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Wed 17th Jul 2019 - Businesses and customers join forces to oppose late-night tax in London
Businesses and customers join forces to oppose late-night tax in London: Local businesses, residents and customers in Southwark have joined forces to oppose the introduction of a late-night levy. UKHospitality and local businesses have gathered signatures opposing the introduction of a new tax on pubs, bars and late-night venues open after midnight. The petition will be delivered to Southwark Council today (Wednesday 17 July) ahead of a planned meeting where the levy will be discussed. UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The number of people, businesses, customers and local residents, who have come together to oppose this new tax shows how strongly they feel about it. It also highlights how wrong Southwark Council is to even consider this unsuitable and dangerous new tax. The levy has already been dismissed by the House of Lords Committee on Licensing which recommended it be abolished. Hospitality businesses in Southwark have helped drive regeneration over the years and they came together to support the community following the devastating attack two years ago. Now, they are being squeezed by a Council only interested in another tax, even if it undermines businesses, loses jobs and harms investment in the community.” Alex Philiotis, general manager of Belushi’s, The Dugout and St Christopher’s Inn, London Bridge added: “We will be paying even more in taxes and there is no guarantee that anyone in the Borough will benefit from it. The money raised may not even be spent here. It will only restrict our ability to invest money in our venues and staff, it will reduce choice for our customers who will also suffer and make the area a much less exciting place.” Keith Knowles, chief executive and founder of Beds and Bars, said: “Southwark is a lively and vibrant area and venues, particularly those in and around London Bridge, are renowned as some of the most exciting in the country. We have invested lots of time, money and energy over the years, along with other businesses, to help regenerate the area. After all that we have contributed, it is devastating to see the Council decide just to foist another tax on us.”

Hotel Chocolat reports ‘pleasing’ full year performance: Hotel Chocolat Group, the British chocolatier and omni-channel retailer, has reported revenue for the 52 weeks to 30 June was £132 million, an increase of 14% compared to the 52 weeks ended 1 July 2018. Management expects that profit before tax for FY19 will be in line with market expectations. The company stated: “Operationally, the group opened 16 Hotel Chocolat locations in the year contributing 5% to group sales year-on-year. Two of the new openings were in the USA. In addition to the above openings, the group entered into a joint venture in Japan which opened two locations in Tokyo. Trading since FY19 continues to be in line with management’s expectations.” Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “I’m really pleased with our performance this year, delivering strong growth across all parts of the Hotel Chocolat multi-channel, direct-to-consumer model. New activities in the year included openings in the US and Japan; the launch of the Velvetiser – our in-home drinking chocolate system; and the introduction of our VIP ME rewards card scheme, all of which present substantial future growth opportunities. Our pace of innovation is relentless. In our drinks and ices range we are seeing the most prolific new product Instagramming in our history, with Billionaire’s Sundaes, Choc Shakes and Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Lollies generating lots of excitement.”

Chapel Down hires non-executive director: Chapel Down Group the NEX listed English wine and drinks producer, announces today that Samantha Wren, chief executive of IPGL (Holdings), has been appointed to the board as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Commenting on the appointment Chapel Down chief executive Frazer Thompson said: “I am delighted to welcome Sam to the board at a very exciting time for the business. She brings with her not only drive, energy and enthusiasm for our brands but also a wealth of City and financial experience. Sam brings a highly strategic, commercially creative, pragmatic approach and will fit in very well with a fantastic board. We are humbled and delighted that she has agreed to join us on our journey.”

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