Organisers of major public entertainment events are facing increased licensing fees of over 400% following a review on charges agreed at Moray Council.
New fees covering a wide variety of licences issued by the local authority were agreed by Councillors following a detailed review that included a period of public consultation.
The new fees, which come into effect from April 1 subject to final approval by the policy and resources committee meeting in March, will see a public entertainment licence for over 500 people rise from £198 to £873.
While the same licence for groups of under 200 will remain at the existing flat rate of £198, those for 200 to 299 rises to £248, for 300 to 399 attendees charges go up to £323 while fro between 400 and 499 it will now cost £423.
For Taxi operators in Moray a Taxi or Private Hire Operator will not face any increase on their £160 fee, however, renewals go up from £91 to £110 while a driver grant increases from £95 to £148.
There are also increases for market operators, late hours catering and metal dealers.
The Council say that they are required by law to recover the costs it incurs in operating the licensing system, and while some fees were last reviewed in 2010 there were others that had not been looked at since the mid-1990’s.
While provision fees were agreed by the licensing committee in December subject to consultation, by the time that ended at the end of January there had been only three responses.
Committee chairman Councillor Ron Shepherd said the cost to the council of operating the licensing system was on average £30,000 more than the income the council received from licensing fees.
He added: “Committee members recognised that the shortfall would have to be met by increasing, in most cases, the licensing fees – some of them quite substantially.
“Having said that, some of the licence fees will remain the same while in one or two cases there will actually be a decrease.”