Coronavirus: £330bn in loans pledged to support UK firms

The measures are part of a huge economic stimulus package announced by the UK Government.

Getty Images

Up to £330bn in government-backed loans have been pledged to support UK businesses through the coronavirus crisis as part of a huge economic stimulus package announced by the Chancellor.

Massively escalating emergency financial measures revealed in last week’s Budget – where £30bn in stimulus was pledged to help tackle the economic impact of Covid-19 – Chancellor Rishi Sunak vowed the Treasury would do “whatever it takes” to support individuals and firms.

Sunak also revealed homeowners in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus will be able to take a three-month holiday from mortgage payments.

For businesses, he said the “unprecedented package” of loan guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP – could go further if demand is greater.

ADVERT

Sunak added: “That means any business who needs  access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.

“And if demand is greater than the initial £330bn I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required.

“I said whatever it takes, and I meant it.”

The Chancellor, speaking at the daily coronavirus press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also said he was extending the business rates holiday to all English businesses in the hospitality sector and funding grants of up to £25,000 for smaller businesses.

ADVERT

Business rates and business support in general are devolved in Scotland but finance secretary Kate Forbes pledged similar levels of relief in the wake of the Budget last week.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Scottish Government would “pass every penny of consequential funding” from the Chancellor’s measures onto businesses in Scotland.

And responding to Sunak’s latest measures, Forbes said: “A welcome announcement by the Chancellor.

“I am committed to ensuring that funding allocated to Scotland is used to support people and businesses facing the financial and economic impact of Covid-19.”

The Chancellor indicated the latest injection of investment would see an extra £3.5bn go to the devolved nations for business support.

Speaking in Downing Street, the Chancellor said: “Every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant … will pay no business rates for 12 months,” he said.

Sunak continued: “To support liquidity amongst larger firms I have today agreed a new lending facility with the governor of the Bank of England to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper.

ADVERT

“To support lending to small and medium sized businesses, I am extending the new business interruption loan scheme I announced at Budget last week so that rather than loans of £1.2m it will now provide loans of up to £5m with no interest due for the first six months.

“Both of these schemes will be up and running by the start of next week.”

Sunak added that further measures to support the financial security of families and individuals would be announced “in the coming days”.

He said: “In particular, I will work with trade unions and business groups to urgently develop new forms of employment support to help protect people’s jobs and their incomes through this period.”

Speaking before the Chancellor, the PM said his government was working to tackle the crisis at a public health level and an economic level with a “profound sense of urgency”.

He added: “We must act like a wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy.

“We support millions of businesses and tens of millions families and individuals through coming months.”

‘Scotland is ready to play its part for a successful COP26’

The COP26 UN climate change conference runs from October 31 to November 12.

georgeclerk via IStock
The Scottish Government has announced details of its COP26 programme.

Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at COP26, energy secretary Michael Matheson has said.

The Scottish Government has announced details of its COP26 programme, as Matheson said this must be the moment that the world “moves from promises to action”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make two keynote addresses this week, setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions for COP26 on Monday before opening the UN’s Conference of Youth on Thursday.

The COP26 UN climate change conference runs from October 31 to November 12 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

ADVERT

The Scottish Government will co-host the Multi-level Action Pavilion in the official Cop Blue Zone to showcase the vital role of states and regions in the international response to the climate crisis.

The pavilion will be opened on November 1 and Scotland will also play a prominent role in the Peatland, Nordic and Cryosphere Pavilions in the Blue Zone.

Matheson said: “Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at what will be one of the most important global gatherings of the 21st century.

“This must be the moment that the world moves from promises to action. For COP26 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, governments at all levels, businesses, civil society and communities need to work together to agree ambitious actions and the finance and resources needed to deliver them.

ADVERT

“Scottish Ministers will participate in events and discussions throughout Cop and we will use our position as co-chair of the Under 2 Coalition to help deliver that ambition, and to demonstrate that global climate action requires ambitious action by governments at all levels.

“This is also a unique opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world – including what our businesses and communities are doing to meet our world-leading climate targets.”

Sturgeon will take part in formal presidency events that will profile the action and ambitions of women, young people and states, and will join the UN High Level Champions to promote the role that can be played by governments at all levels in tackling climate change.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have also joined forces to create Scotland’s Climate Ambition Zone, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, to showcase the best of Scotland’s innovative low-carbon businesses.

The initiative is described as a “shop window of the best of Scotland’s climate action”, with more than 60 in-person or hybrid events.

More on:

‘We can restore our damaged peatlands – but we’ll need help’

Efforts are under way across Scotland to repair eroded peatlands in a bid to help fight climate change.

STV News

Peatland experts believe ambitious targets to restore damaged landscapes can be met – but only if more specialist contractors are hired.

The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years to help fight climate change.

Peatlands filter much of the water we drink, provide habitats for wildlife and draw in more carbon from the environment than forests.

When they are eroded and burned to be used as fuel and compost, they emit more carbon than they store, and experts believe 80% of Scotland’s peatland is damaged.

ADVERT

‘Pathway to recovery’

Diggers are being used to smooth and recover peat at the Cairngorms National Park in a bid to restore them to their natural state.

Stephen Corcoran, peatlands programme manager at the park, which features some of the highest peatlands in the UK, said: “It’s a pathway to recovery, but the process does take a while.

“We’ll need more skilled contractors to help us with this project going forward because it is a massive area that needs to be restored.”

STV News
The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years.
ADVERT

Meanwhile, peatland action project officer Sue White is working to restore damaged landscape in Shetland.

Peatland that should be naturally covered in protective vegetation has been exposed and is emitting carbon.

“This sort of landscape is losing somewhere around 23.8 tonnes of carbon equivalent every year and we’ve got 40,000 hectares of it in Shetland,” she said.

“That alone is putting a huge amount of CO2 into the air, but we can turn it around quite simply.

“This funding is a good start. Going forward it is going to need private investment, but investors are very interested because you can sell carbon.”

The Scottish Government said it hopes the funding will help to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland by 2030.


Rally held in George Square to highlight Glasgow ‘waste crisis’

A day of action was held on Saturday.

STV News
There are calls for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors.

Bags of rubbish have been dumped outside of Glasgow City Council as part of a day of action calling for more investment to tackle the city’s “waste crisis”.

Campaigners from the GMB Union and Living Rent held a rally in George Square on Saturday.

They have called for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors, as well as the reduction of agency staff to less than 5%.

They are also calling for an end to the bulk uplift charge and the re-introduction of back court teams.

ADVERT

The rubbish dumped in George Square was collected by action teams from different streets and backcourts in Govanhill, Govan, Partick and Dennistoun, as evidence of what they say is the council’s “neglect”.

People gather in George Square as part of the rally. (STV News)

Living Rent Dennistoun branch Chair Caroline Robertson insisted that cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

She said: “As COP26 approaches and the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, communities in the east end need to make GCC clean up its act and invest in more clenny workers to keep our streets clean.

“GCC ‘sprucing up’ Glasgow and passing responsibility for street cleaning onto communities to impress tourist heads of state is utterly insulting.”

ADVERT

Robertson added: “Clenny workers have been essential before the pandemic, during and will continue to be. They’re fighting an uphill battle to keep streets clean.

“Cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

“This isn’t just Glasgow City Council’s problem. If the money isn’t there, then the Scottish Government needs to ensure it is. Glasgow’s MSPs can’t be allowed to pass the buck.”


Where can I go as Glasgow roads start closing for COP26?

Everything you need to know about travelling around Glasgow during the UN climate conference.

georgeclerk via IStock

Parts of Glasgow will start locking down on Saturday ahead of the COP26 United Nations climate conference.

The summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the River Clyde from October 31 to November 12.

But residents and commuters are being warned to expect delays across the city from this weekend.

So, where are you allowed to go as COP26 takes over Glasgow?

Road closures

ADVERT

The scale of the event in Glasgow is unprecedented and the council has warned people that roads will be “extremely busy”.

The city’s motorway network – including the M8, M77 and M74 – are all at risk of major congestion.

And the Clydeside Expressway, which normally sees around 100,000 vehicles each day, will be closed between Partick and Anderston from October 23 to November 15.

Official alternative routes involve drivers using some of the busiest roads in the city by going through the Clyde Tunnel, parallel to the Expressway on Dumbarton Road and Argyle Street, or Great Western Road, through Charing Cross.

ADVERT

Stobcross Road, which runs between the Expressway and the SEC, has already been closed due to works, and will not open again until November 21.

Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
Red shows areas at risk of congestion with roads expected to be significantly busier than usual on the first day of the conference.

Pressure is expected to be diverted on to the A739 Clyde Tunnel, which runs north to south under the river, as well as Paisley Road West, Great Western Road and Dumbarton Road.

The disruption from COP26 comes on top of traffic chaos already being caused by the ongoing repairs to the M8 Woodside Viaduct north of the city centre.

Get Ready Glasgow via Glasgow City Council
Alternate routes for the COP26 road closures from October 23 until November 15.

COP26 road closures in full

  • Congress Road, closed from 6am, October 10, until 6am, November 17.
  • Congress Way, Finnieston Quay, Tunnel Street, Stobcross Road (section parallel to A814) and Castlebank Street, subject to lane restrictions and closures between October 17 and 23, with full closure from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 21.
  • Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) and Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 23 until 6am on November 15. The roads will be open to service buses only.
  • Finnieston Street, from Houldsworth Street to Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 15. Local Access southbound will be maintained until October 28.
  • Clydeside Expressway, from Partick Interchange to Anderston (Junction 19), closed from 9pm on October 23, until 6am on November 15.
  • Minerva Street and West Greenhill Place, closed from 6am on October 28, until 6am on November 13, with local access to private carparks maintained.
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: SEC and Finnieston
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: Partick and Transport Museum
Get Ready Glasgow via GCC
COP26 Road Closures: Anderston and M8

Can I still ride my bike?

Cycling is encouraged during the summit, but pedestrian and cycle routes around the SEC will be affected, with campaigners arguing that the closures go against the ethos of the conference.

Glasgow City Council has suspended public access around the venue – the site covering Finnieston and Pacific Quay, Millennium and Bells bridges and a number of paths will be out of bounds from October 21 to November 19.

Access will banned from the following routes:

  • C93E (Millennium Bridge)
  • C93F (Bells Bridge)
  • Part of C93 (Clyde Walkway (North) between Beith Way and Finnieston Street)
  • Part of C93A (between Finnieston Quay and Minerva Street)
  • C93C (between the Riverside Museum and Stobcross Road)
  • Part of C109 (Clyde Walkway (South) at Pacific Quay)
  • Part of C54A (Expressway Overbridge at Anderston)
  • Part of C54B (M8 Overbridge at Anderston)
  • River Kelvin ‘Core Path on Water’ at Kelvin Harbour

Will public transport be running?

The conference will be disrupted by rail strikes after members of the RMT union backed industrial action.

ADVERT

ScotRail workers will strike from November 1 to 12 amid a dispute over pay and conditions.

jax10289 via IStock

RMT members on the Caledonian Sleeper service, which is run by Serco, will also strike from October 31 to November 2 and from November 11 to 13.

Sunday train services in Scotland have been crippled for months as workers protest over pay and conditions.

Are tourist attractions open?

Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s culture and leisure venues, is closing six sites to “minimise disruption” during COP26.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Transport Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art will be closed throughout the conference.

georgeclerk via IStockPhoto
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Kelvin Hall will also be closed from October 28 to November 1 and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre will also be shut from October 31 to November 2.


In pictures: When Clydebank reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals

Clydebank took on Celtic at Hampden in the 1989/90 Scottish Cup semi-finals.

SNS via SNS Group
Sean Sweeney can't believe he hasn't scored for Clydebank after leaving Celtic keeper Pat Bonner on his knees.

Clydebank are back in the Scottish Cup for the first time in 20 years – and will take on Elgin City in a televised second-round clash on Monday.

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of decades for the former league stalwarts, whose name was controversially wiped off the football map following a takeover by Airdrie United, before they rose from the ashes as a junior outfit.

Now plying their trade in the West of Scotland Premier League, they’ve earned a spot on the road to Hampden, the venue for their 1989/90 season semi-final against Celtic.

Although they lost 2-0, they gave Billy McNeill’s side plenty of scares on a memorable afternoon for the Bankies, who were once sponsored by chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet.

ADVERT

In pictures, here’s a look back at the time Clydebank reached the last four of the Scottish Cup, their best ever run in the competition.

SNS via SNS Group
Andy Walker gets the better of Jim Gallagher to open the scoring for Celtic.
SNS via SNS Group
Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner pushes a shot from Clydebank’s John Davies round the post.
SNS via SNS Group
Clydebank’s Paul Harvey and Celtic midfielder Steve Fulton battle for possession.
SNS via SNS Group
Sean Sweeney thinks he’s scored for Clydebank, but his effort drifts wide.
SNS via SNS Group
Clydebank goalkeeper Jim Gallagher.
SNS via SNS Group
Clydebank’s Sean Sweeney chases Celtic striker Dariusz Dziekanowski.

People urged to stay away from A&E unless condition ‘life-threatening’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has made the call as health boards across the country face continued pressure due to Covid.

Fintastique via IStock
NHSGGC: The health board is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their condition is 'life-threatening'.

A top doctor at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their “condition is life-threatening”.

The call comes as the Covid pandemic continues to put NHS boards across the country under massive pressure.

Earlier this week, NHS Lanarkshire moved to its highest risk level – dubbed ‘code black’ – which has seen the health board postpone scheduled hospital treatments, including some cancer procedures.

NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Borders and NHS Grampian recently requested help from the armed forces. Soldiers are also providing support to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

ADVERT

On Saturday, NHSGGC said that over a seven-day period, 32% of the people who attended Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s emergency department did so with “minor injuries and issues” including sprained ankles, lower back pain, cut fingers and bruising.

Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for NHSGGC, said: “We want to thank all of our staff for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time.

“Unfortunately, our emergency departments are still seeing people who do not need to be there, with minor ailments such as dental pain, urinary tract infections, sore throats of less than one day, period pain, cuts and scrapes.

“Attending A&E with these minor conditions not only adds to the pressure facing our staff but also impacts on waiting times.

ADVERT

“We would urge everyone that, unless their condition is life-threatening, they should not attend an emergency department.”

Those in any doubt over who they should contact are being urged to call NHS 24 on 111.

Dr Davidson added: “If necessary you will be given an onward referral to our Flow Navigation Centre Team, who will call you back and undertake a virtual consultation.

“This can be undertaken in your own home and may mean the condition can be treated without you leaving home.

“Should you need to attend an emergency department, the team will instruct you to do so.

“Our partner GP surgeries across the board area are open, and the GP out-of-hours service for urgent problems, over the weekend, can also be accessed by calling 111.

“Pharmacies also have expert knowledge and can advise on minor ailments, or give simple healthcare advice.

ADVERT

“I would like to thank members of the public who have continued to use 111 to access the correct care for their support and understanding during what continues to be a challenging time for everyone.”

Firefighters called to reports of tenement blaze

The alarm was raised at around 7.30pm.

PA Media
There were no reports of any injuries.

Firefighters have been called to reports of a blaze in the west end of Glasgow.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said three fire engines and a high reach appliance went to the scene on Byres Road when the alarm was raised at around 7.30pm on Saturday.

Firefighters could be seen in flats on the first to third floors of the tenement building where they appeared to be opening windows.

An ambulance was also at the scene of the incident, which was at the junction with Havelock Street.

ADVERT

There were no reports of any injuries.


Weather warning as heavy rain expected to drench parts of Scotland

The Met Office has issued a yellow alert from 9pm on Saturday through to 9am on Sunday.

Mammuth via IStock
Rain: The Met Office has issued a yellow alert from 9pm on Saturday through to 9am on Sunday.

Heavy rain is expected to drench parts of Scotland this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, with Scots urged to prepare for travel disruption and flooding.

The downpour is expected between 9pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.

Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Argyll and Bute, Renfrewshire and Stirling are likely to see most of the bad weather.

Met Office via Website
Saturday and Sunday: The weather warning for rain.
ADVERT

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has so far issued seven flood alerts.

Experts have warned that homes and businesses could flood due to the rainfall.

Spray and sudden flooding could also lead to difficult driving conditions.

The Met Office said: “Persistent, heavy rain may lead to some disruption, especially to travel.”

Body found in search for missing Royal Conservatoire acting student

Police recovered Timothy Chiwaula's body from the River Clyde in Glasgow on Friday.

Police Scotland
Glasgow: Police recovered Timothy Chiwaula's body from the River Clyde on Friday.

The body of a missing Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student has been found.

Timothy Chiwaula, 23, was last seen in Glasgow’s Old Shettleston Road on Monday, October 11.

Police recovered his body from the River Clyde next to Glasgow Green on Friday.

The acting student’s family has been made aware.

ADVERT

On Saturday, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 4am on Friday, October 22, police were called after the body of a man was discovered in the water next to Glasgow Green.

“The deceased has been formally identified as Timothy Chiwaula who had been reported missing from the Glasgow area. His family are aware.

“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“The media and members of the public are thanked for their support during our investigation.”

ADVERT

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, RCS Principal: “We’re absolutely devastated to hear of Tim’s death and our thoughts are with his family, his friends and all those who knew and loved him.

“Within our community, Tim was known as a young man of warmth and great potential. He will be missed very much.

“This is a close-knit community and our focus now is ensuring our students and staff are supported as we all come to terms with this terrible news.”

More on:

You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?