Political Update

  • The Planning and Business Act has received Royal Assent and will have immediate effect. The Act introduces a new streamlined procedure to apply for a pavement licence for eating and drinking out on the public highway. The cost is capped at £100 and licences may be granted to September 2021. The local authority will consult for 7 days and the licence will be deemed granted after 14 days.
  • As a result of amendments tabled in the House of Lords, some changes have been made. LAs must have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether to grant a pavement licence, and licence holders must make reasonable provision for outside seating where smoking is not permitted – in the areas covered by the new pavement licence. Pavement licences guidance published: Guidance to accompany pavement licensing introduced in the Business and Planning Act 2020 has been issued.  
  • There will also be a deregulation of the Licensing Act 2003 to allow all premises to automatically extend their permissions to cover off-sales and consumption in all outside areas. Following amendments in the House of Lords, off-sales may only take place up to 11pm and any new permissions for off-sales do not apply to times when the premises licence does not allow sales of alcohol for consumption in outdoor areas. Guidance for temporary alcohol licensing provisions: This guidance relates to the alcohol licensing provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020.

Other Government Updates

  • Government has published a series of updated COVID guidance following announcements on reopening: Small meetings and functions for fewer than 30 people can resume 1 August. Business events and conferences can resume from 1 October provided rates of infection remain at current levels. More information is available here. Guidance on how to work safely in the visitor economy and in hotels and other guest accommodation has been updated to include guidance on business events and meetings.
  • Government is hosting a series of free webinars for hospitality businesses and to hear your feedback on practical implementation, clarification, and amendment needed:
    • Spa, gym, and beauty: 11am Tuesday 28 July Register here.
    • Restaurants, pubs, and bars: 3pm, Tuesday 28 July Register here.
  • A new webinar on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is also now available on multiple dates. Register here
  • Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace includes a new section on collecting customer and visitor data, and information on: if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test.

Government Consultations

  • Business Rates call for evidence. As part of a review of the business rates system, HMT has published a call for evidence from the industry here. This call for evidence seeks views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change, and a number of alternative taxes. Responses will be collected in two stages: views on the multiplier and reliefs sections are requested by 18th September in order to inform an interim report in the autumn to look at interim rates to April 2023. Responses on all other sections are due by 31st October. UKH Working Groups will discuss options for reform and provide consultation with members to feed into Government submissions
  • The Government has today launched a public consultation on the Border Operating Strategy seeking views on what major transformations the UK needs to deliver an effective digital border for trade maximisation by 2025. Input and expertise from businesses and industry will ensure that the future border is designed with the user in mind. There will be a series of stakeholder workshops on cross-border trade; email 2025borderstrategy@hmrc.gov.uk.
  • The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has opened a new enquiry on ‘Public Sector Procurement of Food’. In its Call for Evidence, which is open until 27th August, the Committee is asking for comment on procurement rules, government buying standards, and future priorities. UKH will be making a detailed written submission in association with the Food Service Management Group.

Situation update 22 July 2020