Good news, well, some good news
Dear lovely people
Last week I promised some good news so here we go. It’s nothing we’ve been able to control but the Budget did bring some additional expected short term, relief for our sector:
Furlough extended until September. This is great news but this hints very strongly at another lost summer for hospitality. We’re only taking positives so we’ll park that thought for now.
VAT held at 5% until September and then increasing to 12.5% until April 2022. This is good news but again only applies to food not to ontrade sales (that’s a glass of something nice in a restaurant or bar). Alcohol led venues have not benefited from the VAT cut and with sales in supermarkets rocketing it yet again an unfair playing field.
Scotland has already received extended 1 year rates relief, England which operates under a different system is to receive less relief but pays less rates. I think it’s positive but it won’t affect us North of the Border, we don’t think.
Further grant support for England was announced but we’re awaiting to hear if this will be extended to Scotland.
Great news, we get to borrow more debt with a Recovery Loan Scheme! (eye roll, sorry!)
Apprentice Incentives; always a good thing.
Alcohol duty freeze, more positive news for supermarkets. Don’t call me Cynical.
Closer to home it sounds like there may be some relaxation on outdoor social distancing for friends and family being permitted by 17th March. This is hugely welcome and shows some sign of light for the future.
On a lighter note, the new one Man and his Dog series is about to be launched. Only joking, but Victor and Rocco are like Batman and Robin, inseparable and occasionally appearing on the couch when I’m not looking. Our new gardener started on 1st March replacing Ania who sadly left us after many years in December to be with her family in Poland. The kitchen garden has been dormant over the winter due to lack of resources so this is a vital time to get started so our spring and summer harvests can deliver the beautiful produce the restaurants cry for. Loads to do so Victor’s had his gardening boots on and his spade in hand to help John get started. Good job boys!
Just when I thought we just had Covid and Brexit to contend with, “The Boulevard Plans” for George Street were shared last week.
For almost 20 years these ideas have been discussed. Formal Council consultation on the current scheme started in 2016 and miraculously the final concepts for public consultation were released while we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.
Plans are ambitious and radical. I love radical ambition but I also love balance.
George Street may be transformed (not necessarily in the way that reflects enough opinion or the opinion of those most invested in the street) but based on 66% of 1355 peoples comments. Is this really a large enough sample to make significant changes for our city’s most iconic street?
Life has changed in the last year and how we will be using our cities will look very different in the future. Some offices inevitably will need to be converted back to residential as we’ll be working part time from home. Why? because the skills and professions that have previously occupied our city centre offices our lawyers, consultants, surveyors, accountants can work from home, and most of them like it. We don’t have call centre operators or packers, paying top dollar rents in premium city centre buildings. I don’t feel these changes have been taken into account at the pace and the impact of the pandemic in the new scheme.
More worryingly, this £32m (Sustrans funded) project that is estimated to take 3 years to complete and will radically remove all public car access from George Street, except for blue badge holders and deliveries, has yet to have an economic or commercial impact assessment completed. Similar funding is being used to change high streets around the city in moves that many residents and businesses feel are detrimental to safety and accessibility for the whole community. The George Street visuals leave much to interpretation. They paint an aspirational lifestyle. Relaxed, tranquil and car free. Does this really reflect the original James Craig plans that the new scheme is supposed to reflect and does it reflect the needs of the businesses and actual street users?
Finally the weather! Like the Queensferry Crossing’s lack of design for extreme weather ( ie most of January and February), the blue skies clearly shown on the flyover don’t reflect the 200 plus days of the year that pour with rain or horizontal winds. This proposal in part is beautiful, George Street has wide boulevards and you’ll be able to stroll and enjoy the world class architecture, relax and celebrate the outdoors. But it’s Edinburgh. Calamity Jane would have been singing if she’d ever visited.
Whatever the general consensus, we’ll support. We have too but we feel it’s important to share our thoughts. The heart of our business is in George Street and this beautiful street needs love. It needs people and businesses and we can’t wait to get open here and everywhere else to start sharing happy times, great food and fun. If the weather permits we’ll be the first to be dining alfresco, Italian style!
Anyway I’m off to answer the phone and start packing Contini at Home.
Keep well and keep safe
Thank you most sincerely from all our team, we so value your support.
PS. TELEPHONE LINES OPEN
Remember that our telephone line is open on Wednesdays to receive your orders. If you find the online shop challenging please call 0131 225 1550
MOTHERING SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS
Again, thank you for your amazing orders for our Mothering Sunday package. Please note that order cut off is Thursday 11th March so ensure you order now to avoid disappointment.
For those of you who would prefer to have your food delivered on Saturday ahead of Mothers Day we can highly recommend our Family Celebration Menu perfect for your lovely mum and family to enjoy.
ORDER OUR MOTHER’S DAY MENU
And you don’t just have to say it with food – you can add a beautiful bunch of spring flowers to your order here. Note deadline is 10th March for this to allow them to prepare.
CONTINI AT HOME WEEKLY SPECIAL
Thank you for your amazing orders this week, we love being part of your special celebrations. This week we’ve seen everything from birthday celebrations to diamond wedding anniversaries.
As mentioned last week all our menus are running for the whole of March, Thursday to Saturday, with our special Mother’s Day menu on Sunday 14th March.
Weekly Special – available 11th to 13th March
To celebrate baby Oliver, one of our dear friends new grandchild, we have brought back our Peelham Farm polpette menu as this week’s favourite. Served with troffetti pasta, focaccia and a beautiful fresh panzanella salad with gorgeous new season Italian cucumbers, ciliegino tomatoes from Sicily, sweet white onions, EVOO and a splash of red wine vinegar. Spring and new life to celebrate, more good news! CLICK HERE TO ORDER