Furlough extension welcomed ahead of 'tough winter'
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March.
The move comes against a "worsening economic backdrop,” the Chancellor said, defending his reactive policy approach in the Commons.
Sunak said: “The Government’s intention is for the new health restrictions to remain only until the start of December.
“But, as we saw from the first lockdown, the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions.”
Workers can claim 80% of their wages if their workplace remains closed after the end of lockdown in December, up to £2,500.
Employers will pay just National Insurance and pension contributions.
Wadworth announces new CEO prior to 21-site disposal
Wiltshire-based multiple operator and brewer Wadworth has announced a restructure of its business which will see chief executive officer Chris Welham leave the company in December after five years at the helm.
Toby Bartholomew, son of chairman Charles Bartholomew, will take over as managing director.
“After just over five years as chief executive officer for Wadworth, I can confirm that Chris Welham is to leave the company at the end of December 2020,” Charles Bartholomew said of the changes.
“Chris has been a loyal and dedicated member of the board and has led us through a considerable period of change. It was always the intention for Chris to oversee an orderly transition of his duties to a family director.
“I am pleased to confirm that Toby Bartholomew will become managing director of Wadworth once Chris has left us.”
The news came days before Wadworth announced the sale of 21 pubs – just under half of its managed estate – to Liberation Group for an undisclosed sum.
Carlsberg UK signs 10-year lease on new HQ
Carlsberg UK has agreed a 10-year lease for 13,134sq ft of office space at Temple Point Office Park in Leeds, which will be home to about 140 staff members.
“Our relocation to Temple Point will provide us with a welcome upgrade from our current office space and the owner tailored the refurbishment to meet our requirements,” Carlsberg UK head of procurement David Hawkins said.
“The offices occupy a prime business location and provides a fit-for-purpose, high-quality space with comfort cooling suitable for its predominant use as a contact centre.”
Richard Dunn, head of office agency at property consultant Sanderson Weatherall, added: “We’re delighted to have assisted Carlsberg UK with its office search.
“Nine Temple Point was a rare self-contained option available in the market and perfect to facilitate their future plans. After an unavoidable downturn in the market during the second quarter, it’s great to see the completion of deals like this.”
The news comes after former Carlsberg vice-president of craft and speciality Paul Davies was named chief executive of the £780m Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company joint venture following its completion.
Record redundancies as support for hospitality urged
Redundancies reached a record high in the three months to September as hospitality bore the brunt of pandemic pressure.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), the UK’s unemployment rate rose to 4.8%, its highest level since November 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A record 314,000 redundancies were recorded in the three months to September while the total number of people officially classed as unemployed rose by 243,000 to 1.62m in the period, marking the biggest increase since 2009.
Some employers slashed workforces ahead of the original end date of the furlough scheme at the end of October. The scheme was extended until next spring by the Chancellor in a policy shift from his initial winter economy plan.
‘Real living wage’ rises to £9.50 per hour
More than a quarter of a million people working for an employer signed up to the “real living wage” will see 20p added to their hourly rate of pay.
The threshold’s nationwide increase to £9.50 – or £10.85 in London, a 10p boost – is designed to help workers and families weather the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Introduced to ensure staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs, the voluntary rate is not be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.
The real living wage is 78p per hour more than the Government minimum for over 25s while the London living wage is £2.13 per hour higher.
This means that a full-time worker paid the new £9.50 rate will receive more than £1,500 in additional wages annually compared to the current Government minimum.
For a full-time worker in London this rises to more than £4,000.
Upham announces senior appointments
Hampshire-based operator Upham Inns has appointed group managing director of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) Kevin Todd as its executive chairman while Ian Dunstall, former director of marketing at M&B, has joined the company’s board as a non-executive director.
Todd, who joined the Upham board as a director last year, is currently chairman and investor in a range of hospitality businesses including being a non-executive director of Farmer J and chairman of Which Wich’s UK operation.
Dunstall, who was previously with M&B for 16 years, will focus on marketing and development at Upham, which operates 15 pubs in Hampshire and the south.
“Upham already has a strong team and I am excited to have the opportunity to lead Upham to focus on the next stage of its development,” Todd said.
“The existing portfolio of inns offer excellent growth opportunities, and we have already shown the potential for significant business improvement, despite the challenges of the current pandemic.
“We believe Upham has further opportunity for continued business turnaround, and that we have the resource in place with the potential to take advantage of any expansionary opportunities that arise in the coming months.”
David Butcher, managing director of Upham Inns, said: “This is an exciting moment for Upham Inns. Our business is performing relatively strongly and I believe that with the support of our new board directors, this will give us increased momentum for growth in the coming months.”
City Pub Group appoints Toby Smith as COO
Toby Smith will fill the newly created role of chief operating officer at City Pub Group.
Smith, who has more than 25 years’ experience in UK hospitality, has previously held CEO roles with Stonegate Pub Company, Novus Leisure and Town and City Pub Company.
The operator of 52-sites also announced that joint managing director, Alex Derrick, will leave the company by mutual agreement.
City Pub Group executive chairman Clive Watson recently lauded the operator’s ‘encouraging’ post-lockdown performance after revenues bounced back from a 55% hit taken during 15 weeks of enforced closure during the spring and early summer.
According to the 52-strong pub group’s interim results for the 26-week period to 28 June, H1 revenue more than halved as a result of the Government’s enforced closure of hospitality venues – plummeting from £27.1m in H1 2019 to £12.1m in 2020.
‘’The challenges of Covid-19 will also bring opportunity and we are seeking to position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities which undoubtedly will arise,” Watson said.
“The pub estate has been locked down far more effectively than the first time. All retail staff and a large number of head office staff are now on furlough. We intend to run our existing estate in the most efficient manner and our infrastructure is scalable for the next part of the journey when the pandemic is behind us.
“We welcome Toby to the business to accelerate the work that has been ongoing to achieve these goals. I and the board look forward to working with him to build an even stronger, better business for the future.”
Three quarters of hospitality anxious about job security
Nearly three quarters of hospitality workers have said they are worried about losing their job amid the current lockdown, according to a snap survey.
Some 72% of staff said they feel either very concerned (39%) or slightly concerned (33%) about their short-term job security, according to a snap Pulse survey from CGA and CPL Learning.
The findings come days into a second national lockdown in England, which will see pubs and bars closed for 28 days.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government would “go further” to help those in sectors hit by the impact of coronavirus measures yesterday, announcing an extension of the furlough scheme until March.
The survey was conducted before this speech.
Covid vaccine sees pubco shares rise
Major pubco share prices rocketed today following the announcement of a coronavirus vaccine by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech.
Some 40m doses of the vaccine have been ordered by the UK Government, with around 10m of them expected to be ready for use by Christmas, it has been reported.
The announcement of the jab sparked London’s stock market into action and, at the time of reporting, the FTSE 100 was on track to have its best day since March this year.
At around midday today (Monday 9 November), Mitchells & Butlers PLC saw its share price rocket by over 26%.
JD Wetherspoon PLC saw similar figures, with its price jumping by over 21% at around the same time.
Interest in running pubs ‘hits all-time high’
Thirst for running pubs has reached unprecedented levels, according to sector recruiter FindMyPub.com.
While both the number of web visitors and applications during the first three months of lockdown in spring and early summer, which prompted the removal of one-in-four pubs from the platform, the conversion of applicants to leads processed has grown.
However, FindMyPub.com has seen both interest and enquiries from people wanting to operate tenanted pubs increase since, with August yielding the most visitors to the website in the company’s 11-year history – a 24.86% growth in users year-on-year peaking at 60,000 unique visitors, 80% of whom were new users.
What’s more, in September, the company saw the largest volume of pub applications sent to its clients in one single day.
BrewDog appoints Niall McCallum as chief financial officer
Scottish craft brewer and bar operator BrewDog has appointed Niall McCallum as its chief financial officer.
McCallum joins having previously held both chief financial officer and finance director positions at Element for the past three years after working at KPMG, Caird Capital and Capita.
Neil Simpson, who had been acting as BrewDog’s interim chief financial officer, will become business development director, which he previously held, to focus on international expansion across BrewDog’s key export markets.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), BrewDog recently announced that it had hit an initial crowdfunding target of £7.5m for its Equity for Punks Tomorrow scheme, which launched in September – raising £1m in less than 48 hours.
What’s more, it’s understood the operator of more than 100 sites globally is currently working on UK openings in Plymouth, Exeter, Manchester, Chelmsford, Basingstoke, Bath, Ealing, Headingley, Huddersfield, Bradford, Lincoln and Belfast.