David Parkin on why Brexit doesn’t suit everyone, saying goodbye to blue chip bankers and a date with Miss World

David Parkin on why Brexit doesn’t suit everyone, saying goodbye to blue chip bankers and a date with Miss World

WHEN a successful entrepreneur confides in you that watching Leeds United is “enjoyable” then you realise how tough his day job must be proving. I called in for a cup of tea with Simon Berwin, the fourth generation of the family tailoring business Berwin & Berwin, founded back in 1885. He’d seen last week’s comments by Eversheds lawyer Robin Johnson about the challenges of Brexit. “I’ve just spent nine days in Asia trying to explain it to our suppliers,” said Simon, with what I detected was a hint of exasperation, as he sat across the boardroom table beside racks of its Lambretta, Paul Costelloe, Baumler and Daniel Hechter branded suits. Given that his firm pays in dollars the collapse in the value of the pound against the dollar as well as most other currencies, has provided another challenge in an already  tough market place. Travelling from Hong Kong to China and Vietnam, Simon said the suppliers who make the suits that his Leeds-based business provides to customers such as John Lewis, House of Fraser and Next, all share the same views. “Their attitude is that they will trade with other European countries that haven’t done something stupid like this [voting to leave the European Union].” And the double whammy is that there is little chance of passing on the costs to customers. “The retailers we sell to are saying that we have to absorb some of the margin loss,” he told me. And all of this comes after Berwin & Berwin lost one of its large customers when Austin Reed collapsed into administration earlier this year. “We had a...
David Parkin on Yorkshire’s Finest, Brexit bother and a 21st century play problem

David Parkin on Yorkshire’s Finest, Brexit bother and a 21st century play problem

I LEFT Eversheds’ Leeds office suitably inspired the other day after hosting their Yorkshire’s Finest event. A celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink, white rose bunting adorned the law firm’s glass atrium in Bridgewater Place, Yorkshire’s tallest building. And the Yorkshire’s Finest theme didn’t just apply to the refreshments – it equally applied to all of the guests, who represented some of the most creative and successful companies and organisations from across the region. It also was a fitting description for the panel of speakers: Sir Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire, Mark Arthur, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council and Ron McMillan, chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire and a non-executive director for stock market groups such as N Brown, B&M, 888 Holdings and SCS. Sir Gary joined us straight from Paris where he had been at the announcement of the host city for the Tour de France’s Grand Depart next year. I got the impression he didn’t think Dussseldorf will be able to offer what Yorkshire did so impressively. And, fresh from securing the cycling Road World Championships for Yorkshire in 2019, he is supremely confident Le Grand Depart will be back here soon. Chatting to him before the event, he was telling me about his experience out in Qatar, where this year’s Road World Championships were held and where the Yorkshire 2019 announcement was made. He confirmed the lack of spectators out in Doha, but said the infrastructure that Qatar has put in place to enable it to secure prestigious sporting events, such as...
David Parkin on more cycling success, creating a vibrant economy and a cure for killer clowns

David Parkin on more cycling success, creating a vibrant economy and a cure for killer clowns

IF anyone was in any doubt that hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France would help deliver a serious cycling legacy in Yorkshire, then this week’s announcement that the 2019 Road World Championships will be held in the region probably dispels those doubts. The annual competition, which features around 1,000 cyclists from 75 countries, has only been held four times before in Britain since it started in 1921, the last time was in 1982. Delivering the “grandest of Grand Departs” and two subsequent successful Tours de Yorkshire means that cycling chiefs from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) can be confident that Welcome to Yorkshire and its partners don’t offer so much as a safe pair of hands for the event, more like mitts encased in spangly gloves doing a jazz hands dance. They have won the right to host what will be the biggest sporting event in Britain in 2019. From recent conversations with senior figures at the regional tourism body, I got the impression they were pretty confident they were in with a strong shout to win the event. A delegation travelled to Qatar for the announcement this week, made during the current Road World Championships being held in Doha. And while the 1,000 racers are backed up by almost 6,000 additional participants – from national federations, delegations, technicians and journalists – there has been a poor turnout of fans to watch the event which has taken place in temperatures pushing 40C. One leading competitor, Dutch Olympic silver medallist, Tom Dumoulin, having seen a sign for a ‘spectator entrance’, described it as “hilarious”, adding: “There are...
David Parkin avoids telling porkies, remembers a football great and finds his inner gangster

David Parkin avoids telling porkies, remembers a football great and finds his inner gangster

IT is never a good thing when you receive an email from a company which begins with the words: “We’ve been sent your blog by our solicitors”. Deep intake of breath. Having avoided the threat of litigation from Ken Bates when he was chairman of Leeds United, I don’t really want to start answering to m’learned friends now. Fortunately the statement was followed with “Nothing legal, they’d just spotted our name.” The email was from Richard Brown at Vale of Mowbray Pork Pies, who I had mentioned last week as they had been a sponsor of the fantastic Yorkshire’s Rio Heroes parade of Olympians and Paralympians in Leeds. I had observed that Vale of Mowbray sounds like a business which hails from the pork pie capital of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, but apparently they have been “Baked in Yorkshire since 1928”. Thanks to Richard I am now much more of an expert on the Vale of Mowbray and its pork pies. The picture above shows the City of Leeds Pipe Band enjoying Vale of Mowbray Pork Pies at the parade. What a quintessentially Yorkshire image. “We have indeed been baking delicious Pork Pies here in Leeming Bar for the last 80 odd years, in fact the site we are on started out as the Vale of Mowbray brewery back in 1795. We’ve now stopped brewing beer to focus on baking the best Pork Pies in Yorkshire, but we are very proud to be associated with two quintessentially English products – a pie and a pint,” he told me. “Although we do share part of our name with that lot...