A message from our Chief Executive

“As the year draws to a close it’s disappointing that there remains much uncertainty around the pandemic. Although the PM has now confirmed that there will be no further changes to guidance this side of Christmas, the impacts of the current restrictions have already been significant, both professionally and personally for many of us.

The introduction of Plan B restrictions from 10 December had an immediate result in central London, hitting our hospitality, leisure, and retail businesses especially hard in this crucial festive period. Since then, we have lobbied Government to provide clarity, certainty, and additional support to businesses.

You will no doubt have seen that the Chancellor yesterday confirmed some financial help for certain sectors. Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses. Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK. £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

While I welcome this additional support, which I have been calling for in recent days, it is unlikely this new package will go far enough to help all the businesses that are struggling. I know from talking to colleagues in the hospitality sector that they are witnessing a significant fall in bookings and a multi-billion pound loss of trade. The ongoing working from home guidance hits major cities particularly hard, so London is braced for a difficult start to 2022.

Throughout the pandemic, the hospitality and retail sectors have welcomed the Government’s support which has saved thousands of businesses from collapse and protected millions of jobs. In the next few weeks, as we will undoubtedly see the continuing impact of Omicron, I will continue to press policy makers on your behalf, including asking for clarity on the duration of the current working from home guidance and the need for further financial help for the sectors most affected, including business rates relief and reducing VAT.

The BID team will remain vigilant over the festive period and will act swiftly to advise on changes to guidance and the introduction of any further support. Crucially, our focus is already fixed on 2022 and how best your BID can support you. Planning is already underway to salvage the recovery, which had built up good momentum during 2021, and we are determined to work with our business community, neighbouring BIDs and lobbying groups, public sector partners and other stakeholders once again to get London’s recovery back on track.

I am still confident that London can recover and be more resilient, stronger and full of vibrancy once again. Professor Chris Whitty has described the current Omicron variant as something of a ‘hair-pin turn’ and that once around the bend, the nation’s economy should be able to power back to recovery. Businesses have a crucial role to play – it will be your creativity and innovation that will unlock London’s potential – adapting to the new landscape and attracting visitors and investment. The private sector will drive the recovery when it gets going again, creating compelling reasons for people to return to London and even more reasons for them to stay. Let’s use the coming weeks to pause, reflect and recharge our batteries, coming back in 2022 with a renewed focus and desire to overcome the challenges on the horizon and seize the opportunities that undoubtedly exist.”

TfL announces safety ban of e-scooters on transport network

Privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles will not be permitted on any TfL service or premises Ban will come into effect on Monday 13 December
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that all privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles, including those that can be folded or carried, will be banned on London’s transport network from Monday 13 December. This is the result of safety concerns about these items following recent fires on TfL premises & services. Customers in possession of such devices will not be permitted to enter any premises on TfL’s network or travel on any of its services, including on the Tube, buses, Overground, TfL Rail, Trams and DLR. Recently there have been incidents of privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles catching fire whilst on TfL services or infrastructure. In response to these incidents, TfL has undertaken further work to review the safety of the vehicles and their suitability for carriage on the TfL transport network. This review has found that the incidents that occurred were caused by defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning. This led to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released. TfL consider that if this were to happen again and fires occurred in an enclosed area like a Tube train or a bus, there could be significant harm to both customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries from customers trying to escape the area. Whilst privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use in public spaces, they are widely available for purchase. Private e-scooters and e-unicycles are currently unregulated, meaning they are not currently required to meet any minimum vehicle standards. TfL will keep these changes under review pending any future changes to legislation by the Government regarding e-scooters and e-unicycles, specifically around safety standards. TfL is collecting data from the rental e-scooter trials to help shape future policy on safety standards in London and the rest of the UK. TfL’s trial of rental e-scooters, which began in June 2021 as part of trials permitted nationally by the Department for Transport (DfT), offers the only e-scooters legally allowed on London’s roads. Rigorous safety measures are central to the trial, with vehicles that exceed the DfT’s regulatory requirements for trial vehicles and that are considerably more robust than the most common private e-scooters. The safety criteria for the trial were agreed by TfL, London Councils, the participating boroughs and the DfT, as well as with key stakeholder groups and other cities that have previously launched similar trials. These e-scooters are also not currently allowed on TfL services. Lilli Matson, TfL’s Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer, said: “Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and staff. We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage. We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them. Customers who try to bring them onto our network will be refused access to our stations and premises, and not be permitted to use any of our services.” The ban will include all e-scooters and e-unicycles, but does not include mobility scooters that are permitted on the network or foldable e-bikes. E-bikes are generally subject to better manufacturing standards and the batteries are usually positioned in a place where they are less likely to be damaged, and so are less of a fire risk. Non-foldable e-bikes will continue to be allowed on some parts of the network at certain times of the day. More information can be found here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cycles-on-public-transport London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “We have growing concerns about the safety of e-scooters due to the amount of fires we are seeing involving them, so we fully support TfL’s ban of private e-scooters on public transport. “Fires are dangerous and terrifying wherever they happen, but a fire on the transport network has the potential to become very serious very quickly and involve hundreds of people, particularly on trains where evacuation may be challenging, so anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is a positive step.” TfL staff will engage with customers to remind them of the ban. TfL’s 500 uniformed enforcement officers and its police partners will be deployed across the transport network ensuring that customers comply. Anybody who does not comply may be refused entry, directed to leave the network or face a fine of up to £1,000. The Metropolitan Police has also appealed to retailers to be responsible in selling e-scooters, and has reminded Londoners that the use of privately-owned e-scooter and e-unicycles on public roads, cycleways and highways is illegal. British Transport Police Superintendent, Lisa Garrett, said: “Our priority is the safety of passengers and the staff members working across Transport for London services. We’ll be working alongside frontline staff to engage with the public on this issue, and enforce where necessary.”

A message from Chief Executive, Ruth Duston – Omicron Variant

The festive season is here and while the new Omicron variant brings some fresh uncertainty, it’s still thrilling to see our business community and visitors enjoying the build up to Christmas. Restaurants, hotels, shops and theatres are busy, and we are hopeful that the Government’s fast-tracked booster programme will help us get on top of the new variant and keep the recovery moving in the right direction. Our work to support our business community is ongoing, not least with the unveiling our beautiful festive lights and installations across the BID footprints in recent weeks. I hope that we can enjoy the coming weeks with friends, family and colleagues safely – London comes into its own at Christmas and it’s great to see the streets alive with buzz and vibrancy.

We continue to press Government to provide greater clarity on the new COVID restrictions and guidance, and on other big issues such as the climate crisis, Brexit and of course the levelling up agenda.

December kicked off with a dinner we hosted at Two Temple Place for Centre for London, ahead of its annual conference. Levelling up and securing London’s position as the UK’s only global city was the focus for the evening, and it was great to hear from Henri Murison, the Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Levelling up is not a zero-sum game. We must think about the challenges we face holistically, allocating resources based on need and not geography. Collaborative working between regions, businesses and policy makers is vital if we are to emerge from the pandemic stronger and on a steady footing for growth. In the coming months I want to champion this more collegiate approach between London and other major cities and regions for the mutual benefit of us all.

So, 2022 is already shaping up to be a busy year – COVID recovery remains a key priority but there are other issues we are determined to tackle too, to ensure we can continue to create the optimum environment for business growth. I am looking forward to what we can achieve together next year. For now though, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a happy and healthy new year for all of us.

Festive Food and Drink

Festive offers in The Northbank

The Pandemic lead to many of our hospitality businesses having to close, and change their way of operating to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors. After 18 months, of do-it-yourself kits, most venues have reopened successfully with tourists and local trade happy to visit. This Christmas, take a look at the various festive offers available in The Northbank and be sure to pay a visit.

Festive Menus

The Winter Garden at The Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Pl, London SW1A 2BD

Step into a wintery haven in the heart of London: The Garden will be transformed into a wondrous winter terrace. Twinkle lights, roaring fireplaces, sheep wools and alpaca blankets create a warming ambience.

The cosy-chic feeling is complemented by an alpine inspired menu curated by Executive Chef André Garret.

Ole & Steen, 351-353 Strand, London WC2R 0HS

Their much-loved Turkey Roastie Toastie is back – focaccia filled with roast turkey, pork and apple stuffing, tarragon mayo, cranberry sauce, Cheddar and spinach. That’ll certainly have you feeling toastie in no time.

And their vegan alternative… Say Hej to our brand new Merry Squash-mas toastie – focaccia filled with roasted squash, vegan stuffing, vegan tarragon mayo, cranberry sauce, caramelised onion, Violife cheese and spinach.

Or maybe it’s just their Frosted Mint Hot Chocolate… Hot chocolate mixed with peppermint syrup, topped with vanilla whipped cream and gold dust. Yes please.

Frankie and Benny’s, 355-357 Strand, London WC2R 0HR

Indulge in their set menu with 2 courses for £16.90 and 3 courses for £18.90. Think Brie & Cranberry Burger or perhaps our festive spin on a classic hot dog – followed by their famous Bailey’s chocolate cheesecake.

Thirsty? Their Fairytale of New York cocktail is the perfect start to your evening. Rhubarb and ginger gin meets cranberry juice, prosecco, and just a hint of cinnamon. Cheers to that!

The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ

Their chefs have devised some truly inspiring menus, full of the festive treats we look forward too all year long.

You will be spoilt for choice this festive season at The Savoy, with a delicious range of dining options from the relaxed and informal to true indulgence!

Their Christmas Day menu in Thames Foyer will be opulent and delicious, while we will be offering a tasty three-course Supper Club menu in the evenings in Thames Foyer from 15th November 2021 to the 2nd January 2022. Needless to say, Savoy Grill and The River Restaurant will offer equally appetising menus for the festive celebrations.

In the Beaufort Bar they will have a sophisticated choice of canapes and appetisers if you are looking for something delicious but a little different, while of course there is always the choice of luxuriating in your room or suite and enjoying their superb in-room dining for the ultimate in relaxed dining.

Frog by Adam Handling Festive Menu, 34-35 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HG

Prepare yourselves for some festive feasting at our flagship restaurant, Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden.

Opt for one of the festive dishes from our a la carte menu, such as turkey, stuffing black garlic and their Christmas pudding, brandy parfait, vanilla or, if you’re looking to take indulgence to the next level, their decadent tasting menu is the one for you.

Zizzi, 73 Strand, London WC2R 0DE

Let’s get merry with it! This Christmas Zizzi are bringing you three festive special guests. From their festive twist on the Rustica pizza, topped with pulled wild boar, to our Rum Baba (that’s a cake drenched in rum syrup to you and me), they’ve got food that’s fit for a feast. Why not try their Spiced Pomegranate festive drink that can be served as a softail, cocktail or spritz. Yum!

Pizza Express, 450 Strand, London WC2R 0RG

Celebrate with their 5-course tasting menu

Book your table for Christmas today. Whether it’s a date night, mate night, or your office.

5 courses from £24.95 per person, minimum of 2 people – a social festive feast, showcasing the very best of PizzaExpress, combining some classics and exciting new dishes.

For some festive sparkle, add a drinks pairing, from £9.95. Kick off with our famous Dough Balls and Prosecco. Pair your pizza with a crisp, chilled glass of Picpoul or a refreshing Peroni. And enjoy your dessert with an Italian classic Limoncello!

Contact your local restaurant for specific pricing.

Bella Italia, 65 Strand, London WC2N 5LR

Have a very berry Bella Christmas.

Join Bella Italia this Christmas for a fantastic Italian feast. Enjoy two or three courses of delicious favourites, including Bruschetta, Carbonara or our special Christmas pizza with béchamel sauce, roast pulled pork, mozzarella, pancetta & cranberry.

Pizza Hut, 56/59 Strand, London WC2N 5LR

Sleigh it this Christmas with their Xmas Meal Deal.

Get a Main, Side, Salad & Drink all for £16.99!

Afternoon Teas

The Savoy, Strand, London , WC2R 0EZ

Special at any time of the year, Afternoon Tea at The Savoy becomes even more magical during the festive season.

Their delicate patisserie is full of festive flavours, in pretty designs that reflect the starlit setting of Thames Foyer. It is served with featherlight scones, tasty sandwiches made with wonderful seasonal ingredients and the finest teas selected by their expert team. Afternoon Tea at The Savoy experienced at Christmas time will surely create memories to treasure for years to come.

Waldorf Hilton Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD

Join the iconic Waldorf Hilton for our festive themed afternoon tea. An exciting twist on our signature offering. 🥂🍰🍬🎀 Guests will be welcomed with a magical sugarplum mist, filling the table and preparing your senses for a theatrical twist on The Waldorf Hilton’s afternoon tea experience. Start your journey with an amuse bouche that changes before your eyes, leading into a colourful twist on some of The Waldorf’s favourites.

Festive Cocktails

Christmas at Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration, 1a Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9HH

Christmastide is fast approaching, and Phileas J. Fogg, Esq. shall be hosting a magnificent multitude of festivities, transporting you back to Christmas 1883! Enjoy award-winning cocktails for your festive soirées, or delight in a unique range of experiences such as hearty lunches, gin-packed adventures and an afternoon tipsy tea. Decked with a marvellous array of mistletoe, garlands and twinkling lights, immerse yourself in a plethora of jovial celebrations this Christmas across the Mr Fogg’s Collection.

Limited edition Hotel Chocolat Christmas cocktails at All Bar One

All Bar One have collaborated with Hotel Chocolat to create an exclusive cocktail menu that’s every chocolate and cocktail lover’s dream. Available from 16th November, the brand-new limited-edition range of Instagrammable cocktails are crafted using Hotel Chocolat’s delicious velvetised creams. Choose between four luxurious flavours – Chocolat Martini, Midnight Tiramisu, Clementine Chocolat Martini and Mint Royale, from just £9.95 each. Visit All Bar One Charing Cross to try the menu.