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Selfridges launches gardening centres as interest grows during Covid crisis

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .fvwvw60d085136a46e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .fvwvw60d085136a46e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .fvwvw60d085136a46e { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .fvwvw60d085136a46e { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .fvwvw60d085136a46e { display: block; } } Selfridges has launched garden centres at its stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham stores, capitalising on the gardening boom that accelerated during the pandemic. The retailer said the new centres feature its own-label compost and an exclusive themed clothing range from Prada, and form part of a creative theme for the year called Good Nature. Selfridges said it was launching the new range after the number of gardeners rose by 3 million last year, with nearly half of them aged under 45, as the nation turned to home pursuits during the pandemic. The garden centres also include a “potting shed” where customers can talk to experts and take part in workshops and events that will run between 25 June and 11 July. A dial-a-gardener problem-shooting consultation service is another feature of the launch. “A garden centre is evocative but familiar, and has provided rich inspiration for our teams, literally and creatively,” said Hannah Emslie, the creative director of Selfridges. “We know our customers are more interested in gardening and greening than they ever have been. And so we are playing with the idea by bringing the essentials of a typical garden centre to our stores.” A range of own-brand gardening merchandise is sold in-store and online and Gary the gnome, a limited-edition mascot, features on a collection of caps, totes and T-shirts featuring slogans such as “Herb your enthusiasm” and “Horti-couture”.

National Rail to introduce season tickets for part-time commuters

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .ouutl60d0851470006 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .ouutl60d0851470006 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .ouutl60d0851470006 { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .ouutl60d0851470006 { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .ouutl60d0851470006 { display: block; } } National Rail has announced plans for new season tickets designed specifically for part-time commuters. This change in the private sector for the masses of commuters in London comes at the same time as MP considerations for legislative changes in rights to work from home making hybrid structures the ‘default norm’. Given this, flexible structures and hybrid working are objectively here to stay in the long term and employers must adapt accordingly if they are to survive and thrive. While some employers may be concerned about this normalisation of working from home and flexible structures, employees have shown that this approach has been effective and their calls for these structures to be maintained explain National Rail’s new season tickets. Testament to this is the 51% of Brits that have seen the quality of their work and their productivity increase with hybrid working structures. Commenting on the news, Chris Biggs, partner at Theta Global Advisors, said:” National Rail’s announcement for season tickets designed for part-time commuters comes after legislative considerations making working from home rights the default norm. We are thus seeing both in the private and public sector a shift after more than a year seeing just how effectively we can work with more flexible approaches.

HS2 rail costs rise another £1.7bn in Covid pandemic

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .iphqb60d07eafb28c6 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .iphqb60d07eafb28c6 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .iphqb60d07eafb28c6 { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .iphqb60d07eafb28c6 { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .iphqb60d07eafb28c6 { display: block; } } The cost of the HS2 high-speed railway line has risen by another £1.7 billion over the past year as the pandemic and social distancing measures forced delays and reduced productivity on Britain’s biggest infrastructure project. The costs associated with the first phase of the high-speed link between London and Birmingham have increased by as much as £800 million. That is on top of an £800 million increase in costs previously announced by HS2 in October. The cost of the Birmingham Interchange has also been hit by a further £100 million increase to £370 million, before contractors have been appointed. The £1.7 billion increase marks a further significant uplift on the project’s £106 billion budget. One contractor linked to the project said that HS2 Ltd, the state-funded body responsible for delivering the railway line, “still doesn’t really know how much Covid has added”. The increase comes during a growing backlash to HS2, which was seen as one of the reasons behind the Conservatives’ crushing loss to the Liberal Democrats in the Chesham & Amersham by-election.

Nearly half of employers admit to regularly checking employees social media profiles

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .drmue60d068d4b8eb0 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .drmue60d068d4b8eb0 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .drmue60d068d4b8eb0 { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .drmue60d068d4b8eb0 { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .drmue60d068d4b8eb0 { display: block; } } For many, adding coworkers on social media platforms can be a complicated situation; with the average person spending 145 minutes a day on social network sites, our virtual and professional lives are bound to overlap at some point. With some recruitment agencies and HR specialists advising against adding colleagues on social media while others encourage it, Instant Offices have identified key points from both sides, along with advice on how to judge if it feels appropriate to add a co-worker.

McDonald’s to hire 20,000 workers in UK and Ireland over the next 12 months

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .ulgwe60d03f5ebdf9e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .ulgwe60d03f5ebdf9e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .ulgwe60d03f5ebdf9e { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .ulgwe60d03f5ebdf9e { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .ulgwe60d03f5ebdf9e { display: block; } } McDonald’s is to recruit 20,000 workers and open 50 new restaurants in the UK and Ireland. The fast food chain plans to employ additional staff and set up new franchises over the next 12 months. The firm said the additions were not replacing jobs lost throughout the pandemic but were being driven by an expansion drive, and in anticipation of increased crew capacity as part of changing government coronavirus guidelines. Paul Pomroy, the chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to offer an additional 20,000 people an opportunity to work with us. “There is no doubt the pandemic has had a huge impact on many people’s employment opportunities and threatened the future of high streets up and down the country. “Our 1,400 restaurants are run by 200 local franchisees, which means we have a personal stake in every one of our communities.

Landlords threaten to sue after eviction ban extended

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .oopam60d03f691273e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .oopam60d03f691273e { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .oopam60d03f691273e { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .oopam60d03f691273e { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .oopam60d03f691273e { display: block; } } Commercial property owners are exploring legal action against the government after ministers extended the moratorium on evictions until March, leaving £6 billion of rent arrears unpaid. Last week, Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said that binding arbitration would be put in place if landlords and tenants could not come to an agreement over unpaid rent. Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF), said: “How can it possibly be proportionate or a good use of taxpayers’ money to create a whole new scheme to intervene in contract law when you have the courts there to do that?” She said agreements had been reached on more than three quarters of contracts.

UK economy accelerates as tourism and hospitality emerge from lockdown

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .aptkx60d037039b938 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .aptkx60d037039b938 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .aptkx60d037039b938 { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .aptkx60d037039b938 { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .aptkx60d037039b938 { display: block; } } The UK’s economic recovery accelerated in May as tourism and recreation firms reopened, but the delay in ending Covid-19 restrictions is putting hospitality firms at risk, research shows. Eleven out of 14 UK sectors reported faster growth in output month on month in May, up from nine in April, according to the Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker, as the UK moved further out of lockdown. The tracker found that the UK tourism and recreation sector recorded the sharpest rise in output growth as British hotels, pubs and restaurants benefited from pent-up consumer demand. Firms took on more staff to handle rising demand. All 14 sectors reported jobs growth in May, led by manufacturing, while the tourism and recreation sector added jobs for the first time since January 2020. Jeavon Lolay, the head of economics and market insight for commercial banking at Lloyds Bank, said sectors that had been acutely affected by coronavirus restrictions were now outpacing those that operated more freely during lockdown. “Whether the four-week delay to further easing of restrictions will impact this trend is unclear. But while the delay is understandably disappointing for many businesses, there’s no denying that the economy is now on a much sounder footing,” Lolay said. The survey also showed that companies across the economy raised their prices in May, led by chemicals and metals and mining producers. “While UK inflation jumped higher than expected in May and stronger demand saw more businesses pass on rising costs to their customers, it’s arguably still too soon to worry about inflation spiralling out of control,” Lolay said. The fast-food chain McDonald’s announced expansion plans on Sunday and will recruit 20,000 workers over the next 12 months as it opens 50 new restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

Britain still top European country for financial services despite Brexit dip

@media screen and (min-width: 1201px) { .czwpn60d0283e77880 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 993px) and (max-width: 1200px) { .czwpn60d0283e77880 { display: none; } } @media screen and (min-width: 769px) and (max-width: 992px) { .czwpn60d0283e77880 { display: block; } } @media screen and (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 768px) { .czwpn60d0283e77880 { display: block; } } @media screen and (max-width: 767px) { .czwpn60d0283e77880 { display: block; } } Britain remains the most attractive destination in Europe for financial services despite losing some activity to the Continent as a result of Brexit, analysis by EY has found. Foreign companies invested in 56 financial services projects in the UK last year, 43 fewer than 2019 but still seven more than France, the second most popular location. Britain also accounted for £1 in every £5 of global financial services investment in Europe, down from £1 in every £4 in 2019. London was the leading European city, with 38 projects, the annual study found. Although the gap closed, as banks and insurers prepared for the end of free access to European Union markets, investor sentiment on the future of UK financial services remained positive. Anna Anthony, UK financial services managing partner at EY, the accountancy firm, said: “While its lead may have narrowed, most likely only short-term in response to pandemic-related business disruption and Brexit, investor sentiment suggests that the UK is looking to a strong future, and will continue to outperform the rest of Europe.” Britain’s free trade deal with the EU came into force on January 1 but it contained little on financial services. Brussels has not granted the UK “equivalence”, which has effectively resulted in a hard Brexit for finance. A memorandum of understanding that will establish how the jurisdictions will co-operate has been drawn up but has yet to be approved by the EU’s 27 members. The deal cost London its status as Europe’s top share trading centre to the Netherlands and officials are concerned that other EU localisation rules will draw more business away. Experts say the City could lose as much as 10 per cent of its activity over time.

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