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

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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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Legendary Manchester metal pub Grand Central is sadly closing down

Manchester’s alternative music scene has lost a real gem

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Grand Central / Facebook

The city’s staple metal music and gig venue, Grand Central, will be permanently closing its doors, it was announced today. 

The Oxford Street haunt confirmed rumours that it wouldn’t be reopening – at least not ‘the way it was’ – on Facebook this morning.

Alongside a photo of smiling staff members, the post read: “The stories are true, Grand Central won’t be reopening the way it was. All the now former staff want to thank Tom for everything he has done for us and for giving the alternative scene a home for the last 20+ years. 

Grand Central / Facebook

“I’m sure everyone has stories connected to the little pub, share them and don’t let the memory of the GRAND F***ING CENTRAL die.

“Thank you to everyone for the custom over the years, we will miss you.”

The venue’s manager Danny Daemon also wrote on Facebook: “The regulars made the place and you know who you are. You embraced me as the new manager and I couldn’t of asked for a better group of people.”

Explaining the reason for the shock closure, he explained: “I know all this is a shock to you all, but this had been in the works from before lockdown. Stonegate own some pretty cool places and whilst no, it won’t be GC as we know it, there’s still a chance they’ll embrace it as an alternative hot spot. They might even do food.”

Social media users were understandably devastated to hear the news, with one writing: “So sad. In my eyes Manchester has just lost a main part of its culture. I will never forget this place and everyone I have either served or had the pleasure to have a drink with.”

Another wrote: “We always had a friendly welcome and met some truly awesome and unique people in there. Really going to miss it. Where do we go from here?”

Grand Central opened over twenty years ago and became a firm favourite among rock, metal and alternative music fans. Several bands also played there over the years, with local metal band 4GEN7 saying it was ‘a second home for most of us at one point or another.’

According to a number of posts circulating on social media, the venue has been acquired by the Stonegate Pubs group, though plans for the site are yet to be confirmed.

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Marcus Rashford is the UK’s largest charitable donor having given away 125% of his net worth

He’s also the youngest charitable donor to top the Sunday Times Giving List

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@marcusrashford / Instagram

Startling new figures have shown that Marcus Rashford is the UK’s most generous charitable donor, having given away a massive 125% of his net worth to charity.

He is also the youngest person to ever top the Sunday Times Giving List, a system that ranks philanthropists by comparing the sums they’ve raised for charity against their net worth on the Sunday Times Rich List.

​​With a personal worth of £16million, Rashford managed to raise a staggering 125% of his net worth over the past year, ultimately helping charity FareShare distribute 4 million meals to disadvantaged children.

FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said the footballer’s commitment to tackling child hunger ‘has simply been incredible.’

She told Metro: “His own experience of relying on free school meals to eat brings authenticity and compassion to his campaigning, and his status as a Premier League footballer means people and politicians sit up and take notice.”

The Manchester United forward was first recognised for his charitability last year when he was able to change the course of the UK Government’s decision to provide free meals for underprivileged children during the summer school holidays.

Rashford, who received free school meals himself as a child, was made an MBE in the delayed 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

More recently, however, the footballer was forced to defend himself after it was suggested he had profited from his charitable efforts. 

He tweeted that The Spectator Magazine wanted to run the story as he defended his off-field partnerships with brands, asking his followers: “Why can’t we just do the right thing?”

He went on to explain: “Last summer, 1.3M children had access to food support, through my relationship with Burberry children have a safe place to be after school where they will be fed, following the November investment vulnerable children have safe places to go this summer holiday, and due to my relationship with Macmillan 80,000 children now have a book to call their own.”

This comes just over a week on from England’s Euros 2020 loss to Italy, which saw Rashford and other black players inundated with racist abuse. 

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Man with ‘worries’ about the jab told nurse ‘I wish I’d got vaccinated’ before dying of Covid

Glenn had his ‘worries and concerns’ about getting the Covid vaccine

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The family of an unvaccinated man who died of Covid have spoken out about his heartbreaking final moments. 

‘Gentle giant’ Glenn Barrett, from Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, passed away in hopsital after a three week-long battle with the virus, which he is believed to have contracted while watching an England Euro 2020 game at a local pub.

According to his family, Glenn had been with a group of friends at the pub watching England play Croatia on June 13th. It is understood that, following the match, around seven people tested positive for the virus.

His family have since spoken out and said the fifty-one-year old was unvaccinated because he had ‘his worries and reasons,’ Grimsby Live reported.

However, they said that before he was put into an induced coma, Glenn had a change of heart and told a nurse ‘he wished he had been vaccinated.’

Daniel Schludi/Unsplash

His cousin Ken Meech, who regarded Glenn as a ‘big brother,’ is now urging everyone to get vaccinated when they can.

He said: “If he had [been vaccinated], he would still be with us today.

“I’m not a doom monger or someone who’s telling you what you should do or not do. After all we are suppose to live in a free world.

“But this is one of the saddest times of my life, losing my cousin, Big Glenn Barrett to Covid.”

Describing Glenn as ‘brave,’ Ken explained that his cousin ‘fought until the end’ and, tragically, did have a change of heart regarding the vaccine.

He said: “Glenn had his worries and reasons for not having the jabs but he had no spleen and no immune system to help fight any infections but he did say to the nurses before going into an induced coma he wished he had.”

Mufid Majnun / Unsplash

At the time of writing, 82.4M doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered across the UK, meaning 54% of the population has had at least their first jab.

According to the NHS, all adults over the age of eighteen can now book their own vaccine without having to wait to be contacted by their local GP.

For more information on vaccines and where to get yours, visit the NHS website here.

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