The pub industry has reacted angrily to the government’s new licensing fee system, which will see city centre pubs facing a massive increase in costs. The new regime will see town centre sites paying an initial licence fee of £1,905, with an annual fee of £1,050. Prior to the move it was £30 every three years. Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said the pub operator was opposed to the government's plans: "Wetherspoons pays millions of pounds in business rates and it’s up to the Local Authorities to use this money for policing," he said. Under the new fees JD Wetherspoon would have to pay £1.2m for an initial licence for its 650-strong estate, assuming a payment of £1,905 per site. This compares to about £300,000 under the original proposals of about £500 for a town centre pub, an increase of nearly £1m. Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Nick Bish condemned the new licensing fees as a: "horrendous knee-jerk reaction to an opportunistic campaign by the Daily Mail." Bish continued to say the industry: "doesn't have as much to be ashamed of as the Daily Mail thinks" and lambasted the media for a "misuse of headlines". Government plans to encourage the industry to adopt the BBPA code of practise which Bish criticised as: "a ridiculous half-way house where they [the government] just want to pass on responsibility to the industry." He added: "If, as the government claims, the principles in the code are important enough they should be in the law." Bish said that the hike in fees, which would see an operator like JD Wetherspoon pay nearly £1m extra in fee costs, could lead to casualties in the sector following a raft of prices increases, including utility bills and minimum wage increases. "The fees will make a marginal pub more marginal, and the accumulative effect will not be helpful," Bish said. The DCMS predicts the new fee structure will raise an extra £22m for Local Authorities in the first year they are and an extra £21m for the following year on renewal fees. This figure is also subject to change when renewal fees are reviewed yearly. Mark Hastings, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "This is just a tax hike on the industry rather than anything that specifically targets binge drinking." Regent Inns said: "Government statistics published today suggest that over half of alcohol fuelled crime does not take place around pubs or clubs. Furthermore, research has shown that significant amounts of alcohol are being consumed at home at the start of the evening. "As most alcohol purchased in supermarkets is a fraction of the price compared to that sold in pubs and bars, we believe that unless the role of the Off-Trade is brought into the equation and taken more seriously, we will be unable to get to the root of responsible drinking." In addition, the Local Government Association has said the announcement on new licence fees does not go far enough to cover the costs of the new licensing system. Even including the latest figures from the DCMS for licence fees, an LGA spokesman told M&C Report that the LGA and LACORS research indicates that councils will still be left with a £20m to £30m deficit in both the transitional year and the first year of their introduction. Tessa Jowell said: "We are asking the largest town and city centre pubs to pay a higher premium. This is only right. They can have the biggest capacities, the highest turnover and often make the greatest profit. They are a major beneficiary of our night-time economy. They should put more back into policing it." Details of the new fee structure, which follows a consultation with key stakeholders and is now subject to Parliamentary procedures, include: * A £100 to £635 one-off payment for a new licence - a rise on the previous proposal of £80 to £500. * £70 to £350 for an annual fee - up from £40 to £225. * The largest town and city centre pubs paying two to three times as much for their initial application fee and annual charge. * £37 for a personal licence * £21 for a temporary event notice. The government hopes that the new fees can be introduced when the first applications under the new licensing system are received on 7 February. The government is working with the BBPA on proposals that will end irresponsible drinks promotions. The government reiterated that normal price competition within the law would not be affected. "Alcohol Disorder Zones" will cover bars in areas where there is a problem of anti-social drinking. After an eight week warning period, if there is no improvement, they will have to pay for policing and other costs of dealing with any disorder. Proposals to cut binge drinking and alcohol-related violence include people who have been handed three on-the-spot fines or have three alcohol-related convictions being given a "Drinking Banning Order" barring them from pubs and bars in a specified area for a fix period. Other measures announced include giving police powers to issue fixed penalty notices to under 18's found buying alcohol in on- and off-licences. The government will also urge pubs to stop drinks offers, a proposal which JD Wetherspoon and Yates have already agreed to. Association of Chief Police Officers president Chris Fox warned that, the next crackdown on illegal practises such as serving drunks that took place would be unannounced. "The next time there won’t be any publicity," he said. "Then we’ll see what happens."