Al fresco dining part of strategy to help hospitality sector recover

·3-min read
Pavement licences are to be extended and made permanent (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Pavement licences are to be extended and made permanent (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Al fresco dining is set to become a fixture of the high street and takeaway pints will continue for another year as part of a Government strategy to help England’s pubs, bars and restaurants recover.

Pavement licences are to be extended and made permanent to allow more customers to eat outside under the first ever Hospitality Strategy to support the reopening and resilience of the sector.

Takeaway pints will also continue for another 12 months as the temporary permissions for off-sales of alcohol are extended in England and Wales in an effort to boost sales.

Other measures will tackle the sector’s current chronic labour shortage, including frontline Department for Work and Pensions staff highlighting vacancies in the industry to jobseekers and raising the profile of careers in hospitality.

The strategy includes a potential new T Level to boost skills in the sector alongside bringing businesses together with universities to boost innovation, and reducing waste and plastic consumption.

The sector has seen the permanent closure of nearly 10,000 licensed premises and lost more than £87 billion in sales as a result of the pandemic, according to UK Hospitality.

Business minister Paul 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.”

A new Hospitality Sector Council co-chaired by Mr Scully and entrepreneur Karen Jones will oversee the delivery of the strategy.

Ms Jones said: “I think the last 16 months has shown us many things, underlining the importance of our people and our teams and the key role hospitality has to play in lighting up our high streets and city centres.

“We need to capitalise on the energy, creativity and innovation that will be released post-pandemic to continue our creation of a world-class hospitality sector: this strategy will aid in making that a reality.”

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

“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.

Building and training our workforce is a top priority if hospitality is to quickly revive and drive a national recovery, so it’s incredibly positive that a key part of this strategy is focused on addressing the current recruitment challenges and raising the profile of long-term sector careers.

“On the focus on carbon reduction, significant work is already ongoing in terms of leading the sector to a net zero future, so measures that will help support the industry’s road map are welcome.

“Ultimately, this strategy sets out a positive vision for the future of hospitality and how a thriving sector can help regenerate high streets and tourism destinations across every part of the country. We look forward to working closely with Government to deliver a plan of action.”

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