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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, July 3

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, July 3

Update #952 - 16.31 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 137

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 137 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (July 2).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 44,131 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 284,276 people have tested positive for the virus, with 205,673 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 3).

Update #951 -  16.16 Peel says Intu collapse will not hurt finances

The Peel Group - operators of Gloucester Quays - said the collapse of Intu Properties into administration will have no bearing on its financial health.

Peel sold the the Trafford Centre to Intu (then Capital Shopping Centres) in 2011 and retains a 24.6 per cent stake in the company, which has a debt estimated at £4.5billion exacerbated in delays in tenants paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Peel spokesman declined to comment on rumours of a possible deal to buy back the Trafford Centre.

READ THE FULL STORY  

Update #951 - 14.37 Council calls to give funds to businesses in 'missing middle'

Cotswold District Council has called on the Government to let it use unspent business support funding on the 'missing middle' of businesses.

Deputy leader Councillor Mike Evemy, cabinet member of finance, has written to Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng asking for greater freedom to support Cotswold businesses currently closed under coronavirus lockdown regulations.

The council has almost £2million left in unpaid grant money which Mr Evemy said could support at least 75 extra businesses.

SEE MORE 

Update #950 - 13.24 Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge closures cost 1,900 jobs

Cheltenham's Promenade and Gloucester Quays are both on a list of closures as the owner of restaurant chains Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia has gone into administration.

As restaurants around the country prepare to reopen from tomorrow with the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, Casual Dining Group has announced 91 of its outlets will close immediately.

The closures will see 1,900 of the firm's 6,000 staff will lose their jobs.

Bella Italia has outlets at the Promenade and the Quays with Cafe Rouge also on the Promenade.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #949 - 12.09 Gloucester Cathedral prepares to welcome visitors from Monday

Gloucester Cathedral is set to re-open its doors to general visitors on Monday (6th July). People will be able to visit between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 11am and 5pm on Sundays.

Daily public worship at the cathedral will start from Sunday (5th July). The Cathedral Eucharist will take place every Sunday at 10.15am and there will also be a short service of Holy Communion Monday to Saturday at 12.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

To keep everyone safe, new protective measures have been introduced, including limiting capacity to allow for physical distancing, establishing a one-way system throughout the building and providing hand sanitising stations.

READ MORE  

Update #948 - 11.10 Green light for more travel abroad

Travellers will no longer need to quarantine after arriving in England from more than 50 countries from July 10.

France, Spain, Germany and Italy are among the countries on the list which will be confirmed un full later by the Department for Transport.

The Foreign Office is also changing its advice against all non-essential travel to all countries from tomorrow.

Countries will be rated green (restrictions for UK arrivals), amber (reciprocal arrangements in place) or red - including the US - for which the 14-day quarantine restrictions will remain in place.

Scotland and Wales are yet to announce any relaxation in restrictions while regulations will remain in place in Northern Ireland for arrivals from outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Update #947 - 11.08 Manufacturers predicting more redundancies

Almost half of UK manufacturers expect to make job cuts in the next six months according to a new survey.

The report by Make UK said 46 per cent of firms questions believe they will need to make redundancies before the end of the year - up from 25 per cent in May.

Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: "Conditions are still very tough for many companies with disruption likely to continue for some time.

"This has led some to reluctantly conclude that with demand unlikely to return for some time, if at all, they are moving to the painful choice of redundancy."

Update #946 - 11.06 Payment freezes set to extend

Payment freezes on high-cost credit or car finance are set to be extended until the end of October.

The Financial Conduct Authority brought in protections for lenders in April and have proposed the deadline for people to apply until October 31.

Further payment deferrals can also be applied for while the FCA also plans to extend the ban on repossession for motor finance and rent-to-own customers until the same date.

Interim chief executive Christopher Woolard said: "It is vital that people facing temporary payment difficulties because of the impact of coronavirus get the assistance they need.

"For those who have already taken a payment freeze and can afford to start making payments, even partially, it is in their best interest to do so, but for those that need help it will be there."

Update #945 - 10.04 Council lead action to combat anti-social behaviour in Cheltenham's green spaces

Littering, public drinking, urinating, drug use, noise and vandalism in Cheltenham's green spaces has become an increasing problem as lockdown eases.

Local authority agencies are now joining together to clamp down on the issues, with increased patrolling and enforcement where necessary.

The action plan is being led by Solace, a partnership between Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council, Gloucester City Council and the Cheltenham Business Improvement District.

READ MORE  

Update #944 - 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 for Thursday (July 2) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 43,995 - 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, there have now been a total of 227 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Thursday. An increase of one on the day before.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 193 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 34 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Thursday, July 2

Update #943 - 16.30 Play areas and outdoor gyms to open

Play areas and outdoor fitness equipment in Cheltenham's parks and open spaces will be open from July 4, in line with government guidance.

Cheltenham Borough Council said that it recognises how important these facilities are for people to maintain their health and mental wellbeing and reminds residents and visitors it's vital that everyone respects these spaces and behaves appropriately so that they can be enjoyed by all.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the council requests everyone to follow the government's social distancing guidelines.

Guidance posters will be available for all to follow at children's play areas and at outdoor fitness equipment locations.

At the four larger parks: Hatherley, Montpellier, Pittville and Sandford Park there will be social distancing and queuing markers on the ground and arrows to guide visitors where appropriate. 

Pittville Play area will be closed daily between 7am and 9am to facilitate maintenance activities.

Visitors to parks and open spaces are encouraged to report overflowing bins to the council at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/reportit or 01242 262626.

Update #942 - 16.00 Clearer figures published on Gloucestershire COVID cases

Gloucestershire County Council is releasing fresh figures to provide a clearer pickier of confirmed COVID-10 cases.

Until now, published figures have been based on those released in the so-called Pillar 1 via the NHS and Public Health England.

But the council will now publish figures under Pillar 2 from Public Health England which includes home tests, mobile testing units and the site at Hempsted Meadows.

The figures have been received by the council for some time to inform its response to the pandemic, but it has not been able to publish now.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #941 - 14.45 One in four shifting shopping to online

Almost one in four of the UK population say they will make permanent changes to shopping habits with online retail booming during the coronavirus pandemic.

Online sales are estimated to soar by £4.5billion according to a report by Alvarez & Marsal and Retail Economics as more people get use to shopping digitally due to the lockdown.

But one backer of the high street insists the public remain enthusiastic about reopening town centres.

The report, which showed 48 per cent of people plan to avoid busy destinations, said retailers need to look at adapting their physical businesses to reflect the online changes of habits.

READ MORE 

Update #940 - 13.00 BBC cutting 450 jobs in regions

Local television and radio presenters are among those affected after the BBC announced plans to make 450 staff working on its regional programmes in England redundant.

The Inside Out current affairs programme, which has 11 regional editions, is also being axed to be replaced by six investigative reporting shows based in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Norwich and London.

Local radio stations will operate with the three daytime show schedule imposed during the coronavirus pandemic with programmes cut from two hosts to one - a change which will be repeated in television bulletins.

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Update #939 - 12.40 Prezzo look to put new owners on the menu

Prezzo has become the latest restaurant chain to look at a potential sale as it looks to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian chain, which has two outlets in Cheltenham, is reopening 35 of its 180 restaurants over the next few weeks as lockdown restrictions are eased with the remaining branches following over the summer.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #938 - 11.30 Primark placing big orders despite sales hit

Primark is placing more than £1billion in orders and planning to open new shops across Europe, despite a huge drop in sales.

A trading update from the fashion chain's owners Associated British Foods revealed a 75 per cent drop in sales during its third quarter and a forecasted fall in annual profits of around two-thirds.

But promising figures since outlets reopened, with queues outside many shops as coronavirus restrictions were lifted, has persuaded bosses to press ahead with the orders for the autumn and winter seasons.

READ MORE  

Update #937 - 11.17 Tesla outstrips Toyota in value

Tesla has overtaken Toyota as the world's most valuable car maker - despite having only a fraction of sales.

Shares in the US electric car manufacturer, founded by Elon Must, rose yesterday to give it a market value of more than $209billion - $4billion higher than its Japanese rival.

But the Japanese giant sold almost 10.5 million vehicles in the year to March, posting revenues of $281.2billion, compared with Tesla delivering 367,200 cars in 2019 for sales of $24.6billion.

Tesla, which is now worth three times its US rivals General Motors and Ford combined, said coronavirus had done little to change Mr Musk's prediction of 500,000 vehicles delivered in 2020.

Update #936 - 10.05 Airbus cannot rule out further job cuts

The chairman of Airbus UK has said further job losses cannot be ruled out after the announcement of 1,700 redundancies.

Factories at Filton, near Bristol, and Broughton in north Wales will be hit by the cuts as 15,000 jobs are set to be axed around the world.

And John Harrison said it is impossible to rule out further losses as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hits the entire aviation industry.

READ MORE 

Update #935 - 08.25 Update on coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,394 as of 9am on July 1 - an increase of four on yesterday's figure.

It goes on to say that these new cases didn't occur yesterday, but in fact are historic test results that just happen to have been added to the total at this point. Data shows that the most recent positive tests came on June 29, when two were positive in the county.

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

Information released on Thursday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28).

Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Wednesday, July 1

Update #934 - 16.47 More Monsoon Accessorize stores could be saved

Monsoon Accessorize has said that 57 more stores than expected could stay open, after a larger number of landlords than predicted agreed to turnover-based rents.

The retailer had originally planned to reopen only 100 of its 230 stores, but could now operate 157, potentially saving 2,400 jobs.

READ MORE 

Update #933 - 16.15 Gloucester Cathedral launches £1m Beacon of Hope appeal with £250,000 donation

Julia and Hans Rausing have awarded a £250,000 grant to help kickstart a £1million fundraising appeal for Gloucester Cathedral.

The cathedral is aiming to raise the funds by Christmas, to ensure it can play a crucial role in the local community's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, the cathedral stands to lose up to £1.3million by 2021 in lost visitor and events income. All funds raised will be used to keep the building open for all and to enable a programme of cultural and social activities to help inspire local communities, promote wellbeing, support those who are most vulnerable and stimulate the local economy.

READ MORE 

Update #932 - 15.33 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 176

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 176 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (June 30).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 43,906 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 313,483 people have tested positive for the virus, with 226,398 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 1).

Update #931 - 15.27 WSP Solicitors take steps to welcome appointments

WSP Solicitors is offering pre-booked appointments after adapting working and safety practises to reflect the Government's reduced coronavirus alert level.

While offices remain closed to the public, WSP is offering pre-booked appointments with legal practitioners at its offices in Stroud, Dursley and Gloucester.

The appointments are intended for clients unable to access digital communication such as video calls or if it the work being undertaken requires a face-to-face meeting.

READ MORE 

Update #930 - 13.35 Shirt specialist to close all of its shops

Shirtmaker TM Lewin has announced it will close all 66 of its UK stores with the loss of around 600 jobs.

The retailer, which has a store in Cheltenham, said most of its 700 workers will be laid off as it takes all of its sales online, as reported by the BBC.

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Update #929 - 13.25 Gloucestershire issues plan for fresh virus outbreak

Gloucestershire County Council has published its Local Outbreak Management Plan designed to help, prevent, respond to and monitor any spike in COVID-19.

Five positive coronavirus cases were reported in Gloucestershire over the last 24 hours - the biggest daily figure in six weeks.

It takes the total number of cases in the county to 1,390 with 16 throughout June - half in the last week.

The local outbreak plan covers the ways in which the council and its partners will support and protect people if there is an outbreak of further cases.

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Update #928 - 12.48 John Lewis looking to make cuts

John Lewis has become the latest big name high street retailer to announce plans for job cuts and closures.

The department store firm, which has an outlet in Cheltenham High Street, said it has too much store space.

Details of job numbers and the affected stores have not been confirmed although the smaller of the company's two head office buildings in London is believed to be under threat.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #927 - 11.33 House prices fall across year for first time since 2012

House prices in the UK have fallen by 0.1 per cent in the last 12 months - the first time the annual rate has fallen since December 2012.

Figures released by the Nationwide Building Society saw average prices in the UK fall by 1.4 per cent during June to £216,403.

That is an improvement on the 1.7 per cent fall in May.

READ MORE 

Update #926 - 10.45 EasyJet plans job cuts and base closures

EasyJet says nearly 1,300 jobs could go with 727 of its UK-based pilots at risk of redundancy according to pilots' union Balpa.

And the budget airline has begun consultations on plans to close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "The lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people.

The airline has 11 bases in the UK and says it would continue to fly in and out of the affected airports but without staff or aircraft based there.

The Unite union's national officer for civil aviation Oliver Richardson said: "There is no need for this announcement at this time, especially since Easyjet has taken a multi-million pound government loan which it ought to be putting to use defending UK jobs."

Update #927 - 10.43 Local lockdowns can use furlough again

Businesses forced to shut their doors again under local lockdowns will be able to re-furlough staff if they have used the scheme before.

Downing Street confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme could be used of lockdowns like the one happening in Leicester are introduced due to a spike in cases.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "If someone worked in non-essential retail and they have been able to go back to work and that non-essential retail now has to close again they will still be eligible to benefit from the furlough scheme."

Update #926 - 10.41 Upper Crust slicing jobs as sale plummet

The owners of bakery Upper Crust have announced up to 5,000 jobs are to go across the UK.

SSP Group said sales in April and May fell by 95 per cent from the previous year as its outlets, which operate mainly at airports and railway stations, were hit by the drop in passenger numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Of its 580 outlets - which also include deli Camden Food and bar chain Cabin - the number operating is in single figures with around 20 per cent due to open by autumn.

Chief executive Simon Smith said: "We are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some parts of the world and are starting to open units as passenger demand picks up. However, in the UK the pace of the recovery continues to be slow."

A company statement said: "If the pace of the recovery continues at the current level, this could lead to up to around 5,000 roles becoming redundant from within the head office and UK operations."

Update #925 - 10.38 High streets busier in second week

Footfall on the UK's high streets rose by 7.7 per cent in the second week of non-essential shops reopening - helped by Wales relaxing lockdown restrictions.

But the rise from the previous week still saw a 53.4 per cent rise on the previous year according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium.

High street figures fell by 58.1 per cent on the previous week with shopping centre down 60.7 per cent and retail parks down 28.4 per cent.

Update #924 - 10.17 Filton hit as Airbus announces job losses

Airbus has announced plans to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK with Filton among the sites affected.

The aerospace giant says 15,000 jobs will go globally with the commercial aircraft divisions at the Bristol site and Broughton in north Wales facing cuts in the UK.

The remaining jobs will go among the company's 134,000 employees around the world - 5,000 in France, 6,000 in Germany and 900 in Spain.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #923 - 08.25 Update on coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire 

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,390 as of 9am on June 30 - an increase of five on yesterday's figure and the largest jump since May 17.

Figures also show that the area with the largest number of positive cases is South Gloucestershire, with 406 since the outbreak began.

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

Information released on Monday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28).

Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Tuesday, June 30

Update #922 - 17.11 Verge cutting will close major road for three days

Teams from Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council will work to cut grass and clear litter on the A40 this week, closing the road for three days.

Cotswold District Council's waste service provider Ubico Ltd will be working in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council and contractor Ringway to cut grass, clear litter and sweep surfaces on the verges of the A40 dual carriageway this week. But the works in Cirencester will include closing this major road from the Kings Meadow roundabout to Preston Tollbar from 7.30am to 5pm from 1st to 3rd July.

FIND OUT MORE  

Update #921 - 16.36 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 155

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 155 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (June 29).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 43,730 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 312,654 people have tested positive for the virus, with 133,467 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 30).

Update #920 - 16.00 Harveys in administration as 240 jobs lost

Harveys furniture chain has become the latest big retail name to enter administration with the loss of 240 jobs.

Administrators PwC are search for a buyer for the Cheltenham-based business with around 1,300 further jobs at risk.

All of its stores will continue trading while the administrators look for a new owner.

READ MORE 

Update #919 - 14.50 Charity warns research investment could halve due to coronavirus

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is among those calling for government action to support charity research in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The charity anticipates the pandemic will cut its annual research budget by £50 million.

BHF has joined the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and 151 of its members, including Cancer Research UK and Parkinson's UK, to call on the UK government to match charity funded research for the next three years.

The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that its net income, and resulting investment in new research, is likely to drop by up to 50 per cent this year. Such a sharp fall could have a catastrophic impact on UK cardiovascular research, the research careers of thousands of young scientists and advances in diagnostics, treatments and cures for people with heart and circulatory diseases.

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Update #918 - 13.00 New Look issues ultimatum to landlords

Fashion retailer New Look has issued an ultimatum to landlords, as it seeks to move to turnover-based rents as the coronavirus crisis continues.

New Look, which has a store in Cheltenham, has hired a consultancy firm in an effort to move its entire 500-strong store estate across to turnover-based rents, increasing the possibility of falling into a pre-pack administration if the discussions are unsuccessful, as reported by Retail Gazette.

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Update #917 - 12.50 Prime Minister outlines plan to build new deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to 'build, build, build" as he outlined the Government's plan to revive the coronavirus-damaged UK economy.

Speaking in Dudley, he outlined £5billion of infrastructure projects including school, homes and roads in a programme he compared to the Depression-era New Deal in the US.

And he stressed the Government planned to press on with projects quickly as part of Project Speed with changes to planning rules.

READ THE FULL STORY  

Update #916 - 10.58 Opening time brings almost one million back to work

Almost one million workers in the hospitality industry are expected to return to work during July, according to a survey by UKHospitality.

The survey showed more than 960,000 staff are set to return from furlough next month with that number growing to 1.6 million by the end of September.

Around 60 per cent of the hospitality sector is poised to reopen on July 4 or within few days with about 75 per cent of pubs and accommodation reopening by the end of the month.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "It means a lot to customers to be able to go to their favourite restaurant or pub again, but it will mean even more to staff members who may have been unsure whether they would be able to return to their jobs.

"There is still a long way to go and businesses are by no means out of the woods yet."

Update #915 - 10.55 Cineworld opening pushed back

Cineworld has put back its planned reopening day by three weeks after delays in key markets.

The cinema group, which has outlets at Gloucester Quays and Cheltenham's Brewery Quarter, had originally targeted reopening on July 10.

But it has delayed plans in both the UK and USA to July 31.

Hollywood studios have pushed back the release date for many major summer releases until August.

Update #914 - 10.52 Coronavirus fuels Shell's financial warning

Shell has predicted the value of its assets could fall by as much as £17.9billion due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil giant said it predicted fuel sales would fall by 40 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 due to sharp fall in travel.

But it said it would continue "to adapt to ensure the business remains resilient".

Update #913 - 10.15 Ian Mean: Concentrate economic firepower on twin targets

The Government has been urged to concentrate on replacing lost jobs and helping people find work and training as the look to repair an economy ravaged by coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is today scheduled to give details of Project Speed, designed to help major infrastructure projects turned into reality rapidly to stimulate recovery.

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to outline a recovery package in the coming days.

But Ian Mean, Gloucestershire director of Business West, warned it would be far more difficult than imposing the coronavirus lockdown.

Here he explains the challenges ahead of both men and how their decisions will affect Gloucestershire.  

Update #912 - 08.30 No change for coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire remains at 1,385 as of 9am on June 29 - no increase since Friday (June 26).

Figures also show that the area with the largest number of positive cases is South Gloucestershire, with 406 since the outbreak began.

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

Information released on Monday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28).

Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Monday, June 29 

Update #911 - 15.48 Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced in August

Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from August 1, roads minister Baroness Vere has announced today.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. 

However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from August 1 will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

Drivers with an MOT due date before August 1 will still receive a six-month exemption from testing. 

Roads minister Baroness Vere said: "As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That's why as restrictions are eased, from August 1 MOT testing will again become mandatory.

"Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can." 

Update #910 - 15.30 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 25

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 25 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (June 28).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 43,575 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 311,965 people have tested positive for the virus, with 93,881 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 29). 

Update #909 - 15.25 Johnson plans to build economy out of trouble

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said any return to austerity would be a mistake, pledging an investment in infrastructure to help the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

His remarks follow a promise of more than £1billion for major school building projects in England, together with £560million for repairs, and ahead of a speech outlining a new task force to oversee speeding up infrastructure processes.

Mr Johnson told Times Radio: "This is the time to invest in infrastructure, this is the time to make those long-term decisions for the good of the country."

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #908 - 13.20 Cheltenham active transport plan steps up a gear

Work could begin before Christmas on the second part of a scheme designed to increase walking and cycling in Cheltenham as part of a major transport scheme.

At least £1.6million has been set aside for active transport links by Gloucestershire County Council as part of the West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme.

The second part of the scheme includes extra lanes and a new cycling and walking route connecting Cheltenham Spa Railway Station to Arle Court Roundabout.

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Update #907 - 12.41 Ineos buys BP's petrochemicals arm

BP has sold its petrochemicals business to Ineos for a deal worth £4.1billion.

The British petrochemicals company is paying a deposit of $400million ahead of $3.6billion on completion with a further $1billion in three instalments by next June.

BP has announced it is cutting 10,000 jobs worldwide due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Update #906 - 12.18 Cheltenham Music Festival moves online

With Cheltenham Music Festival forced to cancel this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has instead curated a digital celebration, highlighting what is unique and innovative about the festival.

Cheltenham Music Festival: Replay will be available for free on the Cheltenham Festivals website from Saturday 4th July.

The collection will include six brand-new podcasts, videos and playlists celebrating festival commissions and premieres since 1945.

BBC Radio 3 will join in the celebration by broadcasting its pick of Cheltenham Music Festival recitals from Pittville Pump Room in a series of four lunchtime concerts running from 30 June - 3 July.

READ MORE 

Update #905 - 11.16 Life in lockdown in Gloucestershire: Share your stories

Have you kept a diary of life during lockdown? Do you have memories you would like to share with future generations?

Gloucestershire Archives, working with county museums, libraries and other local organisations, wants to hear about your experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Life in Lockdown brings together projects from Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire Libraries, Gloucester History Festival, The Museum of Gloucester, University Archive and Strike A Light to capture the thoughts, feelings and experiences of people living in Gloucestershire during lockdown.

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Update #904 - 10.11 Councils share £3.3m with Gloucestershire small businesses

More than 300 businesses across Gloucestershire have shared a £3.34million handout from councils.

The 304 businesses received the money from Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council as part of the Government's discretionary business grant scheme.

It follows the payment of £2.8million by Cotswold District Council and Forest of Dean District Council last week.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #903 - 08.30 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 (June 28) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 43,550 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 36 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, there have now been a total of 227 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Sunday. An increase of zero on the day before.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 193 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 34 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 1,385 as of yesterday afternoon.

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