Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, June 26

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, June 26

Update 902 - 16.55 R&D programmes handed major funding

The Government has unveiled more than £400million in funding for seven research and innovation projects across the country.

The investment, which include smart packaging to cut food waste and health products to combat infections, is part of UK Research and Innovation's Strength in Places Fund.

Projects will share £186million from the Government together with £230million from the private sector and research institutions.

READ MORE 

Update #901 - 16.10 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 186

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

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 43,414 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 309,360 people have tested positive for the virus, with 165,665 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 26).

Update #900 - 15.22 Lorry drivers asked to be alert following three reports of fuel siphoning

Police are asking lorry drivers to please be alert when leaving vehicles unoccupied or parked up following a number of reports of fuel being siphoned.

Over the past two weeks, three reports have been received of fuel being siphoned from HGV'S, two of which were parked up in laybys overnight.

Two incidents were reported in the Cotswolds and another incident was reported in Stonehouse.

READ MORE 

Update #899 - 15.05 Landlords counting the cost of unpaid rent

Less than 20 per cent of the country's quarterly commercial rent bill was paid on time this week as businesses battle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The rental take hit a record low with only 13.8 per cent of retailers paying their latest rent instalment - leaving more than £2billion in unpaid rent, according to commercial property management platform Re-Leased.

If offices and industrial premises are included, 18.2 per cent of commercial rent was paid - down from 25.3 per cent on the last quarterly payment day in March, at the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE 

Update #898 - 13.03 Retail giants poised for lingerie battle

Marks & Spencer and Next are believed to be heading for a battle to take control of Victoria's Secret in the UK.

The UK arm of the lingerie brand went into administration earlier this month and the two retail giants are understood to be in competition with a third interested party to become the parent's company's franchise partner.

M&S already controls 27 per cent of the country's lingerie market and more than a third of the bra market.

Update #897 - 12.25 Glevum ramps up operations post-lockdown

Gloucestershire-based window, door and conservatory company, Glevum, is gearing up to meet pent-up demand for its services, following the return to work on construction sites and homes.

The business has seen a rise in demand from both trade and domestic customers which have been unable to complete projects over the last two months due to lockdown, as reported by Insider Media.

READ MORE

Update #896 - 11.45 Everyman looks to online magic ahead of theatre plan

The Everyman Theatre has headed online to ensure the show must go on and unveiled the first of next year's shows - as the Government outlined a five-stage plan for the return of the performing arts.

The Cheltenham theatre was among a collection of venues, producers, actors and governing bodies who wrote to the Government calling for help to ensure the industry avoids total collapse after being out of action since March.

Its cafe bar reopened for takeaways earlier this week and this weekend it will host a virtual Evening In of Deception, an online magic show hosted by BBC presenter Steve Knibbs.

READ MORE  

Update #895 - 11.10 More than 1,550 free laptops and tablets for vulnerable children

A stack of laptops and tablets will be making their way to 1558 vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people across Gloucestershire to support them to learn at home.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne (left) and Cllr Richard Boyles (right)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning and safe access to the web has become more important than ever before, and with the summer holidays just around the corner, the new devices will ensure all children in the county have the same opportunities to study away from school.

The laptops and tablets, which have been supplied by the Department for Education (DfE), will be distributed to children and young people identified by the county council and schools. This includes those in care or who are care leavers, as well as Year 10 pupils who wouldn't ordinarily be able to access the technology they require.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #894 - 10.26 Easing rules can help pubs survive in the open air

Streamlined planning rules which will ease the introduction of outdoor drinking areas will help pubs in England recover from coronavirus, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.

The Business and Planning Bill, which will be debated by MPs on Monday, will make it easier and quicker for venues to receive planning approval to offer service outside when they reopen from July 4.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "Our pubs face a 30 per cent reduction in capacity when they reopen under one metre plus social distancing guidelines, so giving them more outdoor space will be a big help.

"Pub goers will certainly enjoy the freedom of being able to order a proper pint of draught beer, whilst soaking up the summer sun outside the pub.

"For those pubs in more urban areas that do not have a pub garden, this is particularly good news.

Update #893 - 10.25 US infection figure could top 20 million

More than 20 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus according to latest estimates - around 10 times the official figures.

There have been around 2.3 million confirmed cases in the US but the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says that figure is much higher, hitting six per cent of the population.

Centres director Dr Robert Redfield said: "It's clear that many individuals in this nation are still susceptible,

"Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually are 10 more infections."

Update #892 - 10.22 IMF pubs borrowing figure above £400billion

Government borrowing over the next two years will exceed more than £400billion according to the International Monetary Fund.

The figure comes as the IMF reduced its growth projections for the year, predicting an eight per cent drop in GDP for advanced economies before a 5.4 per cent rise in 2021.

The UK is predicted to suffer a 10.2 per cent fall in GDP this year.

The IMF put the expected global hit from the coronavirus at £9.6trillion but warned a second outbreak would quickly hit any recovery.

Update #891 - 10.10 Teenager found with drugs worth £4,000 in his underwear

Undercover police officers found a teenage drug dealer had more than £4,000 of heroin and cocaine hidden in his underwear when they arrested him in Cheltenham.

And Gloucester Crown Court heard James Spencer, 18, of Woolwich in London, had another £6,000 of Class A drugs in his bedroom at his father's home in the town.

Spencer, who was jailed for two years and four months, pleaded guilty to possessing crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply also to supplying both drugs - saying he did it to help his mother financially.

READ MORE 

Update #890 - 08.25 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 1,382 as of 9am on June 25 - no increase since June 18.

Data shows that there has also not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus - remaining at 226.

Thursday, June 25

Update #889 - 16.40 Council confirms Forest parking plans

Forest of Dean District Council is committed to the recovery of the district's high streets and has made some amends to its parking rules in response.

It has pledged:

  • Free parking on Saturdays until September 1
  • Five free short term (up to 30 minutes) parking bays per town
  • Continued free parking for NHS and registered care workers

As any shortfall in parking revenue will need to by met by the Forest of Dean council tax payer, the council has said it cannot subsidise parking indefinitely. it will carry out a further review of parking in the late summer or early autumn, once the pressures of Covid-19 have eased.

Update #887 - 16.25 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 149

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 149 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 43,230 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 307,980 people have tested positive for the virus, with 167,023 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 25).

Update #886 - 16.20 Warning after burglaries reported at building sites across Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Constabulary is warning local contractors to be alert following burglaries at building sites in the county.

A number of burglaries have been reported at sites in the past two weeks with items such as tools and appliances being stolen.

One of the incidents was reported at a building site in Hardwicke on Sunday, June 7 after offenders gained entry before entering eight properties and stealing gas boilers from inside.

READ MORE  

Update #885 - 16.01 Serviced accommodation will support Gloucestershire businesses

A new serviced accommodation business in the county has proved a lifeline during lockdown for key workers and construction workers and is now hoping to bring more tourists back to the county.

Stay Lets, which launched last year, has a block of 19 apartments in Cheltenham - ranging from studio flats to six-bed apartments. When hotels were closed, Stay Lets really came into its own.

Oliver Williams, property director of the company which is part of Gloucester-based Markey Group, said: "We've been able to stay open safely as our properties are unmanned. Our business model is all about remote booking and access, you even use your mobile phone as a key. When hotels were closed, we were able to look after NHS and other key workers, construction workers and ex-pat Brits who were unable to fly home."

READ MORE 

Update #884 - 14.07 Home workers hit by Virgin Media broadband issues

A fault in Virgin Media broadband services has left users across Gloucestershire struggling to work from home this morning.

London appears to have suffered the worst outages but the problem is affecting workers across the country with the company's telephone helpline issuing a permanent busy message.

A Virgin Media spokesman said: "We're aware that some customers are experiencing an issue with their broadband. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service and apologise to those affected."

One user in Gloucester said: "It suddenly dropped out earlier this morning - left my desk to make a cup of tea and returned to find everything had gone off.

"Rebooting has made no difference and if you call the helpline, all you get is a recorded message apologising for all the call staff being busy.

"It is possible to do some work online through a phone hotspot but that slows everything down."

Update #883 - 13.42 Business survival hangs in the balance

As government support schemes for businesses wind down, the survival of many still hangs in the balance, according to the CBI.

The CBI is calling for more action from government to ensure firms survive.

Job retention schemes have been a lifeline for many businesses, but despite the gradual reopening of the economy, the business group has warned that recession is a certainty and unemployment is rising.

The CBI wants to see extensions of grant support schemes for smaller companies and business rates relief in England and the deadline for the Coronavirus Business Loan Scheme extended for a further three months beyond August.

READ MORE 

Update #882 - 13.10 Royal Mail to cut 2,000 jobs

Royal Mail is to cut 2,000 management jobs, as it struggles to deal with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cuts to a fifth of management roles aim to save about £130m, as reported by the BBC. The job losses will mainly hit back-office roles, including finance, commercial and IT.

Frontline postal staff are unlikely to be affected.

Royal Mail said coronavirus has accelerated the trend of more parcels and fewer letters being sent, and it had not adapted quickly enough to respond to the change.

The company plans to make the cuts by March 2021.

Update #881 - 12.00 Music venues call for help to stay alive

Owners of live venues in Gloucestershire are among music promoters who have written to the Government calling for a £50million package to support the stricken industry.

And the Everyman Theatre has joined venues and stars in urging for help to prevent mass closures.

The operators of Gloucester Guildhall, the Frog & Fiddle pub in Cheltenham and The Prince Albert in Stroud are among the signatories of the open letter to the Government from grassroots music venues across the country.

Live music across the country came to an end in March as coronavirus restrictions took hold and venues are still waiting to hear when they can reopen.

This weekend's Glastonbury Festival is among the high-profile casualties, but smaller venues have been left counting the cost of inactivity.

READ MORE 

Update #880 - 10.47 Bees and butterflies to benefit from longer grass in green spaces around Cheltenham

Cheltenham Borough Council's (CBC) parks team together with Ubico, have been encouraging pollinating insects and wild flowers by allowing grass to grow in some areas.

This good horticultural practise has been welcomed by residents in recent years, with wild flower meadows creating colour and vibrancy at Pittville Park, Cox's Meadow and Springfields Park.

Coronavirus and changes to the way staff have been able to work in open spaces has naturally created more areas of longer grass. Last month for instance, the council took part in 'No Mow May' in some areas of the borough when grass was left to grow to encourage bees and other pollinators and to support a different way of working due to the pandemic.

CBC said that Ubico and the parks teams have worked incredibly hard throughout the crisis and changes to work practises have meant that large open spaces have been prioritised for grass cutting and general maintenance over small areas, enabling people easy access for their socially distanced daily exercise.

Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment said: ''Two metre social distancing and amended ways of working to maintain safety of staff has presented challenges in undertaking certain seasonal tasks.

"The planting out and hanging of flower baskets in the town centre is one such example which has proved particularly challenging, and the time taken to complete the operation has taken much longer than normal, has required the use of different equipment and utilised more members of staff. This work has continued as a priority however as it is vital for Cheltenham's economic recovery that high footfall areas such as the town centre continue to look visually attractive."

Update #879 - 09.42 Councils agree £2.8m in small business grants

Two district councils in Gloucestershire have agreed £2.8million of payments to small businesses under the Government's Discretionary Business Grants Scheme.

Forest of Dean and Cotswold District Councils have made the payments to 357 small businesses since they opened the scheme at the start of June.

The £1.7million Cotswold payout means 233 businesses have received an average of £6,995 with a further 13 allocated funds which will be paid when the council receives further information.

The average grant agreed in the Forest of Dean is £7,155 with 124 businesses - and a further 36 allocated - sharing £1.1million.

Applications for grants from Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council closed on Sunday.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #878 - 08.25 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 1,382 as of 9am on June 24 - no increase since June 18.

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 Wednesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 226 and hasn't increased since June 8.

Of these deaths, 192 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Wednesday, June 24

Update #877 - 16.57 Canal charity calls on individuals to help tackle the global plastics crisis on their doorstep

Waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust is calling on people across England and Wales to help stop half a million pieces of plastic reaching the ocean by taking its Plastics Challenge this month.

The charity, which usually relies heavily on its army of volunteers to help clear the waterways of plastic and litter, has had to put volunteering activity on hold since mid-March due to coronavirus. At the same time, the need for people to 'stay local' has in some areas seen an increase in the number of people using their nearby towpath and the litter and plastic they bring with them.

Since the launch of its Plastics Challenge last spring until March this year, volunteers had given more than 10,000 hours a month to tackle the problem, and a survey showed that plastics and litter in and around the Trust's waterways had dropped by 30 per cent since last year. However, with all volunteer activity suspended since March, it is now feared that much of those environmental gains could have been lost during the coronavirus lockdown period.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #876 - 16.15 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 154

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 154 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 43,081 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 306,862 people have tested positive for the virus, with 232,086 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 24).

Update #875 - 14.55 Cheltenham Mayor presents charity cheque

Last Friday, Cheltenham's mayor presented Mayoral charities with a cheque for more than £9,000.

The total of £9,556.46 raised will be split equally between the Gloucestershire branch of Cruse Bereavement Care, a charity for bereaved adults and children and St Margaret's Hall a community venue in Hatherley.

Mayor, Cllr Roger Whyborn said: ''My chosen charities do great work and I was delighted to present them with this cheque. I thank everyone who supported our fundraising activities throughout the year. I will continue to do all I can to support local communities and our wonderful volunteer sector who do such valued work in the borough.''

Pete Wrighton, chair of Cruse Bereavement Care Gloucestershire, said: "We are very grateful to have been chosen as one of the Mayor's charities for 2019/20. This money will enable us to invest more in the training and support of our volunteers, especially as we anticipate a significant increase in the number of clients coming to us for support once the current lockdown ends."

Clive Taylor, vice chair St Margaret's Hall added: "We're really pleased to have been chosen as one of the Mayor's charities. This money will enable us to renew and upgrade the lighting in the hall. In doing so, we will be able to utilise the latest energy-saving fixtures and fittings, which will create a better experience for our users, and lower energy costs for the hall."

Update #874 - 14.52 "Independence Day" welcomed by Gloucestershire business

July 4 has been heralded as "Independence Day" for many small businesses which will be able to reopen after more than three months.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers which will able to open at the start of next month after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the latest, and largest, relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

They will need to adhere to guidelines published by the Government with a reduction of the two-metre social distancing rule to one-metre plus - meaning the gap between people can be cut in half if the right safety measures have been taken.

Those include reconfiguring seating, minimising self-service and wearing visors in the case of hairdressers with customers urged to book in advance and order online or through apps.

Punchline-Gloucester.com asked business figures from across Gloucestershire and beyond about the impact of the latest move.

READ MORE 

Update #873 - 13.18 Swissport to cut more than 4,500 jobs

Airport ground support company Swissport is planning to cut more than half of its UK workforce as the impact of the coronavirus crisis on aviation continues to be felt.

Chief executive Jason Holt said the company, which operates at airports across the UK, sad the company needed to take the decision to survive after seeing forecast revenue fall by around 50 er cent.

The GMB union said the company is consulting on 4,556 jobs.

Mr Holt said: "We are now facing a long period of uncertainty and reduced flight numbers, along with significant changes taking place to the way people travel and the way goods move around the world.

"There is no escaping the fact that the industry is now smaller than it was, and it will remain so for some time to come."

Update #872 - 13.07 Data protection fears over reopening guideline

Hospitality businesses have been warned they face a privacy minefield after being instructed to record customers contact details when they reopen next month.

The Government has told bars, restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses they can reopen from July 4 after being closed for more than three months during the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 safety guidelines include taking details of customers to help trace them in case of any coronavirus cases.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #871 - 11.41 Cheltenham Borough Council accredited licensing training restarts

Following a temporary suspension of training services as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the council's licensing team has reported that they can once again offer their Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) training.

With support from the awarding body, the team can now offer learners the choice of a full home learning option with remote invigilation for when they are ready to take the multiple choice exam. The new online learning option provides learners with the option to learn and take the exam at their own pace and from the safety of their own homes.

The Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders training is a statutory requirement for all personal licence holders working in the licensed sector such as pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Boris Johnson announced on June 23 further easing of COVID-19 restrictions including the reopening of other licensed venues such as pubs, restaurants, hotels and cinemas. The council says that the introduction of the new online learning option will provide an opportunity for licensed venues and owner to train new and existing staff in preparation for their reopening.

Update #870 - 11.18 New 'reserve and collect' library service to be launched

A new service is set to become available for users of Gloucestershire libraries enabling them to collect items.

Libraries have been closed since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be fully reopened yet.

The new service will ensure customers can request books, DVDs and other available materials that they would like to borrow and book a slot for collection.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #869 - 10.35 Which businesses can reopen on July 4?

Businesses across England are working through new guidance from the Government which will enable them to reopen on July 4.

Hairdressers, hotels and pubs are among the businesses which have been given the all clear to resume trading - providing they are COVID-19 secure.

The move follows the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rule.

While advising two metres when possible, he said a one-metre plus rule - meaning people can be one metre apart if suitable safety precautions are taken - could be used to help more businesses reopen.

READ MORE 

Update #868 - 10.23 Nation heads online during lockdown

Adults across the UK spent an average of four hours online during April as video calls and home working soared during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Online Nation report by communications watchdog Ofcom said 70 per cent made at least one video call a week with the average time online rising from three and half hours in September.

Video conferencing app Zoom soared from 659,000 users in January to 13 million in April while nearly half of UK adults made at least one WhatsApp video call each week.

Ofcom's director of strategy and research Yih-Choung Teh said: "Lockdown may leave a lasting digital legacy. Coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work and communicate online, with millions of people using online video services for the first time."

Update #867 - 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 remains at 1,382 as of 9am on June 23 - no increase since June 18.

Figures show that the area with the largest number of positive cases is South Gloucestershire with 406 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 Tuesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 226 and hasn't increased since June 8.

Of these deaths, 192 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Tuesday, June 23

Update #866 - 17.03 MoD plan to release Tewkesbury land for housing

Plans to build a garden town for Tewkesbury have received a boost by Ministry of Defence plans for its site at Ashchurch.

The MoD says it is developing a programme of investment for the site - including releasing around 15 hectares for housing.

The rest of the base will be renovated and modernised.

READ MORE 

Update #865 - 16.40 County lines drug dealers caught red-handed five days after release

Two drug dealers arrested in a Gloucester house were still wearing the prison clothes they had been released in just five days earlier, a court heard yesterday (June 22).

(L2R) Salman Mohamoud and Mohamed Osman

Salman Mohamoud, 20, of Caversham Road, Camden, London, and Mohamed Osman, 21, of Old St, Islington, London, had been in custody in Bridgend, South Wales, accused of drug supply, and were released on June 28th 2019 wearing grey prison-issue tracksuits and plimsolls, Gloucester crown court was told.

By July 3rd 2019, they had 'cuckooed' the terraced home of several vulnerable drug addicts including a woman sex worker in Robinhood St, Gloucester, and were dealing in heroin and cocaine from the property they had invaded, the court was told.

Police raided the house that day and arrested Osman, Mohamoud and a third man all in the Bridgend prison clothing, said prosecutor Giles Nelson.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #864 - 16.20 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 171

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 171 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 42,927 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 306,210 people have tested positive for the virus, with 237,142 tests performed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (June 23).

Update #863 - 16.16 Temporary relaxation of A-board rules

Businesses in Cheltenham which are disadvantaged by their location will be allowed to benefit from additional A-board advertising, as part of recovery from the effects of the lockdown.

The relaxation of A-board enforcement by Cheltenham Borough Council is a commitment set out in the licensing recovery plan and follows the government's 'safer public places - urban centres and green spaces' guidance.

For a period of up to six months, businesses that are disadvantaged due to their location will be allowed to use an A-board, provided it doesn't cause a significant obstruction to the highway and is placed directly outside the business. Under normal circumstances, all businesses would need a permit from the council to use an A-board or face potential enforcement action.

READ MORE 

Update #862 - 16.00 End of the line for daily Downing Street briefings

It has become part of the daily routine during the coronavirus lockdown but today's daily afternoon government briefing will be the last one.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead today's Downing Street briefing alongside chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, but after today they will only be held for major announcements.

A No 10 spokesman confirmed: "From today, the press conferences will no longer be daily.

"We'll continue to hold press conferences to coincide with significant announcements, including with the PM.

"We will be publishing all of the date which has previously been included in the press conference slides on gov.uk every week day."

The briefings began on March 16, a week before lockdown restrictions were introduced, when the number of people who had died from COVID-19 had reached 36.

Update #861 - 15.56 Shoe Zone plans to close 20 shops

Shoe Zone has become the latest high street retailer to announce job losses amid plans to close 20 stores.

The shoe firm, which has outlets in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury and Ross-on-Wye, said it is planning to reopen 470 of its 490 UK shops by the end of June.

Jobs are also set to go as part of a head office reorganisation with all discretionary spending suspended.

Earlier this year the company warned business rates would need to change or it would be forced to close 100 shops.

Update #860 - 15.54 Monthly rise but house sales cut in half

House sales rose by 16 per cent from April to May, but were only half the amount of the same month last year.

HMRC's provisional figures revealed around 48,500 property transactions across the UK in May - down 49.6 per cent from 12 months ago.

Most of the month's figures involve sales delayed during the coronavirus lockdown but revived once restrictions on the property market in England were lifted on May 13.

Update #859 - 14.53 Canalside cafe won't reopen after lockdown

With news expected today that social distancing is to be adjusted to one metre, one Gloucestershire cafe has still decided to call it a day.

Upper Lock Cafe in Stroud has announced that it won't be reopening its doors.

In a statement on Facebook, the cafe's owner said: "It is with great sadness that I have to tell you, all our lovely customers, that I won't be reopening the Upper Lock Cafe when lockdown restrictions are lifted. We have had an amazing 6 years. I would like to thank our loyal staff, all the artists who have exhibited, and of course a special thanks to all of you, our customers, who have made the cafe such a cheerful place over the years."

Customers and artists alike have responded with sadness at the news, with many sharing fond memories of their time at the cafe and their favourite items from the menu.

Update #858 - 12.54 Council announces new drop-in service for young people who need someone to talk to

Together with its health partners, Gloucestershire County Council is launching a new anonymous, one-to-one telephone/online chat drop-in service for children and young people struggling with their mental health.

Tic+ Chat (pronounced tic chat) is for young people aged between nine and 21 years old who need someone to talk to and it goes live today at 5pm. It is funded by the county council and is commissioned jointly with Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group for the next 12 months.

This is a challenging time for everyone. We've all experienced sudden changes in our routines and are living with uncertainty. For some young people, the pandemic may also worsen or trigger anxieties they were already struggling with.

READ MORE 

Update #857 - 11.05 Ex-Chanceller calls for tax help for businesses

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid has called for low business taxes to base the UK's economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis on "a dynamic private sector and low taxes".

He was writing in a report for conservative think tank the Centre for Policy Studies which said a quick bounce back is unlikely but warned against a return to austerity.

Mr Javid said: "If we want to support and stimulate employment, then axiomatically the best option is to cut the payroll tax - employer's National Insurance.

"Tax employment less, and all other things being equal you will end up with more of it.

"If we want to secure the strongest possible recovery, it's essential that no stone is left unturned."

Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has also called for an emergency VAT cut to boost consumer spending, as he did after the 2008 financial crisis.

Other recommendations include a temporary cut in VAT and bringing forward infrastructure projects which are ready to begin work to stimulate activity.

Update #856 - 11.03 One in six car jobs will go without help

One in six jobs could be lost in the UK car industry unless it receives government help as it restarts production following the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 6,000 jobs have been lost in the industry this month and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says more will follow without measures to help.

The trade body called for emergency funding, permanent short-time working, VAT cuts and business rate holidays.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes told the BBC: "A third of our workforce remains furloughed, and we want those staff coming back to work, not into redundancy,

"Government's intervention has been unprecedented. But the job isn't done yet.

"Just as we have seen in other countries, we need a package of support to restart, to build demand, volumes and growth - and keep the UK at the forefront of the global automotive industry."

Update #855 - 11.00 Two years for house prices to recover, says survey

House prices will take two years to recover from the expected fall from the impact of the coronavirus, according to latest figures.

According to a poll of market analysts by Reuters, house prices - which had been expected to rise two per cent this year - are predicted to fall by five per cent in 2020, although that climbs to 11 per cent in the worst estimates.

The poll forecasts a ride of 1.5 per cent in 2021 and 3.5 per cent in 2022 as the recovery takes hold.

While more than half of those polled said recovery in the property market activity would be gradual, just over five per cent predicted it would be quick with the same number saying it had already bounced back.

Update #854 - 09.40 Work set to resume at King's Walk and King's Square

Gloucester city leaders have praised partners' commitment to the £95million regeneration of Gloucester's King's Quarter as safe progress continues during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Inside King's Walk, with more retailers opening and others preparing to return, contractors have been working to strip out the former BHS unit on Eastgate. This is expected to be completed in early 2021 with the opening of a major new flagship store.

Work on the multi-million pound upgrade to King's Square that was put on hold in the lockdown period, will be recommencing shortly.

READ MORE 

Update #853 - 08.44 Unpaid energy bills can be chased again

Energy regulator Ofgem has given the green light for unpaid bills to be pursued - but have urged suppliers to avoid aggressive collection tactics.

Bailiffs have been stopped from chasing many unpaid bills during the coronavirus pandemic with the Government extending that ban for debts such as parking fines or Council Tax until August 24.

Energy companies paused chasing outstanding bills and helped negotiate help for households struggling to pay, as have mortgage and credit card companies.

But Ofgem has said it is now "fair" for civil enforcement officers to chase unpaid bills - within reason.

READ MORE 

Update #852 - 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 for Monday (June 22) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 42,647 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 15 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, there have now been a total of 226 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Monday. No increase on the day before.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 192 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 1,382 as of yesterday afternoon - also no increase on the day before.

Monday, June 22

Update #851 - 16.08 Order books showing little sign of new chapter

Any slight recovery in the high street and online spending has not been reflected in the the UK's factories, according to new figures.

The Confederation of British Industries' survey said only 17 per cent of manufacturing companies had produced more in the last three months than the previous quarter - before coronavirus restrictions were introduced.

By contrast, 74 per cent said they had produced less over the latest quarter - the negative gap between the figures setting a new low since records began in 1975.

Only 13 per cent of firms reported order books above normal for the time of year with just two per cent putting the level of export orders above normal.

CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said: "The government has already undertaken a huge amount of work to provide financial lifelines to businesses throughout this unprecedented period.

"With firms having been encouraged to restart operations, the government must continue to engage with the sector to understand their specific concerns and provide support as needed."

Update #850 - 15.40 Work set to resume at King's Walk and King's Square

Gloucester city leaders today praised partners' commitment to the £95m regeneration of Gloucester's King's Quarter as safe progress continues during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Inside King's Walk, with more retailers opening and others preparing to return, contractors have been working to strip out the former BHS unit on Eastgate. This is expected to be completed in early 2021 with the opening of a major new flagship store.

Work on the multi-million pound upgrade to King's Square that was put on hold in the lockdown period, will be restarting shortly.

Preparation works to the Square, which were paused in March, have now resumed including tests to check the strength and condition of the paving and foundations. 

Shallow foundations have also been dug out and the existing telephone boxes are being relocated.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #849 - 15.21 Leaked video warns of Pret "job situation"

Pret a Manger looks like being the latest high street name to face job closures after details of an online meeting was leaked on social media.

Video of the meeting, which was posted on Twitter, shows chief executive Pano Christou telling staff that an announcement on the "job situation" would be made on July 8.

Pret asked consultants to negotiate rents last month when it said it was putting together a plan to deal with the drop in trade following the coronavirus outbreak.

A company spokeswoman told the BBC: "Transparency is very important in our business and we will make sure that Pret's team members are the first to hear about any changes.

"We will update our team members in early July once the plan has been finalised."

Update #848 - 15.19 Centrica looks at budget gas supplier

British Gas could face competition from a new, cheaper supplier - run by its owner.

Centrica, which earlier this month announced plans to cut 5,000 jobs, is believed to be trialling a digital-only brand.

The no-frills service is set to be based on a test website called British Gas X with accounts managed online and no exit fees.

Update #847 - 15.00 Chancellor urged to continue support through recovery

The Federation of Small Businesses has written to the Chancellor outlining the measures it says are needed for its members to bounce back from recession.

Support for small businesses and the self-employed has been central to the Government's emergency measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

And the FSB is calling on Rishi Sunak has called for a similar approach in recovery plans.

In the letter, FSB chairman Mike Cherry warned "against excessive pessimism", arguing "a strong recovery is possible" so long as "further fiscal response... is calibrated to the extent of continuing temporary restrictions."

Reiterating its call on a reduction of the two-metre social distancing guideline, the letter also called for introduction of back to work vouchers to cover the costs of on-site safety adjustments.

READ MORE 

Update #846 - 13.25 Cheltenham prioritises walking and cycling as high street reopens

Cheltenham Borough Council has put forward ambitious proposals to increase walking and cycling in the town to create space for social distancing.

The latest plans have been drawn up by the council in response to the government's Active Travel Fund - a new emergency fund created to support local authorities to implement temporary interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist longer term projects that will improve local walking and cycling facilities. These plans are ideas at this stage and will need to be tested if they are supported by the county council.

Last week, much of Cheltenham's high street and non-essential retailers reopened their doors to the public for the first time in almost three months.

Working in partnership with colleagues from Gloucestershire County Council, Cheltenham BID and Stagecoach, Cheltenham Borough Council has introduced a number of new temporary measures designed to enable safe social distancing, including the temporary widening of footpaths and the re-siting of bus stops.

READ MORE 

Update #845 - 13.00 Outdoor retailer to call in the administrators

The owner of camping and hiking specialist retailer Go Outdoors is set to call in administrators as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pile pressure on the high street.

JD Sports, which owns the chain which has a large store in Gloucester, said it had looked into options for Go Outdoors and that administration seemed to be the way forward, as reported by the BBC.

Go Outdoors employs about 2,400 staff across its 67 stores, which has been owned by JD Sports since 2016. The chain was already struggling before forced closure under lockdown hit it harder.

SEE MORE 

Update #844 - 10.47 TUI plans holiday take-off for July

Travel company TUI is planning to resume taking British holiday makers abroad from next month.

Eight destinations in Greece, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands will be served from three UK airports from July 11 - provided travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office permits.

The first part of a phased restart would see up to 8,300 people travelling on 44 flights a week to Ibiza, Palma, Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

A further eight destinations and two more UK airports would follow in the second phase from the end of next month.

Safety measures would included mandatory face masks on board planes with extra cleaning and disinfecting.

Update #843 - 10.45 Government poised to cut distance and open pubs

Pints may have to be ordered via an app with patrols enforcing social distancing under guidelines expected to be announced for the July 4 reopening of the hospitality industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the regulations for pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels tomorrow, together with a possible relaxation from the two-metre social distancing guidelines to one metre.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told Sky News the change in social distancing would be "the difference between surviving and businesses going to the wall".

Update #842 - 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 (June 21) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 42,632 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 43 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, there have now been a total of 226 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Sunday. No increase on the day before.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 192 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 1,380 as of yesterday afternoon.

Related Articles

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Wednesday, August 12 Image

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Wednesday, August 12

The latest important news and updates from across Gloucestershire as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Spirax-Sarco beats projected performance Image

Spirax-Sarco beats projected performance

Sales and profits fell less than expected for Spirax-Sarco Engineering in the first six months of the year - but it has warned of tough end to 2020.

Gloucestershire unemployed benefits more than double in last year Image

Gloucestershire unemployed benefits more than double in last year

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits across Gloucestershire has more than doubled in the last year.

MP questions Police and Crime Commissioner's no-bid decision Image

MP questions Police and Crime Commissioner's no-bid decision

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has repeated his call for details on why Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl did not bid for a share of a £25million government fund.

Copyright 2020 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.