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Wetherspoons boss calls for pubs to reopen the same time as shops ‘to save jobs’

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SkyNews/Twitter & Mike Hedgethorne/Flickr

Wetherspoons’ boss calls for pubs to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops to save jobs in the industry.

The chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, has warned that the pub industry is ‘on its knees’ and needs to be opened to save jobs.

He went onto explain that pubs made a massive contribution to the economy, with Wetherspoons chain paying about £10 of tax for every £1 of profit they make.

Much of the hospitality industry across the UK is currently closed unless they can offer takeaway food and drink, with a number of restrictions also in place on that. 

Gerald England / Geograph

Scientists have warned that talks of reopening pubs, bars and restaurants are too premature. 

However, Martin argues that pubs and restaurants are ‘Covid-secure’ having invested in safety measures like plastic screens, table-service only, floor markers and more. 

He said: “Surely it is possible for the hospitality industry to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops, now that a vaccine exists, on the basis of the social distancing and hygiene regulations.”

He added that the various lockdown measures imposed on pubs since March last year could spell a ‘disaster’ for finances.

In the financial year to July 2019, JD Wetherspoon, its customers and employees generated £764m of taxes, Martin said.

He added: “The amount of tax paid by Wetherspoon is replicated, according to the size of the company, throughout the pub industry, and shows just how important pubs are to the economy.”

It comes after chief executive of the Young’s pub chain, Patrick Dardis accused the prime minister of a ‘lack of respect’ for the sector and for basing the decision to close pubs on ‘unproved’ science – a claim experts dispute. 

He added that the industry needed a ‘road map’ to reopening with social distancing restrictions in place but that these should only last a few months. 

Dr Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter medical school said talk of reopening pubs by April was premature.

Adding: “What the executives of pubs need to know is that failure to get it right equals back to square one. And back to square one equals much more pain economically, much more hardship.”

He said people drink alcohol to relax and that one of the consequence of relaxing is that ‘you drop your guard’. 

Wetherspoon

Industry figures released last week show a net loss of almost 6,000 licensed premises last year, triple that of 2019. 

The hospitality industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors throughout the pandemic with UK Hospitality boss Kate Nicholls recently warning that there could be ‘very little’ left if closures last until May. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce the ‘roadmap’ to leave lockdown a week from now, with some reporting they expect the reopening of non-essential shops to happen in a matter of weeks.

The Times reports that ministers are examining plans that could allow people to take breaks as early as the Easter holidays. A government source told the paper: “There’s an active discussion about how soon we can do it and we’ll be guided by the data.

“There’s talk of April at the earliest, but a lot of things have to go right. It’s unlikely but it is being talked about as a possibility.”

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Sir David Amess MP has died after stabbing incident, police say

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Sir David Amess / Twitter & Richard Townshend

A Conservative MP has died after being stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reported earlier this afternoon.

According to police, he was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

He received treatment at the scene for his injuries, with emergency services at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with. 

Police said in a statement: “A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October).

“We attended and found a man injured.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.

“He is currently in custody.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess stabbed multiple times in ‘major incident’

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Richard Townshend

According to reports this afternoon, a Conservative MP has been stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reports.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

The latest updates suggest he has been receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries, and police are reportedly at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with.

Essex Police have confirmed a man has now been arrested. 

They wrote on Twitter: “A man’s been arrested following an incident in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Rd North shortly after 12.05pm.

“A man was arrested shortly after & we’re not looking for anyone else.

“We’ll bring you more info when we have it.”

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The Manchester Christmas Markets is moving to Piccadilly Gardens this year

Big changes for the Christmas Markets this year…

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Manchester City Council & David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester’s beloved Christmas Markets are making a grand return to the city this year, but its main hub will be found in a different location.

While the heart of the markets is usually centered around Albert Square, ongoing renovations to the Town Hall have forced them to move to Piccadilly Gardens, the council have confirmed today.

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with all the usual yuletide bars, market stalls and food huts.

Plans for the Winter Gardens also include a one-way system and separate entrances and exits, as well as a strict limit on visitors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

David Dixon / Geograph

They are also adding a fully accessible toilet to make the Winter Garden as inclusive as possible.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome back our world-famous Christmas Markets and the addition of the Winter Gardens for the very first time.

“Manchester has been the capital of Christmas for twenty-two years since the very first Christmas Market arrived in the UK in 1999 and we know it was a huge disappointment that we had to scale back our celebrations last year.

“We’re making up for lost time this year and I can’t wait to see the transformation in the city centre into the festive wonderland we know and love.”

@mcrchristmasmarkets / Instagram

Last year, in what would have been the markets’ twenty-first birthday, the festivities were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, much to the dismay of Mancunians all across the region.

At the time, Councillor Karney said that even the proposed smaller markets didn’t meet public health approval, adding that the council ‘could never take any risks’ with people’s wellbeing.

He said: “We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place. It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.”

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