UKH reacts to Government decision to extend pavement licences

UKHospitality's CEO has made comment on the Government’s decision to extend pavement licences and give greater flexibility to hospitality businesses to trade outdoors in England.

Kate Nicholls said, “We wholeheartedly welcome the Secretary of State’s decision which will enable many more hospitality businesses – such as pubs, bars, hotels, cafés and restaurants to reopen safely on 12 April for outdoor eating and drinking than would have been otherwise possible.

“It’s encouraging to see the Government make clear that all such licences previously granted under these provisions should continue to apply beyond summer 2021, so that businesses do not have to reapply or be charged a further fee. We hope that all local authorities follow this direction and support their local hospitality businesses - as many did last year.'

Nicholls continued, “We also welcome assurances that the right to erect marquees and awnings for two months without planning permission will remain in place for hospitality businesses. It’s heartening to see the Secretary of State’s request that local authorities do all they can to support hospitality businesses as they re-open this spring and summer in line with the Government’s roadmap.

“Thousands of hospitality venues opened last summer, safely serving millions of people and supporting millions of jobs. The extension of this outdoor flexibility, along with the support offered by the Chancellor in his budget last week, will enable hospitality businesses to do the same this summer as they look to rebuild following a devastating year of lockdowns and trading restrictions. Although it should be remembered that many hospitality venues don’t have outdoor space and therefore won’t be able to trade until 17 May at the earliest.'

Nicholls finished, “All of these measures however, will be almost entirely in vain if businesses are not able to re-open in full and without restrictions on June 21. For the hospitality industry to be able to fully recover, the Government must also address some glaring omissions from its package of support, such as the business rates cap, which will penalise tens of thousands of venues, and an extension of the rent moratoria.”