UK's Johnson to announce high street regeneration plans next week

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: People sit in an outdoor dining area in Covent Garden, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out next week plans to regenerate Britain's high streets by expanding outdoor dining and investing more in sports facilities as part of his promise to "level up" the country's economy.

Johnson, who won a 2019 election thanks largely to voters in struggling regions of England, has said he wants to tackle regional inequalities and make sure areas outside of the economic powerhouse London have more opportunities.

In a speech in the coming week, he will explain how a new High Streets strategy will help local communities thrive, by allowing more outside dining on pavements, helping restaurants and cafes serve more customers.

Local sports facilities will receive a 25 million pound ($35 million) boost under the plans.

Temporary permissions given to pubs during the pandemic allowing them to serve "takeaway pints" will also be extended for another 12 months, said a statement published by his office on Saturday.

"The Prime Minister is determined to level up the UK and deliver a fairer, stronger society - one where whatever your background and wherever you live, everyone can access the opportunities they need to succeed," a government spokesperson said in the statement.

As part of his plan, Johnson has so announced a series of urban renewal projects worth 830 million pounds in towns and cities away from London, as well as establishing eight Freeports in England and backing green technology jobs.

($1 = 0.7194 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Angus MacSwan)