The Licensing Manager presented the report which was on pages 27-46 of the agenda.
Councillor Ononaji queried taking into consideration the current economic situation and how some businesses were struggling, was this the right time to be increasing the licensing fees.
The Licensing Officer explained this was certainly the reason why the committee decided last year that they wouldn't consider any increase in fees because of the impacts of COVID. He continued from an Officer’s point of view, there was a need to ensure that the costs of providing the service was covered in relation to the fees that were charge. Members heard there had not been an increase in taxi fees since 2015.
Members were advised Officers were always mindful to try and ensure a thorough review of the licences was carried out every three years, rather than amending the fees year on year. The Licensing Manager commented some years additional funds were made due to the number of applications that were received in that particular year, other years, there could be less applications.
Councillor Maney sought if the fees and charges before Members would be fed into the final report which was agreed by Cabinet. The Licensing Manager confirmed that the report would form part of the annual report, but first the report had been brought to the Licensing Committee for Members views and a recommendation to approve the proposed fees at this committee.
Councillor Kent asked how the consultation was to be carried out and requested that Officers bear in mind not everyone had online access. The Licensing Manager advised the consultation portal would be used as the main point of contact as well as writing to each of the individual license holders, to ensure they were all aware that a consultation was taking place. He continued to confirm the ability for responses to be received in writing would be included and the consultation would run for at least six weeks.
Agreed the proposed fees and charges as set out in Appendix 1 for the 2023- 2024 financial year to go out to public consultation.