Pub operator JD Wetherspoon is launching its own reduced prices scheme after the end of the Government's Eat Out to Help Out initiative.

The move will see prices on a range of meals and drinks reduced from Monday to Wednesday until November 11.

The cheaper prices will start on Tuesday, following the end of the Government's drive to encourage people to eat out by subsidising meals during August.

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Wetherspoon said prices on some of its meals and drinks will be cheaper than those available in takeaways.

Chairman Tim Martin said: "The Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme was extremely popular with our customers and a great boost to the hospitality industry.

"We are keen to offer our customers a superb choice of food and drink at great value for money prices.

"Our offer means that a classic beef burger in our pubs will be even better value than McDonald's."

The chief of recruitment giant Hays has said there will be no "turning our back on the office", and insisted employees will return to their workplaces once Covid-19 fears ease.

Chief executive Alistair Cox said full-time home working was unlikely to become permanent as lockdown restrictions ease and companies return to full capacity.

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But the number and location of offices will change, as will the balance of remote and office-based working as the pandemic leaves lasting changes in the corporate world, he added.

It comes after a raft of technology firms - such as Twitter and Fujitsu - have given staff the option of working remotely permanently, with the likes of Facebook and Microsoft keeping home and flexible working in place into 2021.

Investment bank JPMorgan and City firm Linklaters also recently shocked the square mile by announcing the end of permanent office working, by allowing staff to work from home part-time indefinitely.

Mr Cox said firms switching to permanent remote working were still "in the minority at the moment".

He said: "We're not turning our back on the office.

"I don't think it's going to be a permanent thing - over time, people will start returning back to the office."

His comments came after CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn urged the Government to lead firms in getting staff back to the workplace, warning commercial centres risked becoming "ghost towns".

She said that returning employees to offices was as important as getting pupils back to schools.

Mr Cox said while the "eco-system that survives around office workers is facing its challenges", it will only be a temporary issue.

Hays already has around 80% of its offices reopen worldwide, although just under a third of its office space can be used at any one time due to social-distancing requirements.

Mr Cox said: "There's a big difference between writing code remotely versus having a more social communications role, like in sales-forces," he said.

"We can do a lot remotely, but there's some aspects, particularly around culture and team building where, frankly, you can't find a way of creating that effectively without bringing people together.

"I can't see us moving to a world where offices aren't required," he said.
But many workers still have their reservations about returning to offices and using public transport amid the pandemic.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for more action on transport safety and an effective test and trace system before widespread returns to office working.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "People hoping to get back to the office soon should not be put at risk from unsafe commutes, or workplaces that are not safely adapted."

Over-50s made up almost half of all self-employed workers last year, a study suggests.

The total of more than 2.2 million is set to increase significantly this year, according to jobs and advice site Rest Less.

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Its analysis showed that in 2019, there were just under five million self-employed workers in the UK, of which 2.26 million were aged over 50.

In a poll of its job-seeking members on their attitudes to self-employment, Rest Less said it found that half of respondents said they were considering self-employment, either out of choice or necessity.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said: "Whilst many older workers have freed themselves from the shackles of permanent employment to fulfil an entrepreneurial ambition, to work flexibly or to pursue a passion project, there is another side to the self-employment statistics, particularly post-Covid-19.

"Many over-50s already find themselves at the back of the jobs queue, for no reason other than their age, and this is only going to get worse as unemployment levels rise post-pandemic.

"Our analysis has shown that the number of over-50s claiming Universal Credit has already soared by 93% since the beginning of this year.

"Some will have no choice but to take early retirement, some will be forced on to benefits for the first time, whilst others will try to make ends meet through self-employment, where they can use their hard-earned skills without worrying about age discrimination in the recruitment process."

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