PUBS and restaurants will be given the green light to make outdoor eating and drinking a permanent fixture.

The announcement, expected in tomorrow's Queen's Speech, will let councils grant "pavement licences" on a permanent basis.

The café culture trend grew during lockdown, when sitting inside bars and eateries was banned under Covid rules.

Cafes, bars and more were allowed to set up tables and chairs on pavements outside their premises as a temporary measure to help the hospitality sector.

Under the Business and Planning Act 2020, applications for outdoor serving were fast-tracked and fees were reduced.

Now the licenses are set to become permanent, allowing thousands of pubs and restaurants to let punters dine al fresco, the Telegraph reports.

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Pubs are also set to see an extension to off-licences, allowing them to sell takeaway pints and food to customers.

The move has been hailed a huge success for the industry.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “This is fantastic news for our sector and will be a welcome boost for pubs across the country ahead of the summer months.

"Permanent pavement licenses will give many businesses the opportunity to bring a new offering to customers and create a continental culture that will hopefully bring Britain’s high streets to life and help them thrive again.”

But the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 350 councils in England and Wales, has urged the Government to double the time it takes for businesses to get a licence.

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Under current rules, you can get a pavement licence in 14 days – but the LGA said this should be extended to 28 days to give residents more time to raise concerns about noise and other disruptions.

It also said the current fee of £100 should be increased to cover the cost of administering the licence, which are at least double this amount.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan of the LGA, said: "Councils supported the temporary scheme and worked hard to help hospitality businesses reopen, including relaxing requirements and making changes to road and pavements.

"Managing the impact of a permanent regime on nearby residents is a priority for councils, but we are no longer in a national emergency and we need to make sure the long-term approach to pavement licensing better balances the needs of local businesses and residents."

Last year, thousands more pubs were able to open after ministers tore up rules around gazebos and marquees.

Planning permission was suspended to allow punters to drink and dine al-fresco in a bid to shore up the struggling hospitality sector.

It was estimated than an extra 9,000 venues were able to open weeks earlier than if they'd been forced to wait for indoor serving to resume after lockdown.

Under the temporary rules, any venue could put up a marquee or structure on their land without planning permission.

Venues with pavement access, meanwhile, could put out tables and chairs without having to wait for permission.

Bar and restaurant owners simple had to notify their local council and could continue serving outdoors if they did not hear back within 10 days.

The relaxing of rules is estimated to have brought in £6,000 a year in extra revenue for businesses for each outdoor seat.

The Government is also expected to announce a major schools shake-up, with the Queen's Speech to include plans for teachers to share attendance rates.

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