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'Independent' owner's hotel raided by Ukrainian authorities – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

08 November 2010 by
'Independent' owner's hotel raided by Ukrainian authorities – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

‘Independent' owner's hotel raided by Ukrainian authorities The luxury Ukrainian hotel complex owned by Independent and Evening Standard newspaper owner Alexander Lebedev was raided on Friday by 100 police and security officers in an apparent row over a charity fund. Lebedev said staff had been "very scared" as the police stopped them using phones and confiscated computers. He believed the raid was triggered by an article in the Evening Standard claiming that his family and British fundraisers and theatre stars had done more to restore the nearby home of playwright Anton Chekhov than the Ukrainian administration. Lebedev has threatened to close the hotel if the Ukrainian authorities persist. The 20-acre leisure resort at Alushta, on the Crimean coast, includes a 500-bedroom hotel, restaurants, a spa and an aquapark. It turns over $500m (£310m) a year and employs 1,500 staff. - 6 November
Read the full article in theIndependentand theDaily Telegraph >>

Luxury hotels cost less than hospital beds, says NHS The NHS has come under fire for putting patients up in five-star luxury hotels because it considers 24-hour hospital care too expensive. The Mail on Sunday reported that University College London Hospitals (UCLH) has spent more than £1m on luxury hotels in the past three years, including the five-star May Fair and four-star Radisson, Hilton, Millennium, and Copthorne hotels, many charging more than £150 a night. During the same period, 23 other NHS trusts have clocked up hotel bills totaling £1.5m. The Taxpayer's Alliance accused the NHS of "wasteful practices" and "extortionate" costs. A spokesman for UCLH - which plans to build its own patient hospital - said it received significant discounts from hotels and preferred to use the Radisson Edwardian Grafton at a special nightly rate of £120. UCHL estimates the cost of a hospital bed overnight at more than £300. - 7 November
Read the full article in theMail on Sunday >>

Tennent's launches hospitality training academy Scottish brewer Tennents is launching a £1 million training academy at its Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow in a bid to improve standards in Scotland's hospitality sector. The centre will be able to train thousands of staff from Scotland's pub, hotel and restaurant industry in the first year. The academy, formed from a disused canteen, includes tasting rooms, a working bar and cellar, and a chef's kitchen. It will be officially launched on Thursday, with classes starting this week. The move was welcomed by Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, who noted that more than 200,000 people in Scotland worked in the tourism business. - 7 November
Read the full article inScotland on Sunday>>

Private member's bill demands better standards for public sector food Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, has spoken out in support of a private member's bill to introduce nutritional and sustainability standards for food in public institutions such as hospitals and care homes, which will be debated on Friday. She claimed it was "unacceptable" that these standards were only currently being considered for food procured for central government institutions, as this represented just 12% of public sector food. The government spends about £2b on food each year and serves three million meals a day, with the NHS accounting for 300 million meals a year. Boycott said improved national standards would throw a lifeline to British farmers and help the environment, animal welfare and the health of the most vulnerable people in society. She added that contract catering giants Compass and Sodexo had said they would welcome mandatory national standards as it would help them achieve the economies of scale to buy and serve good food cost-effectively. - 7 November
Read the full article in theObserver >>

First ‘free of tie' Enterprise lease awarded Jim Harrison, the founder of Thornbridge Brewery in Derbyshire, has become the first tenant to take advantage of a new lease launched in July by Enterprise Inns that is free of the controversial beer tie. He reopened Sheffield's Greystones pub - formerly the Highcliffe - last week under the new arrangement that allows him to sell his own award-winning beers and bottled ales. "We pay rent as usual as an Enterprise tenant, but have negotiated a ‘tie-release fee', which means we are free of a tie on cask ales and bottles, while being tied in on lager, wine and soft drinks," said Harrison, who wants to expand the scheme to two other Enterprise pubs he runs which are still tied. Enterprise has been working with the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) on the scheme to allow local brewers to sell their own beer in its pubs, and will present it to potential tenants at a Siba meeting next week. - 6 November
Read the full article in theDaily Mail >>

Pub minister ‘determined to champion' community pubs Pubs minister Bob Neill has told the Sunday Express that he is "determined to champion" community pubs and make it easier for communities to step in and save their local pubs. He pointed to an initiative in Hudswell, Swaledale, where villages have clubbed together to buy their local and combine it with a library, shop and allotments. Neill said the Government was introducing a new Right to Buy to help residents take over threatened venues, and urged pub landlords to take advantage of the business tax discount and doubling of small business rate relief announced last month. - 7 November
Read the full article in theSunday Express>>

Dutch government lifts smoking ban for small bars The Netherlands has become the first European country to partially overturn its smoking ban. The incoming coalition government will allow customers to light up in more than 2,000 small, owner-operated bars or pubs that are less than 743.5 sq ft in size. It has also cancelled 280 fines related to the ban. Campaigners argued that the ban was driving small bar owners out of business. Meanwhile, the UK coalition has dropped a review into the ban that had been promised this autumn by Labour, while Spain is set to enforce its ban against smoking in public places in January 2011. Ireland was the first EU member to introduce a smoking ban in 2004, followed by the UK in 2007. - 6 November 2010
Read the full article in theDaily Mail>>

By Angela Frewin

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