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HOSPITALITY

IN BRIEF

Naked Chef expands Italian chain

Jamie Oliver is to open his first 'Jamie's Italian' restaurant in the North West at the Liverpool ONE retail complex. The 6,251 sq ft (581sq m) restaurant, trading on the ground floor with a mezzanine, will open in June. There are currently nine Jamie's Italian-branded restaurants in the UK, with a further four scheduled to open by the end of June – Liverpool; Leeds; Covent Garden, London; and Glasgow

Cadbury's planning new café chain

Chocolate maker Cadbury is planning to open around 60 cafes across the UK under the Cadbury Cocoa House brand. The move, which would see the outlets serving hot chocolate, afternoon tea and Cadbury- themed items, is still in the development stages but a deal to open the cafes was signed in January – before American food giant Kraft bought the company in a £11.5bn hostile takeover. Kraft is said to have given the proposal its support but is not said to be backing it financially.

Tourism industry facing '£250m VAT bill'

Chartered accountant Grant

Thornton has warned small and medium-sized companies in the UK's tourism and travel sectors could be facing a backdated VAT bill running up to £250m. The warning follows a First Tier Tax Tribunal which last month ruled that Med Hotels had lost its appeal against a £7m VAT bill. The VAT is due under the Tour Operators Margin Scheme – an administrative simplification to European Union VAT law. Without it, traditional tour operators would have to apply the normal VAT rules and potentially have to register for VAT in most EU countries.

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BHA publishes 'hospitality manifesto'

Organisation issues five priorities for an incoming government to help the sector

By Martin Nash

The British Hospitality Associa- tion (BHA) has prepared a manifesto of its own ahead of the May General Election to set out what it would like to see a future government doing for the hospitality industry. Representing more than

40,000 member establishments, the BHA has identified five main requirements of which- ever party takes office. The first is to issue a

commitment to take hospitality and tourism seriously. The BHA said that, since the industry is affected by the actions of almost every government department, it wants to see the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – if it retains responsibility for the industry

Chain plans new Glasgow hotel

Whitbread has acquired a site on West Nile Street, Glasgow, for the develop- ment of its latest Premier Inn hotel in Scotland. The agreement with ING

will see a vacant former office block converted into a budget hotel in a deal worth around £10.5m. It will be the first

office-block-to-hotel conversion project in Scotland to benefit from the Business Premises Renovation Allowances Scheme, a government initiative that has been designed to encourage the conversion and renovation of empty properties in key urban areas. The 210-room hotel is

set to create 50 local jobs when it opens.

The BHA is calling for more support for investment in the sector

– to act as an effective commu- nicator with those departments when new regulations are being discussed. Support for investment is

also a priority, with the BHA viewing the withdrawal of Hotel Buildings Allowance and the introduction of an 'unsatis-

factory' new capital allowances scheme as being particularly damaging. It wishes to see changes to make capital allowances better suited to new hotel development and the introduction of Tourist Growth Zones in resorts with tax breaks to help with regeneration.

New hotels for Hilton subsidiary

The group is poised to open three new properties across the UK

By Tom Walker

Hampton Hotels, a division of Hilton Worldwide, has opened three new hotels in the UK. Located in Birmingham;

Braintree, Essex and Shrews- bury, Shropshire, the converted properties are owned by Osborn Securities and man- aged by Hilton Worldwide. The move increases the UK

Hampton by Hilton estate to five – with the three new

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openings joining existing Hampton hotels in Corby, Northamptonshire and at Liverpool's John Lennon airport – creating more than 500 additional rooms. The first of the three to open

– on 16 March – was the 90-room Hampton by Hilton Birmingham Star City, which is about two miles from the city centre and is surrounded by an entertainment complex carrying the same name.

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