what was in it for small businesses?
Pavement licenses made permanent
Hospitality businesses can continue to offer al fresco dining to customers all year round.
Initially a temporary measure during the pandemic, the ‘pavement licenses’ will now be a permanent feature in Britain’s towns and cities. With pubs, restaurants and cafés expanding service onto the street, they can attract more customers and boost their income.
There hasn’t been much detail on this, but it’s thought that outdoor dining legislation will be featured in the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
UKHospitality’s CEO, Kate Nicholls, said: “Making pavement licenses permanent is a really positive move. They were vital during the pandemic enabling businesses to trade, when they would otherwise be forced to close or restrict their opening hours.
“These outdoor spaces also benefit town and city centers, enabling them to enjoy the sort of outdoor experiences available elsewhere, and helping local economies recover faster, contributing to leveling up.”
Businesses will need to apply for permission to use public land for al fresco dining and outdoor pints through their local authority.
Modernizing business rates
The business rates system is said to be getting a major overhaul as part of the Non-Domestic Rating Bill.
The government says there will be more frequent revaluations of commercial properties to give businesses the “confidence they are paying the right tax.”
Rateable values will now be reviewed every three years instead of five.
Find out more about business rates on the Knowledge center.
Tackling empty premises on high streets
The new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is also aiming to give more power to councils so they can take control of buildings that are standing empty on the high street.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “New Compulsory Rental Auctions will ensure that landlords auction shops that have been vacant for over a year to prospective tenants, putting buildings to good use.
“The move will create opportunities for new businesses and community groups, paving the way for new jobs to boost employment, strengthening local economies and restoring local pride.”