Pavement licences extended in Queen’s speech

In the Queen’s speech delivered on 10 May 2022, it was confirmed that hospitality businesses can continue to offer al fresco dining to customers all year round.

Initially a temporary measure during the pandemic, the ‘pavement licences’ will now be a permanent feature in Britain’s towns and cities. With pubs, restaurants and cafés expanding service onto the street, they can attract more customers and boost their income.

Details of the plan will be set out in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: “Making pavement licences permanent is a really positive move. They were vital during the pandemic enabling businesses to trade, when they would otherwise be forced to close or restrict their opening hours.

“These outdoor spaces also benefit town and city centres, enabling them to enjoy the sort of outdoor experiences available elsewhere, and helping local economies recover faster, contributing to levelling up.”

Businesses will need to apply for permission to use public land for al fresco dining through their local authority.

Small business owners are still at breaking point

Welcome though the licensing provisions were to many in the hospitality sector, it was felt that more could have been done to assist small businesses.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “With six million UK SMEs, together contributing trillions of pounds to the economy, today’s Queen’s Speech was a key opportunity to detail the bounce back needed, and left a lot to be desired".

“Making ‘pavement licenses’ permanent was a step in the right direction. These licenses allow thousands of hospitality businesses to offer al fresco dining all year round, giving them a much needed revenue boost as they continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“Unfortunately there was much more to be desired for other sectors. We know small business owners are still at breaking point – feeling the crippling pressure of rising costs, energy and fuel prices. We also know the impact this is having on their mental wellbeing."

These announcements were part of 38 parliamentary bills, drafted by the government and announced in the Queen’s speech.

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