Local Government Association supports ‘backdoor’ attempt to ban smoking outdoors

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, the vice-chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Pavement licensing should not be a catalyst to increase smoking in public places, putting people at greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke when they are enjoying a drink or a meal.”

Citing smoking as “the leading cause of preventable death”, she added: “We urge peers to hand councils the ability to extend smoke-free areas to include pavements so this al fresco summer can be enjoyed by everyone.”

The Government, however, has warned against what it has described as a “backdoor” outdoor smoking ban and brought forward its own amendment, which would require licence-holders to make “reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted”. 

This would require venues to have both smoking and non-smoking areas outside. The LGA urged peers to support that amendment “at the very least”.

Ranald Macdonald, the managing director of Boisdale Restaurants, said: “It’s bewildering how out of touch the Lords and the LGA can be. They are sounding the death knell for a hospitality sector that is already on life support and needs the help of politicians to survive. 

“The smoking ban in 2007 caused thousands of pubs and restaurants to close. Now, at a time when over a million jobs in hospitality are at risk of being lost due to the pandemic, this proposed new ban will definitely cause hundreds of thousands more livelihoods to be lost. 

“Whatever happened to freedom of choice? This proposed ban will simply mean that people will smoke and drink at home – something they have become quite used to of late.”

The TV chef and restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson urged the Government to stand up to the rebel peers, including former health ministers Baroness Northover and Lord Young. 

“Why on earth would the Lords and the LGA want to discourage a substantial number of people from returning to pubs, cafes and restaurants?” he asked. “For smokers it is one of the few remaining pleasures, sitting al fresco, minding their own business, enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of beer.”

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