Ice cream man's fury at borough's high licence feeBy Jon Nurse
February 22, 2013
An ice cream man is fed up of watching his profits melt away after forking out thousands on council fees to sell lollies across the borough.
Rick Daniow, pictured right, has paid more than £13,000 in fees in the last six years but is fuming after discovering some councils don’t charge for a trading licence. He is now calling for an investigation into what is pushing up the charge, which stands at £2,400 this year, after a personal survey of 30 councils found Wokingham to be one of the most expensive.
“It goes up every year with inflation,” Mr Daniow, of Bathurst Road, Winnersh, said. “I’ve compared a list of various councils from Edinburgh right down to the south coast and eight I looked at don’t charge anything at all. In Reading it’s under £800. It won’t take them more than £2,000 of work to sort the licence. It’s ridiculous. It’s more than 10 times what they charge for a taxi licence.”
The 61-year-old has been selling ice creams between Winnersh and Finchampstead for more than 20 years and has been stung by the charge since the council adopted the Local Government and Miscellaneous Provisions Act in 2000.
“It’s most of my profit gone,” he explained. “I’m working for three to four months of the year for practically nothing. I’ve not had a holiday for three years.
“I know a lot of people [across the country] are throwing in the towel and giving up. It’s a terrible shame because it’s a delightful job. You meet some smashing people.”
Mr Daniow said his research found licence charges were especially higher in Berkshire than the rest of the country – with Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough the worst at around £3,000. He added that after six years of asking, the council still refuses to reveal how the amount is calculated.
Trading Standards services is shared between Wokingham Borough Council and West Berkshire Council, with plans to offer a half price six-month trading licence from April.
Brian Leahy, of West Berkshire and Wokingham environmental health and licensing service, said: “Street trading fees are set having taken into consideration all costs associated with the consultation, inspection and grant of the licence as well as monitoring and control of licensed operators and the investigation into allegations of persons trading without consent.
“And in some cases the collection of refuse, street cleansing and other services rendered by the council to the licence holder.”