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Café Tables “tax” Causes the Closure of Some Businesses

Industry News September 23rd 2011

It seems that if you live in the area under Lambeth Council and want to put tables and chairs outside your café, you may be shocked to find out that the tax for keeping this café furniture outside has risen. Lambeth council said that it was ‘standardising’ the cost of keeping street furniture outside in the borough. It plans to charge shop owners up to £824 to keep café tables and café chairs outside on the pavements.

Angered by the rise shop owners are saying that this will increase their overheads by 20% on average and with many owners struggling at the moment, this could be a major problem for the small businesses. The problem is that many of them feel that not having the café furniture outside could potentially drive away customers.

In response to this, a council representative 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.”

A typical example of the effect this is having on the local businesses is Jane Lushington, who owns the popular Tea West cafe in Rosendale Road. She said that she was forced to take her outdoor furniture off the street because she simply couldn’t afford to pay the £750 licence.

The actual costs for businesses in these areas are £464 for the cafes to put just one or two café chairs or aluminium chairs outside however for more than 21 chairs café shop owners will have to pay up to £824 per annum. As well as this, just to place an application for the licence, all shops will have to pay £103 and that’s even before the mammoth charges for the licence.

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