Off-licence retailers could be dealt a £36m body-blow under proposals to let councils set their own alcohol licensing fees.

The Government wants to ditch the current system in favour of one that would see village shops paying similar amounts to giant out-of-town superstores for a licence.

£36m – the combined cost to independent retailers if barmy booze plan goes through

One suggestion would allow local councils to increase fees for processing new licences or changing existing ones and would see the cost of a typical village shop’s booze licence go from £100 up to £624.

Average alcohol licence price rise:

  • Village shop: £100 to £624 (524% increase)
  • Neighbourhood c-store: £190 to £654 (244% increase)
  • Multiple supermarket: £635 to £683 (7.5% increase)

ACS chief executive James Lowman said ministers must have an urgent rethink because it would impose “dramatic and unaffordable” hikes in the cost of licensing for independent shops and start-up retailers in particular.

“The reforms are based on the flawed premise that a small village shop should pay the same for its alcohol licence as a major supermarket,” he said.

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