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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, August 7

The ongoing coronavirus situation is changing by the hour with announcements being made about businesses and services that are being forced to adapt and change.

Punchline is committed to trying to keep you up to date with all the news that matters to you and your business.

Our team will update this story throughout the day, to ensure that the latest important developments can be found in one - clickbait free - place.

If you or your business has any news, views or advice to share with the Gloucestershire business community, get in touch with Punchline team at news@moosemarketingandpr.co.uk.

Friday, August 7

Update #1199 - 17.13 Popular Cheltenham pub rebrands

The Gloucester Old Spot in Cheltenham has earned a reputation for its great food and drink, not to mention its history.

And the Tewkesbury Road free house has revealed a rebrand to reinforce its values and identify itself as one of the leading pubs in the region.

Fitting its new brand name - The Gloucestershire Food Pub - the business is looking to evolve what it offers to encompass everything that is great about the county's larder.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1198 - 16.40 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 98

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 98 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (August 6).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 46,511 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Across the UK, 871 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours, with a total of 309,005 positive cases since the outbreak began (as of 9am this morning). 

Update #1197 - 16.32 Gloucestershire's latest coronavirus mobile testing unit locations

An important part of managing any future spread of COVID-19 is the speed at which people can be tested and isolation measures put in place, should an outbreak occur.

In addition to the regional testing centre at Hempstead Meadow in Gloucester which offers around 700 tests a day, a mobile testing unit also visits other sites around the county.

FIND OUT THE LATEST LOCATIONS  

Update #1196 - 16.30 Jigsaw could be next missing piece on Cheltenham Promenade

Cheltenham's beleaguered Promenade could be facing another blow with fashion retailer Jigsaw close to launching a CVA.

The move could lead to the closure of shops with two Jigsaw outlets in Gloucestershire on the Promenade and in Tetbury.

Any closure would be another major blow to the shopping area which has seen the likes of Gap, Jack Wills, LK Bennetter, Coast and Cafe Rouge while the future of Bella Italia remains uncertain after its owners Casual Dining Group was bought out of administration by private equity firm Epiris.

READ MORE 

Update #1195 - 14.35 £2 million loss for Joules

Fashion retailer Joules has swung to a loss in its full year results, as the coronavirus crisis continues to hit sales.

Joules, which has stores in Cheltenham, Cirencester and Gloucester Quays, recorded a pre-tax loss of £2 million for the 53 weeks to 31st May, compared with a £12.9 million profit for 2018-19.

The company said the loss was due to both the COVID-19 lockdown and issues around stock availability during the Christmas trading period.

SEE MORE 

Update #1194 - 11.48 Increase in post-lockdown demand for affordable housing

Newent-based housing association Two Rivers Housing has seen a surge in demand for affordable homes across the county since lockdown restrictions eased earlier this year.

The news comes as the National Housing Federation (NHF) launches its Homes at the Heart of a stronger economy campaign, which seeks to highlight how investment in social housing can boost the economy, drive employment and support local and national growth.

According to the NHF, the UK needs to build 90,000 new social rented homes a year to prevent homelessness and tackle overcrowding and poverty, which would boost the UK economy by £4.8 billion and create 86,000 jobs across the UK.

READ MORE 

Update #1193 - 11.11 Energy prices capped at new low

Energy bills are to fall for households around the country after the regulator Ofgem reduced its cap on energy bills to a new low

Ofgem has set its price cap at £1,042 a year for an average household from October, a drop of £84 on a standard tariff and £95 for pre-payment meters.

The cut is expected to benefit around 15 million households.

Ofgem said the reduction is due to a fall in wholesale gas prices following a slump in demand during the coronavirus lockdown.

A spokesman said: "The COVID-19 crisis has depressed energy demand although wholesale gas prices have started to recover since hitting 20-year lows in the spring."

Update #1192 - 11.08 'Hardship ahead' warns Chancellor

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has admitted hard times lie ahead for furloughed workers, but says it would not be fair to extend the scheme.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Sunak said: "If you look at it from the start to finish, the Government will have been stepping in to help pay people's wages for almost eight months - an extraordinarily long period of time.

"I think most reasonable people would look at that and say that's not something that's obviously sustainable in the long run."

He continued: "I don't think it's fair to extend indefinitely. It's not fair to the people on it. We shouldn't pretend there is, in every case, a job to go back to.

"This is what we need to do now, it's to look forward, provide the opportunities for tomorrow. Yes, there is hardship ahead for many people, we know that, but they shouldn't be left without hope."

Update #1191 - 11.06 Black Friday for British Airways crew

British Airways cabin crew are expected to discover whether they are being made redundant today on what has been dubbed Black Friday by unions.

Of those who remain with the airline, many face pay cuts and changes to their terms and conditions with engineers, ground crew and office staff due to hear their fate over the next few days.

British Airways, which lost more than £700million in the three months to the end of June, said more than 6,000 staff have applied for voluntary redundancy.

Update #1190 - 10.25 Cheltenham marking VJ Day with ceremony

Cheltenham will mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day and the end of the Second World War with a short ceremony at the town's war memorial.

The ceremony, led by Rev Clare Dyson, will take place at the memorial outside the Municipal Buildings in the Promenade at 11am on Saturday, August 15 - the anniversary of Japan's surrender which ended the conflict in 1945.

Councillor Roger Whyborn, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, will attend along with chief executive Gareth Edmundson and Bernard Fisher, president of the Royal British Legion's Cheltenham branch, with chairman and standard bearer Roy Roberts.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1189 - 08.25 Update on new coronavirus cases in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released new data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county has risen to 1,891 as of 4.21pm on August 6 .

Figures show that the area with the largest number of positive cases remains to be Gloucester with 543 cases since the outbreak began. 

Information released on Thursday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire remains at 229.

Of these deaths, 194 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 35 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Thursday, August 6

Update #1188 - 17.08 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 49

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 49 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (August 5).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 46,413 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Across the UK, 950 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours, with a total of 308,134 positive cases since the outbreak began (as of 9am this morning).

Update #1187 - 16.01 Gloucester looks for views on city's green spaces

Gloucester City Council is asking for people's views on the future of the city's parks and open spaces.

The consultation covers the council's draft Open Spaces Strategy which sets out ambitions for more than 200 areas of public open space across the city for the next five years.

Among the areas covered are green spaces, allotments, cemeteries, Robinswood Hill Country Park and Alney Island Nature Reserve.

READ MORE 

Update #1186 - 15.51 Smaller recession, longer recovery predicts Bank of England

The Bank of England has kept interest rates at 0.1 per cent amid predictions that the UK's economic slump may not be as bad as first feared.

But it says that recovery will take longer than forecast and warned about rising unemployment figures.

Governor Andrew Bailey said consumer spending was showing signs of improving with food spending and energy bills above pre-coronavirus levels.

He said: "We have had a strong recovery in the last few months. The pace puts the economy ahead of where we thought it would be in May."

SEE MORE 

Update #1185 - 15.23 Drop in production hits Delphi revenue

Delphi Technologies has revealed an operating loss of $60million in the second quarter.

It compares to an income of $56million the previous year as revenue fell by 44 per cent in the second quarter to $628million.

Delphi, which has a factory in Stonehouse, said much of the loss was down to reduced global production and the closure of customer site during the coronavirus pandemic, together with the trend away from car diesel fuel injection systems in Europe.

READ MORE  

Update #1184 - 13.15 Fair puts jobs at heart of economic recovery

Firms and organisations across the area are supporting an event organised by Gloucester MP Richard Graham to tackle the biggest issue facing the area following the pandemic - jobs.

Mr Graham is hosting the Gloucestershire Jobs, Skills and Apprenticeships Lift Off at Kingsholm on Friday, September 11.

Among those sponsoring the event are Gloucestershire College, University of Gloucestershire, Western Power Distribution, EDF Energy, Jobcentre Plus, Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst LEP, Spirax Sarco and Glos Jobs.

Punchline-Gloucester.com is backing the event along with the county's other five MPs.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1183 - 13.00 Nine Gloucestershire schools to share more than £2.4m for upgrading facilities

A total of 69 schools across the South West will benefit from £22.5million to improve facilities - with more than £2.4million allocated to Gloucestershire.

The money pot is part of a larger £560million sum announced by Boris Johnson last month as part of his New Deal for Britain, to help the nation bounce back from coronavirus by investing in infrastructure and skills and creating jobs.

Funding will be used to repair and upgrade school facilities and create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces that meet schools' needs. It also allows for a small number of expansion projects to increase school capacity.

READ MORE 

Update #1182 - 11.53 Wetherspoon calling time on office jobs

Pub chain Wetherspoon is to cut up to 130 head office staff.

Between 110 and 130 office roles are likely to go among 417 office staff due to a drop in trade and the scaling back of expansion plans.

The company says staff in its 873 pubs will not be affected by the cuts.

Chief executive John Hutson said: The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally, a reduction in the company's rate of expansion and a reduction in the number of pubs operated from 955 in 2015.

"The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required."

Update #1181 - 10.59 One in three workers back in the office

Just over a third of office workers in the UK have returned to their desks as coronavirus restrictions are lifted - much slower than their European counterparts.

Figures from US bank Morgan Stanley's research unit AlphaWise showed 34 per cent of white collar employees are back in the office in the UK, compared with 68 per cent across France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

France leads the way with 83 per cent of office staff have returned.

The survey showed 52 per cent of all UK workers were back in their normal workplace when it was compiled in mid-July, compared with 72 per cent across the major European economies.

Update #1180 - 10.56 Slow return to high streets

Footfall in the UK's high street rose by almost a fifth during July, but was still down by more than 40 per cent on last year.

Figures in from data provider Springboard showed that the reopening of hospitality venues had helped increase numbers on the previous month.

But across all retail destinations, the figures across the four weeks dropped by 39.4 per cent on the same time last year.

The biggest drop was seen in high streets which were down 47.2 per cent with shopping centres down 42 per cent and retail parks 19.9 per cent.

The impact of mandatory face covering on figures is yet to be felt as the change was made towards the end of the period covered.

Update #1179 - 08.25 Longest period without new COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire since February 

Public Health England has released new data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county stands at 1,883 as of 5pm on August 5 - no change for four days.

Figures show that the area with the largest number of positive cases remains to be Gloucester with 541 cases since the outbreak began.

Information released on Wednesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire remains at 229.

Of these deaths, 194 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 35 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Wednesday, August 5

Update #1178 - 17.12 Perfect timing to help apprentices launch careers

Gloucestershire College is encouraging employers to back local talent and take advantage of new programmes and incentive payments of up to £3,000 to recruit apprentices in September.

With more than 45 programmes covering skills from construction and carpentry to hairdressing, HR and healthcare, the college has a pool of candidates looking to take the first step in their careers.

Employers large and small can achieve measurable benefit from apprentices in the shape of increased productivity, improved staff retention, motivation and morale, business growth and development while keeping costs down and filled skill gaps.

SEE MORE 

Update #1177 - 16.48 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 65

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 65 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (August 4).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 46,364 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 307,184 people have tested positive for the virus, as of 9am this morning (August 5).

Update #1176 - 15.32 Pubs fighting for survival month after reopening

More than a third of pubs across the UK are struggling to break even - a month after they were first allowed to start reopening.

And a quarter of their brewing and pub sector felt their business was not sustainable beyond the end of March at current levels.

The figures come from a survey by the British Beer & Pub Association which showed 37 per cent of pubs cannot break even.

Pubs reopened from July 4 in England with staggered openings elsewhere in the UK, culminating with inside opening in Wales this week.

SEE MORE 

Update #1175 - 15.30 William Hill to close over 100 betting shops

William Hill says 119 of its betting shops won't reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.

The company, which has 1,500 UK outlets, including several in Cheltenham and Gloucester, doesn't expect to have as many customers as it had before the pandemic, as reported by the BBC.

Around 300 staff have been affected, most of whom have been redeployed.

READ MORE 

Update #1174 - 11.54 River Island flowing towards administration

Fashion retailer River Island is believed to be considering a CVA or entering another form of administration.

The retailer, which has outlets in Gloucester and Cheltenham, is looking at closing shops and negotiating reduced rents, according to Retail Week.

Last month the company announced it was making 250 head office staff redundant as part of cost-cutting measures.

READ MORE 

Update #1173 - 11.52 Waitrose rolls out drive-through order collection service

The supermarket has began opening drive-through online order collection points across many of its stores, which will enable shoppers to collect items without entering the store.

A trial drive-through opened at its Cheltenham store in March and the roll-out continues with stores in Southend, Salisbury, Wolverhampton and Lincoln now following.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1172 - 11.30 WHSmith cutting up to 1,500 jobs

WHSmith has become the latest high street name to announce job losses after announcing a 57 per cent drop in revenue in July compared with last year.

The retailer said up to 1,500 jobs could go.

Much of the losses came from the company's travel outlets while takings in shops at airports and railway stations have also been hit hard with the sharp decline in passenger numbers during the coronavirus numbers.

Business in high street shops was 25 per cent down year on year in July - compared with a drop of 71 per cent in April.

READ MORE 

Update #1171 - 11.00 Car sales rise for first time this year

Registrations of new cars in the UK rose for the first time this year during July - the first full month dealerships were open since February.

Figures from the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders said 174,887 cars were registered during the month, up 11.3 per cent on the same month last year and the first increase since December.

But SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes stressed the market remained fragile with registrations for the year expected to be down 30 per cent from last year.

He said: "We must be cautious, there is still much uncertainty about the future.

"The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery."

Update #1170 - 10.55 Redundancy advice calls almost triple

Requests for redundancy advice soared throughout June and July as the phasing out of the Government's furlough scheme approached.

WHSmith and William Hill today became the latest big names to announce plans to cut jobs amid a raft of redundancies and conciliation service Acas said it has been inundated with calls to it helpline.

Calls rose by 170 per cent across the the last two months, rising from more than 12,000 a year ago to above 33,000.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews told the BBC: "At the moment, nearly a third of calls to our helpline are redundancy-related.

"The economic impact of coronavirus, alongside fears around the furlough scheme tapering off, has left many employers and their staff concerned about their future livelihoods."

Update #1169 - 08.25 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated figures released on Tuesday show the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 46,299 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 89 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 229 according to figures released by NHS England on Sunday - no increase for more than a week.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 194 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 1,883 as of Tuesday afternoon.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 541 cases

Cheltenham - 437 cases

Stroud - 269 cases

Tewkesbury - 258 cases

Cotswolds - 212 cases

Forest of Dean - 166 cases

Tuesday, August 4

Update #1168 - 17.08 Gloucestershire strives to be greenest constabulary in the country as part of OPCC Crime Plan

New methods of working brought about by the coronavirus pandemic are reinforcing Gloucestershire's reputation as the greenest constabulary in the country.

And this is set to continue across the force with increased working from home, less printing and online technology replacing the need to travel miles to meetings.

These are all measures that will feature prominently in the Police and Crime commissioner Martin Surl's new-look Police and Crime Plan.

The blueprint for how he wants the constabulary to operate is close to being completed and will be available later in the year.

SEE MORE 

Update #1167 - 16.57 Test and tracing needed to increase confidence

The Federation of Small Businesses has again called on the Government to keep supporting its members as they bid to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

And its chairman Mike Cherry warned that a "world-beating test-and-trace system" is needed to spark the economy back into full life.

Latest government figures show 9.6 million jobs have been furloughed through the Job Retention Scheme with 2.7 million claims have been made through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Just under 1.4 million application have been made for a bounce back loan with more than 1.1 million facilities approved.

READ MORE 

Update #1166 - 16.34 M&Co to close 50 stores

Fashion chain M&Co, one of Scotland's biggest family-owned retailers, is the latest in a string of high street brands to call in administrators as a result of coronavirus crisis.

The retailer, which has stores in Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Stroud, is close to a pre-pack insolvency deal, which will see its assets sold back to the McGeoch family, which founded the business in 1961 and has owned it ever since. 

READ MORE 

Update #1165 - 15.11 Dixons Carphone cutting 800 jobs

Dixons Carphone, the owner of Currys PC World, are to cut 800 jobs as part of a restructuring of in-store management.

The company closed its 531 Carphone Warehouse shops before lockdown, shifting mobile phone sales to Currys PC World outlets.

Rising online sales are thought to be behind the changes.

Chief operating officer Mark Allsop said: "We'll do everything possible to look after those colleagues we can't find new roles for, financially and otherwise."

Update #1164 - 13.17 Majority of hospitality businesses embracing Eat Out to Help Out 

Large numbers of hospitality businesses across the country are taking part in the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which began yesterday.

Eat Out to Help Out gives customers a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per diner, Monday to Wednesday throughout August.

A survey conducted by trade body UKHospitality found that 84 per cent of businesses surveyed are taking part in the scheme, with more than half of businesses planning on rolling out the scheme across all their venues.

READ MORE 

Update #1163 - 12.15 Gloucestershire projects share £11.3m to get building

Five infrastructure projects across Gloucestershire will share £11.3million as part of the Government's £900million Getting Building Fund.

The cyber and digital sectors feature heavily in the projects which are expected to create and protect more than 1,000 jobs.

The funding was  secured and distributed via Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership GFirst LEP which worked with public, private and voluntary sectors to submit bids that were 'shovel ready', would create jobs, aid recovery and support the green agenda.

The five projects in Gloucestershire that will receive funding are:

  • The Minster Innovation Exchange (Cheltenham Borough Council and Hub8) - £3.1million
  • The Gloucestershire Applied Digital Skills Centre (Cirencester College) - £4.48million
  • Cyber Incubation Units (Gloucestershire College) - £950,000
  • The Digital Innovation Farm (Hartpury University) - £1.25million
  • A Construction Education Centre (KW Bell Group Ltd) - £1.96million

READ MORE 

Update #1162 - 10.48 Babcock postpones dividend as profits fall

Engineering company Babcock International saw underlying profits fall by around 40 per cent in the first quarter of the financial year.

And the firm, which has bases in Staverton and Tewkesbury, will not be paying a final dividend for the last financial year.

Babcock, which mainly works in defence and civil nuclear markets, saw revenue from its core business slightly.

But with productivity and costs affected by the coronavirus pandemic, underlying revenue fell by 11 per cent compared with last year.

READ MORE 

Update #1161 - 10.44 AA motoring group in takeover talks

British motoring association the AA has revealed takeover talks with three potential buyers, reports the BBC.

The business, founded in 1905, provides insurance and driving lessons as well as operates 2,700 roadside assistance vehicles and is in £2.65bn of debt.

It added that there was no certainty that the talks would result in offers, and that they are still considering staying with its current ownership and raising money itself.

READ MORE  

Update #1160 - 08.25 Latest on cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released new data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county stands at 1,882 as of 5pm on August 3 - the same total as the day before.

Figures show that the area with the largest number of positive cases is Gloucester with 541 cases since the outbreak began.

Data also shows that there had not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Information released on Wednesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire remains at 229 - no change in more than seven days.

Of these deaths, 194 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 35 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Monday, August 3

Update #1159 - 16.44 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 9

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 9 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (August 2).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 46,210 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 305,623 people have tested positive for the virus, as of 9am this morning (August 3).

Update #1158 - 16.25 GE Aviation sales brought down to earth

GE Aviation has seen revenue almost halved as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry continues to be felt.

The American manufacturer, which employs around 1,800 people in Bishop's Cleeve designing and manufacturing electronic and mechanical systems for commercial, business and military aircraft, announced in May it was cutting up to 13,000 jobs across its 52,000-strong global workforce.

That followed a 40 per cent drop in profits in the first quarter of 2020 which has continued as the pandemic's effect on the industry rumbles on.

READ MORE 

Update #1157 - 15.03 Organisers call time on festival planning

Witcombe Festival has become the latest summer event to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was due to be held over the August bank holiday weekend with tickets able to be used next year or eligible for a refund.

Confirming the news, a statement on the festival website said: "We have been working continuously with all our local authorities over the last few months to plan for a safe, socially distanced festival.

"However, the health and safety of the public, staff and our community has and always will be our number one priority.

"There is nothing more we love doing than putting this event on for you all to enjoy and we are just as disappointed as you that we won't be able to this year."

Update #1156 - 13.03 Big early orders as Versarien launches masks

Versarien has launched a graphene enhanced protective face mask with 120,000 orders already placed.

And speaking in an exclusive video interview with Punchline-Gloucester.com, chief executive Neill Ricketts said it was the first in a range of graphene products in the pipeline at the Cheltenham company designed to help with the impact of coronavirus.

The mask, which utilises Versarien's graphene enhanced polymer Polygrene, has been developed and manufactured alongside a Chinese partner to provide enhanced protection against airborne bacteria and to minimise the spread of viral infection.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1155 - 12.29 DW Sports gym chain collapse will put 1,700 jobs at risk

Gym and sports retailer DW Sports has announced that it will enter administration, reports the BBC.

Established in 2009, the business operated 73 gyms and 75 retail stores across the UK including sites in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Last month the company said it would shut 25 stores, but now its website has also ceased trading.

The move threatens 1,700 that are employed by DW Sports.

In a statement, DW said that it would work with its administrators to save as many gym sites as possible, while all of its retail shops would close.

Update #1154 - 12.14 Free school meals this summer for eligible local children

Local food charities in Cheltenham are celebrating this week following the announcement that they have secured £4,818 from Gloucestershire County Council, to provide meals for children on free school meals over the summer holidays, as part of its Holiday Hunger Programme.

The charities, led by Family Space working under the #feedcheltenham banner, have been supporting each other through the crisis with some additional help from Cheltenham Borough Council and GCHQ.

The strengths of the relationships developed through the crisis led to the collaborative bid that will see frozen meals being distributed through seven local centres across Cheltenham.

SEE MORE 

Update #1153 - 12.11 Fears over bad loans blamed for fall in HSBC profits

HSBC, the UK's biggest bank, saw profits tumble by 65 per cent over the first six months of the year.

Profits for the first half of 2020 fell to $4.3billion - down from $12.4billion a year - with the cost of covering bad loans blamed for the loss.

The London-based bank, which makes more than half of its profits from troubled Hong Kong, has set aside $8-13billion to cover people and businesses defaulting on repayments due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Payment holidays during the pandemic have provided customers with more than $27billion of relief while low interest rates have also squeezed profits.

READ MORE 

Update #1152 - 08.25 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated figures released on Sunday show the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 46,201 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 8 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 229 according to figures released by NHS England on Sunday - no increase for more than a week.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 194 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 1,882 as of Sunday afternoon.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 541 cases

Cheltenham - 437 cases

Stroud - 268 cases

Tewkesbury - 258 cases

Cotswolds - 212 cases

Forest of Dean - 166 cases

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