Robert Jenrick MP has written to local authorities saying cutting red tape is a lifeline for businesses as they look to bounce back from a uniquely challenging year.
In the letter he said:
"Among the restrictions eased on 12 April was the reopening of outdoor hospitality, including pubs, cafes and restaurants. To support these businesses to reopen safely, the government legislated to enable them to set up outdoor shelters and marquees without planning permissions. We have published clear guidance on GOV.UK for how these structures can be set up safely and what conditions they need to meet to be considered “outdoors”. For instance – in line with the existing rules for outdoor smoking areas – shelters, marquees and other structures erected by hospitality and other businesses can have a roof, but need to have at least half of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use. I would encourage you all to ensure that this guidance is applied proportionately and consistently in your areas to support businesses to reopen safely and to avoid overzealous interpretations of the rules. It is in the public interest that local residents can socialise in a licensed and controlled environment outside, where Covid-19 risks are lower. If a disproportionate regulatory approach is taken, it risks driving residents into unregulated activity and premises which may be far less covidsecure and/or illegal."
In relation to pavement licences, he said "The number of businesses making use of these provisions has varied drastically across the country and I would encourage you to redouble your efforts to promote the use of these provisions with your local hospitality businesses."
Calling on local authorities he concluded:
"Cutting red tape in this way is a lifeline for businesses as they look to bounce back from a uniquely challenging year. We need your support to ensure the measures are known, made use of and not impeded unnecessarily – jobs and enterprises depend on it. I would urge you to show pragmatism and proportionality at all times, doing everything you can to help businesses prosper again."