Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Hospitality

This week's main hospitality news stories include confirmation of 'vaccine passports' in England, chef changes at Tom Kerridge's restaurant group, and condemnation of the Government's plan to raise National Insurance.

- Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that Covid vaccine certificates will be required for entry into nightclubs and other mass indoor venues in England from the end of this month​. Zahawi said the planned introduction of so-called 'vaccine passports', which was first announced back in July, would ensure the economy could remain open, but trade body UKHospitality has warned the scheme will be 'unworkable' for operators and could lead to job losses at a time when there are record levels of staff shortages across the industry. Details regarding exactly when the plan will come into force remains unclear, as does specifications on what other indoor settings the Covid vaccine certificates will be required in beyond night-time economy venues. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has been accused of ignoring the concerns of hospitality after the country's parliament pushed through plans to introduce 'vaccine passports' for crowded venues​ from the beginning of October.

- Tom Kerridge's restaurant group has announced a series of head chef changes across its portfolio​, with the chef saying the business is in a 'really strong position to grow'. Tom De Keyser has been named the new head chef of Kerridge's two Michelin-starred flagship pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, replacing Jamie May who will go on to become chef executive of the group's The Butcher’s Tap and Grill, also in Marlow. De Keyser was previously head chef of Kerridge’s one Michelin-starred Marlow pub The Coach, and has worked for the chef for nine years. The Coach will now be overseen by Sarah Hayward, who moves to Marlow having previously been head chef of The Bull & Bear, Kerridge’s Manchester restaurant in the Stock Exchange Hotel; while Connor Black will step into the head chef role at The Bull & Bear, moving from a joint role as sous chef at The Hand and Flowers and head chef of The Shed, the restaurant’s 10-seater private dining room.

- Business groups have warned the Government's plans to raise National Insurance contributions and dividend tax will 'dampen the entrepreneurial spirit' needed to drive the economic recovery​ following the pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans this week for a new health and social care levy to pay for reforms and the NHS in England. The tax will begin as a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance for employees and employers from April 2022. It will then become a separate tax on earned income from 2023, appearing on an employee's payslip. A tax on income from dividends will also increase by 1.25% from April 2022. The Prime Minister insisted the new levy was 'the reasonable and the fair approach', despite the fact it breaks a key Conservative manifesto commitment. However, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said the move could damage recruitment and entrepreneurialism. He said: “Businesses strongly oppose a rise in national insurance contributions as it will be a drag anchor on jobs growth at an absolutely crucial time."

Restaurant spending broke into positive growth in August for the first time since the pandemic hit​, new data from Barclaycard shows, with a further boost expected as office workers return. Spending on pubs, bars and clubs reached 43.4%, the highest growth recorded for over 17 months, as the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK led to a surge in spending. In total, consumer card spending rose by 15.4% last month, compared to the same period in 2019, with growth recorded across all sectors apart from international travel. Restaurant spending increased by 0.1% against August 2019, and with office workers adjusting to new work and lifestyle patterns the growth looks set to continue, according to Barclaycard.

- Chantelle Nicholson is to close her Covent Garden restaurant Tredwells after seven years​ amid plans for a new restaurant project next year. The sustainability-focused restaurant, which launched in 2014, will close on 24 September. Nicholson opened Tredwells as part of the Marcus Wareing group of restaurants in an operations role in 2014 and became sole of owner of the business in 2018. Details of Nicholson’s new restaurant, due to open in early 2022, are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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