board agreed that this was one way in which we could help licensed premises across the city.”
A reduction of two-thirds will benefit around 450 premises.
Rates payable are split into six categories. Using figures from last year, which may be subject to change for the coming year, the lowest rate of £180 would mean £120 was to be paid next month, while a rate of £220 would see £147 paid and a rate of £280 would see £187 due.
A total payable of £500 last year could be capped at £334, while £700 would be reduced to £467 and £900 to £600.
Councillor Martin Greig said: “It’s important to do what we can to support businesses during the current crisis.
“By helping this area of the city’s leisure industry we can hope to contribute towards the general quality of life for the benefit of all.
“There are huge commercial pressures on the private sector and we should do what we can to help.
“It is a fair measure of assistance but will hopefully make a difference for the good.”