Westminster Labour has called on Westminster Council to reconsider its decision to start charging cafes and restaurants for using outside space this winter. The charges of £35 per day for each 5 square metre area will hurt many businesses trading in the centre of London.
According to reports in City AM, one small coffee shop will be hit with a bill of £2,000 a month for a space that can only house six people. Larger establishments are hit even harder with leading Soho restaurants saying the new fees could reach between £4,000 and £8,000 per month. This comes at a time when the central London hospitality industry has been hit by the collapse in the tourist trade, the 10pm curfew and the ban on households mixing indoors.
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, shadow cabinet member for business said:
“Central London cafes and restaurants need all the help they can get from Westminster so they can make it through the bleak winter ahead. This is the wrong time for our Council to be increasing fees and charges.”