Pavement licences

Part of Business and Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion 8:15 pm, 29th June 2020

The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point. It is particularly the smaller independent breweries, where storage is perhaps even more of an issue, that will have had to dispose of a lot of their stock at considerable cost. Then there is the relative uncertainty as to when they might reopen and, indeed, how much beer to brew again. That is another problem that small breweries in my constituency have tried to tackle. I still think that might be a discussion to have. It is at least worth keeping the matter under review. I would welcome the Government being willing to do that.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned temporary events notices and licences. Another proposal would be to consider extending the authorisation of off sales to small breweries that do not hold a premises licence, but that are registered under the alcohol wholesaler registration scheme. That would be temporary and quite exceptional, but in these exceptional times there might be a case for it.

New clause 1 was tabled by Tim Farron, and he may well speak to that at greater length in a moment, but I put on record my support for it. The Government need to recognise the need for sectoral flexibility as they review how to withdraw some of the support schemes and take stock of whether these measures, exceptional as they are, are working. Given the nature of the crisis we face, our focus must continue to be on protecting otherwise viable businesses and supporting employment, so I welcome new clause 1.

Finally, I turn to the provisions in the first part of the Bill relating to the consumption of food and drink outdoors. A few Members have referred to those provisions as ushering in an al fresco age, which I am sure we are all excited to see, weather permitting. That part of the Bill extends to Wales as well as England, but the wording of clause 1 has caused some confusion as to whether it will apply directly to Wales. In concluding my remarks, I ask the Minister to clarify in his summing up whether the provisions will apply to Wales directly. If not, is he content that the Welsh Senedd is empowered to introduce similar provisions to support bars and restaurants in Wales, so that we may also see an al fresco culture in Wales over the summer?