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Jamie Oliver slams plans to exempt academies from nutritional standards – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

09 August 2010 by

A round-up of the weekend's news affecting the hospitality industry. News includes: Hilton Waldorf to be sold for up to £250m; Charlton House takeaway costs sparks Government review of PFI contracts and more

Jamie Oliver slams plans to exempt academies from nutritional standards
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is furious over the Government's plans to exempt new academies from tough nutritional standards limiting the fat, salt and sugar content of school dinners, saying it will undo his campaign against childhood obesity. Education secretary Nick Gibb revealed that, while some existing academies will have to comply with the rules through their funding agreements, new academies "will be free to promote healthy eating and good nutrition as they see fit". A spokesman for Oliver said: "He hopes the new academies will take the current nutritional standards as the correct approach. Clearly it's a huge concern that the decision will be made by each academy, opening the doors to the bad old days of reclaimed meat shapes and chips every day." "This will take us back to the days of junk food vending machines in schools, and Turkey Twizzlers on the menu," said shadow public health minister Mary Creagh. A study earlier this year found that schools adopting Oliver's healthy eating programme reduced sick days among pupils by 15% and boosted the number passing English and science exams. - 7 August
Read the full article in the Daily Mirror >>

Hilton Waldorf to be sold for up to £250m The five-star Hilton Waldorf hotel near Aldwych in London looks set to join the £600m-worth of hotels recently put up for sale. Wealthy Asian entrepreneur Gulshan Bhatia, who acquired the hotel for £180m from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2007, now plans to sell the historic hotel, which was built in 1908, for up to £250m to fund the acquisition of smaller hotels in London. Bhatia, 77, who owns several other hotels, started with a B&B she bought in Paddington for just under £200,000 after arriving in London in 1976. Other central London hotels currently on the market include the Radisson SAS Portman (£120m), the Park Plaza Riverbank (£120m), Park Plaza Victoria (£40m) and Citadines (£80m). James Blomfield, a partner at property advisory firm Gerard Nolan & Partners, said hotel transactions were at their highest level since 2001, with pent-up demand, low interest and exchange rates, London's image as a safe haven, and the 2012 Olympics attracting interest from Middle Eastern investors. - 8 August
Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Charlton House takeaway costs sparks Government review of PFI contracts Chancellor George Osborne is to ask officials to examine all Private Finance Initiative contracts across Whitehall after he was quoted a price of £148.58 to have a fish and chip dinner and dessert for six delivered to his private office from the canteen two floors below. Caterer Charlton House, which runs the Treasury canteen at George Street, listed charges of £65.70 for fish and chips for six, £29.70 for bakewell tarts, and £10.05 for juice and water, plus a £21 labour charge and VAT at £22.13. Furious at the high prices, Osborne opted instead to feed his guests the same meal in the canteen for just £32.88, £115 less than the takeaway cost. Last year, Osborne slammed the Labour party's use of PFI as being ‘totally discredited' and pledged that, "The current system - heads the contractor wins, tails the taxpayer loses - will end." - 8 August
Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

NHS study highlights worst food in Scottish hospitals
Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride - recently under fire for serving bridies (meat pasties), beans and cottage pie to patients recovering from heart surgery - serves the worst hospital food in Scotland, according to an NHS study, with more than half of patients unhappy with the catering. Other hospitals failing to serve appetising and nutritious food included Monklands in Airdrie, where only 47% of patients were satisfied with the meals, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Southern General (each with an approval rating of just 52%), and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, which pleased just 62% of patients. By contrast, 89% of patients at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway were happy with the food on offer. Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said a Government review of hospital catering published earlier this year instructed health boards to improve the standards and nutritional quality of their catering. "Key to this is the rollout of the nutritional database which will allow boards to analyse food and ensure meals are both nutritionally balanced and meet patients' individual needs," she said. - 7 August
Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Geronimo Inns could be sold for £30m Boutique pub company Geronimo Inns could be put up for sale following a strategic review commissioned into the business. Private equity firm Penta Capital, which bought the 28-strong chain in 2006, has asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct the review, with other options including the sale of a smaller stake in the company. The group, whose London-based pubs have traded well throughout the recession, needs to raise cash in order to buy several new sites. A leisure banker suggested that £30m as a reasonable price in the case of a full sale. - 8 August
Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Second car in a fortnight crashes into West Sussex pub A car that crashed through the wall of a West Sussex pub at 9.30pm on Friday night - its busiest time of the week - failed to hurt anyone because the room had been closed for repairs following a similar accident just a fortnight ago. The first incident at the Anchor Inn near Chichester had occurred at 1.30am when nobody was around. Kim Carver, who has run the inn for eight years, said the driver of the second crash, a woman of 20, had been unhurt apart from burns from the car's air bag. "She took the whole window out and ended up right inside the pub," said Carver. "The rest of the bar and restaurant is open so we were busy. Everyone ran out." The car was removed after a fire crew checked that the building was safe. "There is a gaping hole in the pub now, but we're still open for business, said Carver. "They say things come in threes - I just hope we don't have another person thinking we are a drive-through." - 8 August
Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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