NIGHTSPOTS in Monmouthshire should be able to serve alcohol into the early morning hours without facing a hefty bill, according to a council report.

The council’s licensing department feels it could not justify charging up to £2,500 annually for pubs and clubs to sell alcohol between midnight and 6am.

Pub landlords have welcomed the planned rejection of the late-night levy.

Introduced in October 2012, it was decided businesses contributing to the cause of late night problems should pay towards the policing costs.

But a report says there would be “no clear benefit to Monmouthshire citizens or businesses.”

Principal licensing officer Linda O’ Gorman said: “Members will be well aware of the financial climate and the fact that many of our licensed businesses are struggling.

“A newlevy could be judged as inappropriate by many and not sympathetic to supporting local businesses.”

The council’s licensing committee will have the final say.

Nic Meyrick, who runs the Coach and Horses pub, Chepstow, with dad Ian, said: “I think Monmouthshire council have got it right, and that’s a rarity for me to say that. We have a late licence we use several times a year, an example was when we had the Madness gig in town.”

Adam Fowler, manager at the King’s Head, Usk, said: “The pub trade is dying on its feet at the moment. People almost expect to drink after closing especially in rural towns like Usk. Any help is welcomed.”

The council has the option of restricting the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am through an Early Morning Restriction Order.

But it is also against this, as it would cost the local authority to introduce.

Additionally, there is no evidence there are issues of alcohol- related crime, disorder, or anti-social behaviour in certain parts of the county.

Bringing the order in could force premises that rely on late trade to close, or drive revellers away, Ms O’ Gorman adds.