Pavement café culture is to become a permanent fixture in a raft of measures announced by the Prime Minister.

al fresco dining

Inews reports that pavement café culture is to be at the heart of a bid to level up the country and breathe new life into the nation’s high streets, the Prime Minister will reveal.

Boris Johnson is to launch a high streets strategy infusing them with a European flavour under the umbrella of levelling up. Alfresco dining will become the norm in towns and cities across the country and pubs will be able to continue to serve takeaway alcohol for at least another the year, under new plans.

But Labour has warned “a few chairs outside cafes isn’t going to fix the glaring inequality”.

The Government will also be tapping into the country’s football fever, in the wake of the Euro 2020 tournament, with a £25 million commitment to build new grass roots sports facilities such as artificial pitches.

“The Prime Minister is determined to level up the UK and deliver a fairer, stronger society – one where whatever your background and wherever you live, everyone can access the opportunities they need to succeed”, said a government spokesperson, “While talent and
potential is distributed evenly across this country, opportunity is not.

“That’s why, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that we do not make the mistakes of recovery from the financial crash and seize this moment to ensure a better quality of life for people in every part of the UK.”

A fast-track application system for pavement licences permitting restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars to serve people at tables outside their premises was introduced last July to help the hospitality industry recover from the economic disruption of the pandemic.

The streamlined process was brought in so businesses would benefit from the licences in time for summer trading last year and were to remain in place for up to a year, not extending beyond 30 September 2021.

Now it looks set to become a permanent fixture, while the temporary permission for pubs to serve takeaway alcohol also to be extended for a further 12 months.

The Prime Minister will vow to tackle inequalities and divisions created by the pandemic in a speech next week, kicking off a summer of consultations ahead of the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper in the autumn.

A £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure to improve everyday local life and boost growth and jobs.

Levelling Up, touted in the 2019 general election, is the government’s drive to even out regional inequalities in the UK which 10 Downing Street has described as the “central purpose of (Mr Johnson’s) premiership”.

But Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s deputy leader, warned “no one can believe a word this incompetent Prime Minister says. His rhetoric never matches reality.”

She added: “The Conservatives have choked the life out of our high streets, slashed funding for our young people, and acres of playing fields and football pitches have been dug up and concreted over.

“We all want life to get back to normal, but a few chairs outside cafes isn’t going to fix the glaring inequality that scars our communities because of the Tories’ wrong priorities.”

(Story source: Inews)

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