The Spectator

Is any song more lucrative than ‘Happy Birthday’?

Is any song more lucrative than ‘Happy Birthday’?
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The new tier restrictions have made life difficult for pubs. How many are closed?

— According to the British Beer and Pub Association, 16,500 of England’s 37,000 pubs have had to close for everything except takeaway owing to their being in Tier 3 areas.

— Of the 21,000 pubs in Tier 2 areas, 14,000 have had to remain closed because they are unviable if they can’t serve drinkers without also serving a substantial meal.

— That leaves 732 pubs in Tier 1 areas which can open more or less as normal.

— The number of pubs has fallen by 22 per cent this century. However, 2019 saw the first year-on-year rise, with a net gain of 320 pubs across the country.

Payback – or not

Banks were reported to be trying to end a voluntary agreement made last year to refund more victims of ‘push-payment’ fraud, whereby customers are tricked into making a payment to fraudsters. Did the agreement actually result in more people being refunded — or dissuade fraudsters?

2018 | 2019

No. of payments | 123,657 | 185,449

Amount lost | £354m | £456m

Amount refunded | £83m | £116m

Off the scale

Bob Dylan sold his back catalogue of 600 songs to Universal Music for a reported $300 million. Which songs have earned the most royalties in history?

‘Happy Birthday’ (Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill) | £37m

‘White Christmas’ (Irving Berlin) | £27m

‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector) | £24m

‘Yesterday’ (Paul McCartney) | £23m

‘Unchained Melody’ (Alex North and Hy Zaret) | £21m

Family matters

What is often claimed to be Britain’s largest household, Sue and Noel Radford of Morecambe, their 19 children and one grandchild, were reported to be self-isolating after one tested positive for Covid. How common are large families?

— In 2019 the ONS counted 597,000 households of six people or more — up from 469,000 20 years ago.

— The government’s biggest nightmare would be that the Radfords took advantage of the three-household rule to spend Christmas with the Bretts of Dingwall (all 13 of them) and the Lewises of Bournemouth (again, 13 of them) for a legal gathering of 48.