The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and ARG grant extension announced ….

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and ARG grant extension announced ….

BACTA (Our trade organisation) has written to members advising on new Local Authority grant guidance for the leisure and hospitality sector as published by the government over the festive period.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and ARG Grant extension were announced by the Chancellor last month, with councils expected to oversee distribution this year.

“The (Omicron) grant eligibility is largely the same as previous grants to hospitality and leisure businesses,” said CEO John White. “Businesses with a rateable value of up to £15k but less than £51k will get £4,000. Businesses with a rateable value over £51k will get £6,000.”

Leisure businesses are defined as a business that provide opportunities, experiences, and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out. Amusement arcades are listed as eligible businesses in the guidance.”

For the ARG, all funding must be dispersed by 31st March 2022, with businesses required to self-certify that they meet all eligibility criteria, for Local Authority’s to then verify.

Councils are specifically encouraged to provide funding for hospitality, and there is no restriction on the number of grants a business can receive. (Subject to subsidy limits)

However, the recent addition varies from previous tranches in that councils are prohibited from using funding for business support activities, meaning all funds must be allocated as grant payments.

Pubs and Social clubs have been one of the worst industry’s hit by the Covid situation and will have an impact for a long time to come for many landlords. We have been encouraging as many of our pub and club customers to make sure they get their claim in for this grant funding to help them with the badly affected Christmas that was brought on by panic and worry that in government started.

Now that we are over all the restrictions Comrie has been speaking to our pubs and social clubs about the latest fruit machines to help increase income and get us all back to the income before all this started.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Protecting the NHS or is it Nursing shortages??

Protecting the NHS or is it Nursing shortages??

Increasingly it appears that the phrase ‘Protecting the NHS’ is actually a euphemism for nursing shortages. It is the one constant that has been used throughout the last two years – as such shouldn’t the government’s strategy be to recruit more qualified staff from overseas at the same time as investing in the training of more nurses rather than attempt to stop or at best slow down the spread of a highly contagious virus?

If the lack of staff is the pinch-point and the reason why society is experiencing a cultural and commercial paralysis with some older people quite literally passing due to broken years and loneliness why hasn’t the government done something/anything in fact about it? NHS workers deserve a medal of their own for working for a slow moving and inefficient employer.

For many people the NHS is beyond criticism, but the fact is it is a well-known fact that if you have the misfortune to fall seriously ill and be admitted to hospital on a Friday your chances of surviving reduce significantly.

Similarly, why don’t hospitals do CT scans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? It sounds like an urban myth, but it has been reported that a VET pays the NHS to scan his animal patients when the equipment isn’t being used. My point is it should be used all the time and by humans.

One of the positives that must come out of the review is a root and branch overhaul of the NHS and Care system. The new normal means that we need more capacity in both which means more trained staff and fewer middle management administrators who frankly are not particularly good at their jobs. Also lets not mention the bullying of Doctors and Nurses who have been on the front line of Covid for over two years with no protection and now 80,000 of them are threatened with the sack for making a choice of not having the Covid jab. What do they know that we don’t????

Comrie is proud of how hard our Doctors and Nurses have worked over the last two plus years especially and will continue to support them Jabbed or not.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Happy New Year 2022

New £50 note enters circulation – will it be the last one?

The Bank of England’s new polymer £50 note has entered circulation, marking the 109th anniversary of the birth of it subject – pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing.

Despite there currently being 357 million £50 notes in circulation, the new launch comes as the use of high-denomination notes, and cash itself, suffer a significant decline.

The Guardian reported – with consumers increasingly going cashless, for millions of people it may be months or even years before they see or touch one. Even before the pandemic, many people only rarely encountered a £50 note, and the coronavirus crisis has triggered a slump in the use of cash which could end up being permanent.

The release of the new £50 marks the completion of the UK’s switch to polymer notes, as well as the first open depiction of a LGBTQ+ figure on a banknote.

During his lifetime, Turing created the breakthrough machine that helped win the Second World War, but was persecuted by the government for his homosexuality, and chemically castrated, before taking his own life in 1954.

But, with a £50 note the going rate for two testicles and winning WW2, what price then the future of cash in the UK?

Happy New year to you and hopefully you will be lucky enough to come across your some new £50 notes. while our machines do not take these notes they take all the other polymer notes and also the old paper notes as they are still legal tender until October this year. If you are looking for pool tables, jukeboxes or digital fruit machines for your pub or social club please contact us to chat over.

 

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Online ordering Apps for pubs and restaurants

Online ordering Apps for pubs and restaurants

The UK’ s four biggest pub chains, representing a quarter of the market – Wetherspoons, Greene King, Mitchells and Butlers and Stonegate  –  all now have their own in house apps. The developers behind apps for independent venues say they have seen huge growth during the pandemic.

They all say they follow the guidelines informing customers of their rights and how their data will be dealt with. But those terms and conditions are unlikely to be closely read by a lot of people.

Over the last year, lots of businesses have suddenly got a mountain of information about their customers that they didn’t have before. Your local pub knows your name, an email address, maybe your date of birth, maybe your home address.

For the bar or pub, that is incredibly valuable information, worth much more than the round you just bought. It tells them what you like drinking, what time you are likely to visit, who you were sitting with and how frequently you reorder.

The ICO said sharing personal data was far from obligatory. Advising, customers need to understand they do have a choice. We are now coming out of the pandemic and the is the ability to order on the app or in the more traditional way. It is very easy for people to just see the end product, and because they want that, they really don’t question the amount of data that they are being asked for.

Ultimately this is your data. It is your personal information, and you need to be confident when you are handing it over and the reasons why.

Online ordering is popular with many customers, sparing them the crush at the bar and helping to reduce the risk from Covid.

But they are popular with businesses too because they speed up the ordering process and provide an additional way to interact with customers. Apps now handle millions of pounds worth of transactions every day.

And it looks as though they are here to stay. Apart from in Northern Ireland, where you still have to be served at the table, restaurants and bars across the UK can now return to pre-pandemic style service at the bar or from waiting staff. But most are keeping their online ordering too.

This way of ordering becomes a faceless experience for the customer and does not encourage what the whole pub experience is about, community! that what our local pub is for, to connect with people. These modern dat app’s make out they are making life easier but in reality they are doing more harm. just look at what Facebook and the other social networking sites are doing to our young children!

Thank goodness at present you still can walk up to a fruit machine in your local pub and play that in person. The way things are changing this will probably be done on their phone very soon.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

MOST GOOGLED REVIEWED MACHINE COMPANY

MOST GOOGLED REVIEWED MACHINE COMPANY

We are pleased to say that Comrie Automatics are the most Google reviewed fruit machine supplier in the UK.

Also, to add to this we have a 5 Star rating on Google which we are very proud of.

This is testament to our great service team who do such a fantastic job in keeping our customers happy.

The most important part of this industry is providing a First Class back up service, because if your  fruit machines, pool tables or Jukeboxes are not working they are not earning you money.

We take a lot of pride in making sure we respond as soon as possible to any call outs. This has then filtered back with some great reviews.

At the time of posting this blog, we have had 44 happy customer reviews, with hopefully many more to come.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Cash is disappearing

CASH PAYMENTS DECLINE 35% DURING 2020

The 2020 annual report from UK Finance has revealed a 35 percent drop in cash payments in 2019, as debit card usage increased to represent 44 percent of all transactions.

Despite a fall in overall payments, restrictions on movement and social engagement saw cashless continue the upward trajectory established pre-pandemic.

The report has added interesting context to a year in which prevailing trends in the UK payments market were accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing public health situation unsurprisingly saw overall payment volumes decrease by 11 percent as lockdowns slowed the economy and contributed to a 35 percent drop in cash payments from 2019.

Just over a quarter of all payments made during the period were through contactless methods, including mobile payment which increased 75 percent during 2020 as payments technology continued to evolve.

It will not be long until fruit machines in pubs take card payments. As of writing this gambling machines cannot legally accept card payments to play, but the technology is there and just waiting for changes to the law.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

New £50 note enters circulation – will it be the last one?

New £50 note enters circulation – will it be the last one?

The Bank of England’s new polymer £50 note has entered circulation, marking the 109th anniversary of the birth of it subject – pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing.

Despite there currently being 357 million £50 notes in circulation, the new launch comes as the use of high-denomination notes, and cash itself, suffer a significant decline.

The Guardian reported – with consumers increasingly going cashless, for million of people it may be months or even years before they see or touch one. Even before the pandemic, many people only rarely encountered a £50 note, and the coronavirus crisis has triggered a slump in the use of cash which could end up being permanent.

The release of the new £50 note marks the completion of the UK’s switch to polymer notes, as well as the first open depiction of a LGBTQ+ figure on a banknote.

During his lifetime, Turing created the breakthrough machine that helped win the Second World War, but was persecuted by the government for his homosexuality, and chemically castrated, before taking his own life in 1954.

But, with a £50 note the going rate for two testicles and winning WW2, what price then the future of cash in the UK?

At Comrie we are regularly seeing a shortage of £1 coins in machines and landlords telling us that lots of their customers are not carrying cash to play the machines. The only way to play a fruit machine in a pub or social club in the UK is by inserting cash, which needs to change to keep up with modern society.

 

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Outrageous Taxes on Pubs and Clubs

Weatherspoon, its customers, and employees have paid £6.1 billion of tax to the government in the last 10 years!

In Wetherspoon’s 2019 financial year, before COVID 19, it generates £764.4 million in tax – about £1 in every £1000 of all UK government taxes. The average tax generated per pub in 2019 was £871,000.

In the financial year ended July 2020, when pubs were closed for a long period, and the company made a substantial loss, £436.7 million of taxes were generated, net of furlough payments.

Of the company’s financial years 2011-20 the taxes amounted to about 42% of every £1 which went “over the bar” net of VAT – about 11 times the company’s profit.

Ben Whitely, Weatherspoon’s Finance Direct said “pub companies pay enormous amounts of tax, but that is not always well understood by the companies themselves since most taxes are hidden in a financial fog.

This data highlights the amount of tax which the company , its customers and employees have generated, highlighting the importance if the hospitality sector to the nation’s finances.

Weatherspoon understand the need for taxes, yet, like the hospitality industry generally, believes that there should be tax equality among supermarkets, pubs, restaurants and similar businesses.

Until recently, supermarkets have paid zero VAT on food sales, whereas pubs, restaurants, and hotels, for example, have paid 20%.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a temporary reduction last summer to 5% VAT for pub and restaurant food sales, but the government intends to revert to 20% this year.

Pubs also pay about 20p a pint in business rates, whereas supermarkets pay only about 2p.

It does seem wrong that dinner parties in Chelsea, for example, pay zero VAT for food bought from supermarkets, when pub customers normally pay 20% VAT for fish and chips.

Weatherspoon’s, concluded “Equality and fairness are important principles of efficient tax regimes, and we urge the government to introduce equality in this area – sensible tax policies will increase investment and government revenues.”

While I am not a massive Weatherspoon’s pub fan, preferring a independent local pub whenever going for a pint. they really are making a good piont of not only the amount of taxes a pub contributes to the governments coffers. Also the unlevel playing field with supermarkets, in comparison to the duty levels. Add to the fact many of the supermarkets got business rates relief during Covid while they were trading their socks off! A few did repay this money but others pocketed the money along with massive profits!!!

Comrie have heard complaints along the lines above from the many pubs and social clubs we hire our fruit machines to and have to agree this needs to be addressed.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Surprise! Surprise! Bookies Get The Nod….

Surprise! Surprise! Licensed Betting Office   ……. Getting preferential treatment?

The not unexpected news to allow high street Licensed Betting Office (LBOs) to trade from April and to kick the interests of the Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) sector down the road – again! Left me with a mix of anger and resignation. Anger because no one in The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) seems to have listened to or noticed what we have done as a sector and resignation because that’s the way it is.

For the benefit of our friends at DCMS let’s take the opportunity to set out the facts. LBO’s like AGCs operate on the high street. Both have small footfalls, neither sell alcohol, they share some customers and provide similar gaming machines with the same number of hard surfaces.

LBOs and AGCs have implemented strict cleaning protocols, under pinned by social distancing clear signage.

Unlike LBOs where staff are often seated behind AGC staff walk the floor, direct customers, police the regulations and clean machines thoroughly before and after each customer has played them. Can anyone anywhere provide a plausible reason why LBOs should be open when AGCs, their neighbours on the high street, remain closed?

My industry has gone way beyond what any other retail sector has done!

Hairdressers and nail bars which involve touching customers – will be open before us which simply does not stack-up.

Is it too much to get a proper grown-up explanation from DCMS to explain why? (The above is from John White BACTA chief executive)

We at Comrie think it is disgraceful to allow one part of the industry to open up a month before all other parts. Amusement arcades, bowling alleys, bingo halls and many other industry’s have been made to wait. We will all miss out on the pent up trading that will follow and another month of losses which is taking its toll on so many businesses!

This stinks of who has the most lobbing power with the government, which in turn means who throws the most money at it…..Bookmakers and on-line gambling have had it there way for far too long. We only have to look how they milked FOBT’s and did not care one bit about the harm they were doing with the high limits. On-line betting and gambling needs a complete overhaul as you can literally lose your home in one evening. Is this protecting and value the interests of the UK public???

Here at Comrie and other fruit machine suppliers, we will all be waiting with bated breath to see how many of our pub and social club customers come out the other end of this enforce longer than needed lock down.

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

The latest analysis by the consumer champion shows a spike in the number of people forced to pay withdraw their own money from cash machines with experts warning that half of Britain’s ATM’s could close within two years.

According to Which? the findings highlight the need for urgent clarity and direction from the government on the role of cash in the future including specific details about how it will ensure that cash continues to be a viable payment method for those that need it.

Since 2018, two Birmingham constituencies have seen 44 and 41 percent reductions in free to use ATMs, but both had a 50 percent increase in pay to use machines.

Nottingham East has seen 43 percent of free cash machines closed but an 11 percent increase in pay to use machines. All three locations are within the top 10 percent for deprivation in England.

The results are particularly concerning as previous research has shown that those in more deprived areas are more likely to use cash. ATM’s are the most commonly used means of withdrawing cash, with UK Finance figures showing that 91 percent of cash withdrawals took place through ATM’s in 2019.

So what does the future hold for our ATM’s? As we have mentioned a few times on this blog, cash is disappearing fast. We are heading to a cashless society, which has many positives! but there are many people who rely on cash and this is usually the old and poorer sections of our community’s. It is sad to see so many banks removing there free to use cash points and seeing them replaced by private pay to use cash points hitting the most needy.

Fruit machines in pubs are not legally allowed to accept card payments to play them, even though the technology is there and ready to go.  Our industry is pushing hard for this as we are one of the few industry’s that card payments are not accepted. Watch this space for when this regulation changes and another step towards our cashless society happens!

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives