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Refusenik pub landlord pledges to fight on in battle against business levy

King William IV owner sees case adjourned at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

18 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Jimmy McGrath arrived at court for a hearing into his refusal to pay the BID levy

A PUB landlord who was taken to court for refusing to pay a business levy says he will continue his fight after the case adjourned.

Jimmy McGrath, who took over the King William IV in Hampstead two years ago, had been summonsed by the council on Thursday for ignoring Business Improvement District (BID) bills.

Mr McGrath argues that, as he came to Hampstead after the BID was introduced, following a ballot, he should not have to pay. He was told outside the court that it was possible to get taken out of the BID but that this would have to be approved by its operators. Mr McGrath said: “I think we should fight to kick them out completely. Anyone you speak to, they don’t know what the whole thing is about anyway.”

The BID is supposed to take a charge off all businesses in Hampstead and used to improve the area – but it has been criticised for not doing enough. The council, which collects the charges on behalf of the Hampstead BID, said businesses had a legal responsibility to pay after the “overwhelming ballot”.

Mr McGrath – who previously ran the Steele’s in Belsize Park and the Old Eagle in Camden Town – will be back at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on November 17.

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