Licensed premises in Camden could have to pay a late-night levy if they stay open after midnight.

Camden Council is considering the measure as it believes it could generate funds for managing the late-night economy at a time when its budget is being reduced by central government, the Camden New Journal reports.

Councillor Jonathan Simpson, community safety chief at the authority, said Camden boasts a vibrant late-night economy and attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the borough every week.

However, he said the council is currently in the midst of "the most significant financial challenge Camden has ever faced".

As a result, "tough choices" have to be made across all services, including how it continues to fund community safety projects in the borough.

Councillor Simpson said there are numerous benefits to having pubs and clubs in one of London's busiest tourist areas, but pointed out the late-night economy "puts extra pressure on already stretched local services".

He stated that the late-night levy is being considered as "a way of contributing funding to initiatives that address the cost of problems such as dealing with violence, increased waste and public urination".

Councillor Simpson added that an open public consultation about how the levy might work will be launched to garner opinions on the idea.

The proposal is likely to attract a negative response from licensees, as some have already raised objections.

For instance, Dublin Castle owner Henry Conlon said a levy would target the "wrong businesses", as other firms such as off-licences, fast food outlets and minicab companies also benefit from the late-night economy, yet are not expected to pay any charge.

He added that the council would be "showing us zero level of support" by introducing the measure, as it is failing to recognise the efforts bars are already going to "to limit late-night disturbance and mess".

Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "There is likely to be a fight on this one. Licence holders need to ensure their voice is heard.