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Pavement dining and outdoor pint licences will continue for another year in England

·2-min read
Outdoor dining in Soho, London (Getty Images)
Outdoor dining in Soho, London (Getty Images)

Al fresco dining and takeaway pints will continue for another year after the government announced it would extend pavement licences as part of plan to help England's pubs, bars and restaurants recover from the pandemic.

Temporary permissions for sales of alcohol to be drunk off the premises will be extended in England and Wales for a further 12 months until 2022.

The government's strategy also includes measures to tackle a shortage of labour in the sector which has seen an exodus of staff over the past year.

More than 350,000 jobs have gone in hospitality since the coronavirus crisis began, with pubs and restaurant reporting that many workers do not return to the industry.

That has left businesses struggling to fill vacancies as around 12,000 venues plan to re-open from 19 July.

Under the plans, frontline staff at the Department for Work and Pensions will highlight vacancies in the industry to jobseekers and attempt to raise the profile of careers in hospitality.

A new T Level qualification to boost skills will be introduced, as well as measures to bring businesses together with universities to boost innovation and reduce waste and plastic consumption.

Business minister Paul Scully and entrepreneur Karen Jones will chair a new Hospitality Sector Council to oversee the delivery of the strategy.

Almost 10,000 licensed premises have closed as a result of the pandemic, according to trade body UK Hospitality.

"The pandemic has devastated the hospitality sector and businesses are desperate to bounce back strongly and return to profitable trading," said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality.

"That's why the launch of this new Hospitality Strategy is so important - it offers a strong platform to deliver the supportive regulatory and trading environment we need to recover, rebuild resilience and thrive.

She said the strategy's focus on addressing the recruitment problem was "incredibly positive".

Mr Scully said: "We want young people to see the hospitality sector as a go-to option for long-term careers, and that's why we will explore new options for vocational training and help further boost the creativity and environmental friendliness of the sector through the first-ever Government strategy for the hospitality industry."

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