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Losses nearly treble at Hand Picked Hotels – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

05 July 2010 by

Losses nearly treble at Hand Picked Hotels The recession has almost trebled losses at Hand Picked hotels, the up-market chain of 17 boutique hotels owned by private equity boss Guy Hands and his wife Julia. In the year to 26 November, 2009, its losses deepened from £3.1m to £8.2m while turnover declined by 5% to £58.3m. The group paid £8.8m in interest on loans and overdrafts during the year, which saw debt increase to £126m, including £99m owed to Lloyds Banking Group. Hand Picked owes Guy and Julia £11.1m and £11.9 respectively in unsecured loans and Guy another £3.9m in secured loans. Julia said 2009 had proved "extremely difficult" but said revenues had improved this year. Meanwhile, Lloyds is seeking an industry figure to manage more than £1b-worth of hotels on its books. Options include merging asses, exchanging debt for equity, or selling hotels. - 3 July, Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>](

Scottish health campaign likens NHS malnutrition to euthanasia A leading Scottish health campaigner has called on the Scottish Government to tackle the problem of malnutrition among elderly and vulnerable NHS patients, which she likened to a form of euthanasia. The British Dietetics Association last week revealed that malnutrition cost the Scottish health boards £1.3b a year, while a recent report suggests that it may have hastened the end of 50,00 patients who die in NHS hospitals each year. Dr Jean Turner - executive director of Scotland Patients Association (SPA), a GP and former independent MSP - said many undernourished patients were not given help with feeding, while nursing staff were scared to express their concerns to senior management. "If patients do not manage to swallow food, nutritious or otherwise, and drink then they will not heal, their general health will deteriorate and death may be an outcome, sooner or later. The SPA would call this a form of euthanasia to allow dehydration and malnutrition to develop due to lack of awareness, lack of staffing or carelessness." The government said it had invested more than £1.75m on pre-admission screening for malnutrition and stricter food standards. - 4 July, Read the full article in the Sunday Herald >>

Inverness to host UK's first social enterprise hotel
The UK's first social enterprise hotel - staffed by vulnerable local young people - is planned to open in Inverness in 2014 as part of the new campus for Inverness College and the University of the Highlands and Islands. The four-star, 100-bedroom hotel with café and restaurant will take on youngsters who are not in work or education, homeless youths, and those lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. They will work alongside hospitality experts in the hotel in maintenance, food preparation, front of house and housekeeping, eventually gaining a qualification. Former Scottish hotelier of the year Grant Sword will advise on developing and running the hotel for the Albyn Housing Association and the Calman Trust for young people, the organisations behind the proposals. The Inverness hotel is modeled on the four-star Best Western Art & Woonhotel in Rotterdam, which is run by ex-convicts, battered wives and lone parents. - 4 July, [Read the full article in the Sunday Herald >>](

Gloucestershire schools banned from ‘spying' on pupils' lunchboxes Nineteen primary schools in Gloucestershire have been ordered by education bosses to stop spying on schoolchildren's packed lunches after parents complained of a breach of privacy. The schools were using a "packed lunch toolkit" devised by Gloucestershire county council and NHS Gloucestershire but never actually signed off by the council. Over a six-month period, they photographed the contents of a random sample of lunchboxes, analysed and scored the food and, if necessary, offered parents advice on how to improve nutrition. Some parents thought it a good idea, although they were unhappy they had not been informed of the scheme, but family pressure group Parent OutLoud condemned it as "Big Brother gone absolutely mad". However, Cheryl Ridler, an education co-ordinator at St Paul's Primary School in Gloucester, insisted it had improved the quality of food brought in. "All the parents were very positive about it and we did it in a very nice and careful way, and in no way demanding and intrusive," she added. - 3 July, [Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>](

iPhone app gives restaurant hygiene scores to West Yorkshire diners A new iPhone app allows diners in West Yorkshire to check the hygiene scores of their local restaurants and takeaways simply by pointing their phone at the premises. The ratings - from zero to five stars - are provided by environmental health officers and have previously only been accessible by logging onto the Scores on the Doors website ( or via a text service on mobile phones. The new app will provide instant feedback on the cleanliness of restaurants and takeways in Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford and other towns in West Yorkshire, as well as schools that cook food on-site and premises that sell ready-to-eat food. In the first six months of the year, the website received more than 118,000 hits from people seeking somewhere to eat in Leeds, where the council last year received a £33,000 grant from the Food Standard Agency to fund a programme to help its 300 lowest-rated eateries fill in their food safety management plans in a bid to drive up standards. This includes a free three-hour coaching session for the 150 worst performers. The app can be found on the iTunes website under Food Hygiene or by visiting - 2 July, [Read the full article in the Yorkshire Post >>](

By Angela Frewin

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