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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, August 6

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 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 6 

Update #8859 - 12.42 Record rise in starting salaries as candidate availability falls sharply

Recruitment activity continued to rise sharply across the UK at the start of the third quarter, according to the latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs survey.

Findings found that permanent staff appointments and temp billings both rose at near-record rates, while growth of demand for staff hit a fresh series high as COVID-19 restrictions eased further and economic activity continued to pick up.

However, the availability of candidates continued to decline rapidly in July, driven by concerns over job security due to the pandemic, a lack of European workers due to Brexit, and a generally low unemployment rate.

As a result, pay pressures intensified, with starting salaries rising at the fastest rate in the survey history, and temp pay inflation also accelerating notably on the month.

Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the REC, said: "This month's data confirms that it is a good time to be looking for a new job. Employers are desperate to find good candidates for the many jobs on offer and this is reflected in starting salaries rising at the sharpest rate since the survey began in 1997."

Update #8858- 12.09 Perfume company opens landmark number of shops

The Fragrance Company has opened a record number of stores, with its new one in Southport being its 203rd. It is aiming to open 20 new stores each year.

"This is a huge milestone for the company. We are a family business, and now we're celebrating our 200th The Fragrance Shop store, bringing our overall store portfolio to 203 across the UK," chief executive Sanjay Vadera told The Retail Gazette.

"The past 18 months have been challenging for consumers and the UK high street as a whole, but it's a testament to our customers that we are able to keep growing and opening new stores to keep up with demand."

"We're dedicated to continuing expanding our physical store presence, allowing The Fragrance Shop to deliver our passion, innovation and expertise to our dedicated shoppers face-to-face, and offer more jobs to local people to boost the economy.

"With The Fragrance Shop continuing to grow both in store and online we have more exciting plans in the pipeline for the future, so watch this space."

Update #8857 - 11.36 Amazon's return to office delayed until 2022

Ecommerce giant Amazon has extended its 'work from home' message until 2022, as the coronavirus continues to spread across the UK.

The business told its US corporate staff that the original return to office date of September 7 will now extend until January 3, 2022.

Amazon said: "As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to Covid-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees".

This news follows two other large US businesses, Wells Fargo and Blackrock, also making the same decision to push back returning to work.

Update #8856 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 130,086 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 86 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 30,215 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,982,581 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,926,330 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 4 and 38,874,837 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 35,234, as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 928.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 9,798 cases (increase of 66)

Cheltenham - 6,390 cases (increase of 62)

Stroud - 5,870 cases (increase of 44)

Tewkesbury - 4,839 cases (increase of 50)

Forest of Dean - 4,442 cases (increase of 27)

Cotswold - 3,895 cases (increase of 14)

Thursday, August 5

Update #8855 - 11.50 Economic rebound slowing down

Britain's economy continues to rebound post-lockdown, but is losing some of its earlier momentum, according to the latest figures.

The UK's service sector scored a strong 59.6 in July in the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI report, which surveys business leaders around the country, as reported by Sky.

The figure was lower than the 62,4 seen in June, but better than expected by economists, who predicted a score of 57.8.

Economists says businesses are being hit by growth constraints from shortages of labour and materials, while the peak of pent-up demand spending by consumers has passed.

Update #8854 - 10.25 Travel rules to change from Sunday

Fully vaccinated passengers returning to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from France will no longer need to quarantine after 4am on Sunday.

Under widespread changes to the traffic light system, France is being moved from amber-plus back to amber.

But thousands of Brits holidaying in Mexico face uncertainty, as it moves to the red list and is considered one of the highest risk destinations.

Germany, Austria and Norway are among seven nations being added to the green list, meaning all travellers can return without having to quarantine, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.

Update #8853 - 08.32 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 130,000 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 119 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 29,312 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,952,756 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,928,033 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 3 and 38,733,334 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 34,971, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 928.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 9,732 cases (increase of 74)

Cheltenham - 6,328 cases (increase of 67)

Stroud - 5,826 cases (increase of 40)

Tewkesbury - 4,789 cases (increase of 48)

Forest of Dean - 4,415 cases (increase of 23)

Cotswold - 3,881 cases (increase of 31)

Wednesday, August 4

Update #8852 - 12.24 Holiday parks set for £600m merger after staycation spike

Holiday part operator Away Resorts, which was recently bought out by CVC Capital Partners, is set to combine with Aria Resorts in a £600m deal.

Away Resorts operate 14 sites across the UK, and Aira manages several resorts including Retallack Resort & Spa in Cornwall and The Bay Colwell on The Isle of Wight.

Sky News has reported that the deal will bring Aria under the management of Away, which is led by chairman Rooney Anand and chief executive Carl Castledine.

Update #8851 - 09.45 SME manufacturing activity grows but skills and material shortage concerns grow, says CBI

SME manufacturing output grew at the fastest pace on record (since October 1988) in the three months to July, according to the CBI's quarterly SME Trends Survey.

The survey of 234 SME manufacturing firms saw the volume of total new orders increase at the quickest rate on record, reflecting a record rise in domestic orders and the quickest export orders growth since January 2019. Furthermore, employment numbers also grew at the strongest pace on record in the three months to July.

Looking ahead to the next three months, output volumes are expected to grow at a similarly strong rate. However, the CBI said supply-side constraints on output are growing.

Alpesh Paleja, CBI lead economist, said: "The economic recovery has given a significant boost to SME manufacturers, with firms reporting record growth in activity. Buoyant demand has led firms to kick-start their investment plans and increase headcounts. The outlook further ahead is also positive, as businesses expect activity to continue to grow strongly.

"However, mounting staff shortages, rising cost pressures, and shortages of raw materials due to supply chain disruptions are posing a real challenge to the outlook."

Update #8850 - 09.40 Petrol prices highest since 2013

Petrol prices saw the largest rise last month since January with the average price now the highest for nearly eight years.

The average cost of a litre of unleaded petrol now costs 135.13p. In the South West it is 135.64p, according to figures gathered by the RAC motoring organisation.

Diesel meanwhile now costs on average 137.06p per litre, up from 134.36p. That's the most expensive since 2014. In the South West the average for diesel was 137.64p per litre.

Supermarkets continued to offer the best value for money on fuel. A spokesman for the RAC predicted prices could rise even further before the end of the Summer.

Update #8849 - 08.28 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 129,881 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 138 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 21,691 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,923,820 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,898,525 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 2 and 38,590,332 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 34,688, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test rose to 928 - an increase of one on the day before.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 9,658 cases (increase of 58)

Cheltenham - 6,261 cases (increase of 55)

Stroud - 5,786 cases (increase of 28)

Tewkesbury - 4,741 cases (increase of 32)

Forest of Dean - 4,392 cases (increase of 14)

Cotswold - 3,850 cases (increase of 21)

Tuesday, August 3

Update #8848 - 12.30 Sunak says office working good for young people

Working in an office is good for young people as they develop their careers, the Chancellor says.

Speaking to LinkedIn News, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, said he doubted he would have done as well if he had been working remotely from home. Before politics Sunak worked in finance, including for banking giant Goldman Sachs.

He was speaking to the channel about the government's Help to Grow scheme for small and medium businesses.

He told presenter Siobhan Morrin of the benfit of good mentors: "I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom."

He added: "That's why I think for young people in particular, being able to physically be in an office is valuable."

Update #8847 - 11.25 NHS Covid App tweaked to reduce staff absence

The NHS Covid Test & Trace App has been tweaked to ensure it causes fewer people to go into self-isolation.

Business groups, particularly in the hospitality sector, have complained that the 'pingdemic' of workers receiving alerts from the App has caused chaos. Many have been operating on reduced hours or had to close altogether as staff stay at home.

Now fewer contacts of people with coronavirus will be told to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app after an update.

A commentator on Sky News called it 'an act of political capitulation rather than pandemic management'.

The adjustment to the App means the timeframe for measuring close contacts of asymptomatic positive cases has been cut from five days to two, but the controversial two-metre sensitivity remains.

Update #8846 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 129,743 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 24 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 21,952 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,902,354 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,872,411 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 1 and 38,464,025 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 34,480, as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 927.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 9,600 cases (increase of 50)

Cheltenham - 6,206 cases (increase of 51)

Stroud - 5,758 cases (increase of 39)

Tewkesbury - 4,709 cases (increase of 21)

Forest of Dean - 4,378 cases (increase of nine)

Cotswold - 3,829 cases (increase of 20)

Monday, August 2

Update #8845 - 10.30 HSBC more than doubles profits

HSBC has more than doubled its pre-tax profits in the first half of the year.

The bank - Europe's biggest - saw its pre-tax profit for rise to £7.8bn, compared to £3.09bn for the same time last year.

The bank said all regions were profitable but notably the UK operation which reported profit before tax of over £1.5bn in the period.

Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive, said: "These are good results that reflect the return of growth in our main markets.

"We were profitable in every region in the first half of the year, supported by the release of expected credit loss provisions."

Update #8844 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 129,719 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 65 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 24,470 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,880,667 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,851,145 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 31 and 38,345,841 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 34,290, as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 927.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 9,550 cases

Cheltenham - 6,155 cases

Stroud - 5,719 cases

Tewkesbury - 4,688 cases

Forest of Dean - 4,369 cases

Cotswold - 3,809 cases

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