Rowdy students prompt calls for ‘pub tax’

Oxford City Council has backed plans for an additional levy on pubs and clubs that stay open until late.

Complaints about drunken student vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the Cowley Road area has led the Council to back government plans for extra charges on places that stay open after midnight.

The plans would give councils the power to charge clubs more for late-night licenses based on the establishment’s popularity, an extra cost that Joe Roberts, chairman of East Oxford Pub Watch, said that “someone would have to pay for, probably the customers”, either through higher drinks prices, or more establishments charging for entry. Roberts claimed that the tax, if implemented, would help to put pubs “out of business more quickly than they are going already”.

A spokesperson for the council said that the levy would “benefit the city and could fund more night safety services”.

One East Oxford resident said that while he didn’t wish to generalise about the entire student population, many “treat the area like student accommodation”, and “the majority don’t seem to care about kids or people who have to work”.

The resident said that much of what students were doing was simply “childish”, such as ripping ‘For Sale’ signs from walls and sticking things through letterboxes, “things you just wouldn’t expect an educated person to do”.

Although he admitted that people moving to East Oxford should know that it is an area with a large number of students and there is a certain atmosphere that brings, he said that it should be possible to have a balance between a lifeless and boring neighbourhood, and one in which there is vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

On the other hand, James Evans, a first year student from Oxford Brookes University, claimed that he had not heard anything about complaints or anti-social behaviour by fellow students.

The ‘Rebalancing of the Licensing Act’ consultation paper suggests the councils should have the power to charge clubs more for late-night licenses based on the establishment’s popularity.