Schoolboys burst into rendition of Beatles classic on train

Alfie King and Jack Mullen were returning from a gig when they decided to have a singsong.

Two schoolboys enjoyed an impromptu singalong on a train.

Friends Alfie King, 11, and Jack Mullen, 13, sang a rousing rendition of The Beatles classic Let It Be during their journey, and have been praised on social media for their singing voices.

The pair were returning from a gig at King Tut’s in Glasgow at which they had both performed

Both have plenty of singing experience, with Alfie performing on The Voice Kids in 2019 and Jack gigging since the summer.


Coronavirus: 50 more people die as death toll reaches 126

A total of 2602 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Scotland, a rise of 292 in a day.

The death toll from coronavirus in Scotland has jumped by 50 to reach 126.

Reported Covid-19 patient deaths rose by two-thirds, up from 76 on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon said 40 of those 50 deaths took place over a number of days rather than in the last 24 hours, with delays in reporting due to family liaison issues.

The other ten deaths occurred within the last 24 hours.

A total of 2602 cases have been confirmed in Scotland, a rise of 292 – although the figure is believed to be a significant underestimate.

UK-wide, there have been 569 more deaths in the last 24-hour period, bringing the total to 2921.

At a Scottish Government briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said that 162 people were in intensive care with Covid-19, while 1282 patients overall are being treated for the illness in hospital.

A total of 18,128 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Scotland.

Sturgeon described coronavirus as a “cruel virus” as people are not allowed to spend time with loved ones in hospital.

She said a new reporting system for Covid-19 deaths will be put in place, meaning the daily figure of confirmed deaths will not rely solely on health boards but will also include data from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) death registration process.

As of next week, NRS will also begin to report on deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government was trying to be as “transparent as possible”.

Sturgeon also said there had been “significant” steps taken to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) would also be issuing new guidance on how PPE is distributed, she added.

On the issue of testing, the FM highlighted what tests “can and cannot achieve”.

Current tests, she said, could identify cases of Covid-19, but would be unable to detect the virus in the incubation period or if someone has previously had the virus.

The Scottish and UK governments are currently working on a more thorough antibody test.

Confirmed cases by NHS board area (and daily change)

Greater Glasgow and Clyde: 682 (+50)

Lothian: 356 (+45)

Lanarkshire: 320 (+36)

Tayside: 307 (+53)

Ayrshire and Arran: 221 (+22)

Forth Valley: 172 (+26)

Grampian: 128 (+20)

Fife: 119 (+23)

Dumfries and Galloway: 104 (+4)

Borders: 93 (+6)

Highland: 65 (+7)

Shetland: 30 (no change)

Western Isles: 3 (nc)

Orkney: 2 (nc)

Confirmed cases: Every health board in Scotland now has Covid-19 patients.

Live: Coronavirus news updates from across Scotland

People have been told to stay at home in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Pixabay
Coronavirus: The fight against the deadly virus continues.

4.55pm – British Airways to ‘furlough workers on 80% of pay’

British Airways will introduce its own modified version of the UK Government’s job retention scheme, with workers to be furloughed on 80% of pay, because of the coronavirus crisis.

That’s according to the Unite union, who has said the scheme will have no cap on earnings and added there will be no unpaid temporary lay-offs or redundancies.

4.36pm – Dirty tissues still an issue on ScotRail trains

ScotRail has said abandoned used tissues are still a problem on its trains as the train operator slammed it as “reckless behaviour”.

It issued a plea to customers to “please use the bins provided”.

4.17pm – Radio Clyde founder Lord Gordon dies from coronavirus

Lord Jimmy Gordon, STV’s former political editor and Radio Clyde’s founder, has passed away from coronavirus aged 83.

Gordon worked as political editor for STV between 1965 and 1973, before moving on to help set up Radio Clyde.

He remained as the station’s managing director until 1996 when he became chairman of what had grown into Scottish Radio Holdings.

Recognition: Lord Gordon was handed a CBE for services to broadcasting.

During this period he received a CBE for his services to Broadcasting and Public Life.

In 1997 he became a Labour life peer and took on the title Baron Gordon of Strathblane.

He was also a non-executive director of several listed companies, and a member of BP’s Scottish Advisory Board 1990-2003.

Gordon passed away on Tuesday at Glasgow Royal Infirmary after losing his battle with Covid-19.

3.35pm – Halfords offer to check NHS workers’ cars and bikes for free

Halfords has shown its appreciation for NHS staff and emergency service workers by offering a free ten point car check and bike service during the pandemic.

Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “Now more than ever the NHS and emergency workers need our help and support.

“Our research shows how vital their cars and bikes are in getting to and from work, so we want to do our bit and help the extraordinary people who are doing an incredibly trying job at the most difficult of times.”

Earlier, the AA launched a free breakdown service for all NHS workers.

That was followed by Forth Environment Link and Recyke-a-Bike joining forces with Cycling Scotland to offer free bikes to key workers in Forth Valley during April.

3.26pm – Dundee Flower and Food Festival cancelled

September’s flower and food festival has been cancelled because of coronavirus.

The popular horticulture, food and live entertainment event was due to be held on the weekend of September 4 at Camperdown Country Park.

However, the festival has been axed in line with guidelines relating to the combat of Covid-19.

Anne Rendall, convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee, said: “We appreciate that many people look forward to the Flower and Food Festival every year but the decision has been taken in the best interests of everyone involved.”

2.06pm: 50 more people die as death toll reaches 126

The death toll from coronavirus in Scotland has jumped by 50 to reach 126.

Reported Covid-19 patient deaths rose by two-thirds, up from 76 on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon said 40 of those 50 deaths took place over a number of days rather than in the last 24 hours, with delays in reporting due to family liaison issues. 

The other ten deaths occurred within the last 24 hours.

2pm: Children’s charity donates ‘ventilators’ to Ninewells Hospital

A global health charity based in Scotland has donated ten anaesthetic machines to help provide more intensive care beds at a Tayside hospital.

Edinburgh-based Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) has installed 25 paediatric operating rooms in 11 countries across Africa and South America and is later this year due to open the first such facility at a refugee camp in Kenya.

The ten specialist anaesthetic machines – which can act and will be used as ventilators – have been donated by the charity to Ninewells Hospital.

It will mean ten new intensive care beds at the hospital can help patients from Tayside and north-east Fife who have been seriously affected by coronavirus.

Kids Operating Room.
Kids Operating Room: Founders Nicola and Garreth Wood.

The charity’s co-founders Garreth and Nicola Wood said: “We know that this is the most challenging time ever to face healthcare systems around the world.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt thanks are with those on the frontline fighting Covid-19.

“KidsOR’s entire focus is on saving lives and we are proud to do that both overseas and now at home, too.

“We hope that this donation will help towards NHS Scotland providing the extra ICU capacity they need.”

1pm: Little and Large comedian dies in hospital

Comedian Eddie Large, best known for being part of double act Little and Large, has died after contracting Covid-19 in hospital.

Double act: Little and Large.

The 78-year-old was born in Glasgow, but grew up in Manchester.

Agent Peter Mansfield confirmed his death on Thursday.

Comedian: Eddie Large passed away in hospital.

On Facebook, the comedian’s son, Ryan McGinnis, wrote: “It is with great sadness that mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning.

“He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.”

12.30pm: Morrisons promises bonus to frontline staff

Staff at Morrisons have been told to expect a more than £1000 windfall as the company pledged to triple their annual bonuses.

Employees across the frontline of its supermarkets will be paid a 6% bonus on their earnings over the next 12 months, managers said on Thursday.

It represents an extra £1050 for full-time employees and will also be paid to staff who are off sick or self-isolating, Morrisons said.

The scheme also includes the new hires that the supermarket has made to help deal with added demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

12.15pm: National Lottery sets up £50m emergency fund

The National Lottery has set up a £50m emergency fund for British heritage sites after almost 50% said they will not survive beyond six months if the coronavirus shutdown continues.

Grants of between £3000 and £50,000 will be available to sites already funded by the organisation, primarily to train the workforce in digital skills to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.

These include digital fundraising, social media and online communications, and how to run online events and activities.

A survey by the National Lottery Heritage Fund of more than 1250 organisations in late March found 82% reported the shutdown was a high or moderate risk to their long-term viability.

About 35% said their financial reserves would be depleted within four months, and 46% said they would not be able to survive more than six months.

Asked what support they needed from the Heritage Fund and its partners, 75% said greater flexibility for existing projects and grants, and 53% said emergency funding.

The £50 million emergency fund will use cash diverted from planned new grants, with all new awards halted with immediate effect, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said.

12.07pm: Prisoner numbers ‘should be reduced during outbreak’

There should be a “concerted effort” to reduce the number of people detained in prisons and other facilities during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a group of watchdogs.

Scottish members of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), a group of 21 bodies that have powers to inspect or monitor places of detention, have written to the justice secretary.

They urged Humza Yousaf to ensure the rights of detained people are protected during the Covid-19  epidemic.

The impossibility of social distancing in prisons puts both staff and inmates at increased risk of infection, the letter said.

Signatories include the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland and the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

They recommend a number of steps including extra support for staff, ensuring detainees receive appropriate healthcare and setting up video systems such as Skype to allow families to keep in touch.

The justice secretary outlined measures to ensure the continuity of the justice system on Wednesday.

Hearings in criminal and civil courts can take place remotely and the time limit for unpaid work has been relaxed.

The release of prisoners will only be considered as a last resort, he said.

Certain categories, such as those serving life sentences and terrorist offenders, will be excluded.

12pm: Former RAF aircraft hangar could become temporary mortuary

Plans to use a disused aircraft hangar as a temporary mortuary have been agreed between a local authority and the Ministry of Defence.

Moray Council approached the MoD about proposals to use a hangar at Kinloss Barracks as part of its emergency planning procedure.

The council said it is hoped the hangar will not be needed but it has to plan to ensure measures are in place to deal with a worst-case scenario.

11am: Council finds solution to ‘free school meal’ payments

Angus Council said it has found a solution to ensure families have access to their free school meal entitlement.

The local authority said staff have been “working closely and at pace” across various services to enable ‘free school meal payments’ for 1895 parents or guardians of 2238 children.

The first payment of £44 – which includes two weeks’ payment in arrears and two weeks’ advance payment at £11 per child – will be deposited in bank accounts on Friday.

Regular fortnightly advance payments of £22 per child will be then be made from April 17.

For more information, go to angus.gov.uk.

10.36am: Man charged over ‘deliberate coughing’ during argument

Police have charged a man for “deliberately coughing” on another person during an argument amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The force said they would “not tolerate” that type of behaviour given the “current climate”.

The 60-year-old suspect is alleged to have coughed on the other man within a car park in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, on Wednesday morning.

10.30am: Free bikes for key workers

Forth Environment Link and Recyke-a-Bike have joined forces with Cycling Scotland to offer free bikes to key workers in Forth Valley during April.

The initiative will allow essential workers to get to and from work without using public transport during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Through the region’s two bike share schemes – nextbike and Forth Bike – 200 free memberships will be made available.

Saddle up: Free bikes will be made available to key workers in Forth Valley.

Clara Walker, executive director of Forth Environment Link, said: “As a local charity, we’re looking to support Forth Valley’s key workers in any way we can. 

“With public transport reduced and social distancing measures in place, getting around by bike is one of the best ways to travel to minimise the risk of transmission. 

“Daily exercise outside is also a great way to support our mental health and wellbeing at a challenging time like this. 

“We’ll be reviewing the free key worker memberships after a month, with a view to extending these if there is demand.”

9.20am: Temporary relief proposed for borrowers with overdrafts

Overdraft customers will be able to request zero-interest buffers of up to £500 over three months to help ease the financial impact of coronavirus, under new proposals from the City regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing a range of temporary “stop gap” measures to offer quick support to users of some consumer credit products.

The proposed measures will be subject to a brief consultation ending at 9am on Monday, April 6. 

If confirmed, they will be in place by the Thursday.

8.50am: Unite continues BA talks over coronavirus threat to jobs

Talks are continuing on Thursday over the fate of thousands of British Airways workers who face being laid off because of the coronavirus crisis.

The airline, which has grounded much of its fleet, has been in negotiations with the Unite union all week.

Cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office staff are likely to have their jobs suspended but redundancies are not expected.

A Unite spokesman said: “Unite has been working around the clock to protect thousands of jobs and to ensure the UK comes out of this unprecedented crisis with a viable aviation sector.

“Talks with British Airways are ongoing and Unite’s priority is always to communicate with our members, who are very anxious at this time but who understand the work that Unite is doing to protect jobs, incomes and futures.”

BA said talks were continuing.

8.09am: Brewery vows to cut off beer supply to Wetherspoons

A Glasgow brewery has vowed to stop supplying Wetherspoons in response to the pub chain’s treatment of staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

West Brewery said they would “rather sweep the streets” than do business with Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin.

West Brewery.
Glasgow: West Brewery has vowed to stop supplying Wetherspoons.

Pubs and restaurants were told to shut by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of measures to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 on Friday, March 20.

Martin came under fire for failing to initially assure his staff that their wages would be paid while they were unable to go into work.

In response to a Twitter post asking if the brewery, based at Glasgow Green, would consider stopping its supply of artisan beers to Wetherspoons, a spokesperson responded: “Don’t worry. We made that decision last week. 

“We’d rather sweep the streets than do business with people like him.”

7.15am: Lockdown brewing ‘perfect storm’ for online child abusers

Children stuck at home using the internet during lockdown is brewing a “perfect storm” for offenders to abuse online, the NSPCC has warned.

The children’s charity is concerned that predators could take advantage of the crisis, with social networks relying more heavily on artificial intelligence as human moderators adjust to home working.

“The impact of the coronavirus lockdown has increased online risks and brewed a perfect storm for offenders to abuse children,” said Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC.

“The public health emergency is creating major challenges across society, and like all of us tech firms must adapt.

“It’s vital they set out how they are prioritising protecting children by identifying and disrupting offenders with fewer moderation resources available.”

6.50am: William and Kate phone Scots hospital staff

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge telephoned a Scots hospital as the coronavirus outbreak continues to intensify.

Royal: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to NHS staff in Airdrie.

William and Kate chatted to staff from University Hospital Monklands in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, as well as workers from Queen’s Hospital Burton in the Midlands during Wednesday afternoon.

The royal family has resorted to phone calls and video conferencing to conduct some of their royal duties as the country continues to observe the coronavirus lockdown.

6.33am: Call for rates relief extension to support whisky industry

Calls have been made for an extension of business rates relief to support whisky distilleries during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kingsbarns Distillery.
Kingsbarns Distillery: The firm will be hit hard by the closure of its visitor centre.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said reliefs and grants on offer do not cover its members’ visitor centres, as they do not fit within the definition of “leisure, retail and hospitality”.

It said the businesses will need further support to help them through a time when production has been scaled back, with one distillery saying its centre amounted to 70% of its revenue.

6.30am: UK summit urged to help struggling utilities customers

The SNP has called for a summit to be held between the UK Government, opposition parties and utilities providers to help those struggling to pay during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ian Blackford election night 16x9.
SNP: Ian Blackford has proposed various measures.

Ian Blackford, the party’s leader at Westminster, has proposed various measures aimed at protecting consumers.

The outbreak should not lead to people being unable to afford utility bills or being able to contact family and friends, he said.

Mr Blackford has called for an immediate freeze on prices as well as a six month “reprieve” on utilities being cut off if bills are not paid.

6.30am: AA starts free breakdown service for NHS staff

A leading motoring association has launched a free breakdown service for all NHS workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The AA has said health service staff who break down on their way to or from work can now call for help, whether or not they are a member of the company, and they will receive assistance.

It’s a scheme which applies to everyone in the NHS, from cleaners and porters to nurses and surgeons, who have all been described as “crucial” by the AA.

6.30am: The fight against coronavirus continues

People are expected to remain at home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Ten days ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britons should only go out for exercise once a day.

Gatherings of two of more people are banned, except for members of the same household. 

People should only go to the shops for essentials like food or medicine as infrequently as possible, and should not go out to see friends or family members who do not live in the same house.

Scottish comedian Eddie Large dies from coronavirus

Eddie was part of the famous comedy duo Little and Large.

Getty Images
Coronavirus: Eddie Large.

Scottish comedian Eddie Large has died at the age of 78 after contracting coronavirus while he was being treated in hospital for heart failure.

The Little And Large star, who was born in Glasgow, was best known for his partnership with Syd Little.

His son Ryan McGinnis posted on Facebook: “It is with great sadness that mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Eddie was part of the comedy duo Little and Large.

“He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.”

His agent Peter Mansfield confirmed his death and said: “His family were very sad not to be able to be in the same room as him, touching him, in the last week because of coronavirus.

“They were only able to speak on the phone which was obviously very sad for them.

“But they wanted to say thank you to the NHS which was fantastic throughout.”

He added: “He was at Southmead Hospital and the Papworth Hospital, which did his heart transplant 17 years ago, were in constant communication and a great help as well.

“The family wanted to say how grateful they are for the extra 17 years that they have had with Eddie. And a huge thank you to the donor and the donor’s family.” 

More on:

Coronavirus survivor, aged 70, tells others to ‘have hope’

Ken Clarke credits his recovery to the 'encouraging' NHS staff who looked after him.

Scottish survivors of coronavirus, who are now being released from hospitals having overcome the worst symptoms, are speaking out to give others with the virus hope.

As of Wednesday, more than 2300 people have now tested positive in Scotland.

Ken Clark, 70, from Invergowrie on the outskirts of Dundee, feared for his life after developing symptoms. He was one of several people in the village to catch Covid-19.

He said: “I developed this cough which just got worse and worse, dreadful headache and short of breath. Then my daughters forced me into phoning 111.

“When my wife dropped me at Ninewells I felt awful. The next week’s a blur for me, which is probably just as well. I was in the ICU for some time then into the HDU.

“One day one of the consultants walking past casually said, ‘You’re looking a lot better today Ken’.

“That was really the first time I thought I might make it.

“Up until that time I really was quite black. It was the blackest picture there could be for me.

‘When I went in through the front doors of Ninewells I wondered if I’d get out again.’

Ken Clark

“But the consultant sort of cajoled me along, and the nurses on the ward, every single one of them, were just so encouraging.

“I can’t thank them enough. I’ll never be able to thank them.”

Mr Clark spent 11 days at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee but has now been released and is at home recovering.

He added: “When I went in through the front doors of Ninewells I wondered if I’d get out again.

“There were so many black stories about it, but you can come through it. And that’s the reason I’m doing this.

“To give people hope that have relatives in trouble.”

Although he’s back at home, there is still a long road ahead back to full health.

The grandfather of four said: “I’m just feeling tired now but I was told to expect that.

“It could take anything from six to nine months to get back up to the fitness level I was at before.

“But hopefully I can do that, hopefully I can get back out to the front garden there to play football with the wee lad and my three granddaughters like I used to do.”

Mr Clark’s grandson made a celebratory video when he heard his ‘Grandad Ken’ was in recovery.

Mr Clark added: “There’s at least two of us in the village who have got it.

“There was a function at the bowling club and that’s the only place I can think of that I could have picked it up.

“I was working behind the bar and the other chap was helping collect glasses.

“That’s our only common link, so it just shows you can pick it up from anywhere.

“So as the wee lad says, stay safe.”

Woman seriously assaulted after dogs fight in park

The woman was in Dean Park when her dog clashed with another before she was attacked.

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Dean Park: Dog walker attacked by man and woman.

A woman has been left seriously injured after being attacked by two people when her dog fought with another in a public park.

The 59-year-old was in Dean Park, Kilmarnock, at 11.30am on Sunday morning when her black labrador was involved in a fight with another dog, possibly a French bull dog, that was with a younger woman.

After the victim walked away she was confronted about the incident by a man in a silver car.

Then a short time later when she was walking along South Dean Road, near to its junction with Forbes Place, she was pushed to the ground before the same man and woman she had met earlier drove away in the silver car.

The victim suffered serious injuries to her finger and minor injuries to her head, knee and ribs. She was taken to Crosshouse Hospital for treatment.

The female suspect is described as late 20s to early 30s, around 5ft 6in tall with long blonde hair.

She was wearing trainers, leggings, a baseball cap and a faux leather style jacket or body warmer.

The male suspect is described as in his late 20s to early 30s, around 5ft 8in tall with short dark hair and a stocky build. He was wearing a t-shirt and jogging bottoms.

Detective Constable Nicola Fraser said: “The victim is understandably shaken and upset by this incident.

“We’re appealing to anyone who was in the area and either witnessed the incident or perhaps recognises the description of the man and woman involved to contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.


Former RAF aircraft hangar to be used as temporary mortuary

Moray Council plan to use the site at Kinloss Barracks as part of an emergency planning procedure during the coronavirus crisis.

Creative Commons
Kinloss Barracks: Hangar on site could be used as mortuary.

Plans to use a disused aircraft hangar as a temporary mortuary have been agreed between a local authority and the Ministry of Defence.

Moray Council approached the MoD about proposals to use a hangar at Kinloss Barracks as part of its emergency planning procedure.

The council said it is hoped the hangar will not be needed but it has to plan to ensure measures are in place to deal with a worst-case scenario.

Jim Grant, head of economic development at Moray Council, said: “As part of its emergency planning procedure, Moray Council approached the MoD to use hangar facilities at Kinloss Barracks as a standby mortuary. This was agreed.

“Similar to other local authorities, the council has to plan for the worst case scenario emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As people are following Scottish Government advice and staying home, we hope that the extra capacity made available to us by the MoD will not be required.”

He added: “However, it’s incumbent upon the council to ensure measures are in place to cope with whatever results from the pandemic locally.

“We would ask everyone to adhere to the Scottish Government guidance to stay at home so that the number of deaths are reduced and facilities such as this will not be needed.”

Man charged over ‘deliberate coughing’ during argument

The force said they would 'not tolerate' that type of behaviour amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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Inverurie: Police have charged a man.

Police have charged a man for “deliberately coughing” on another person during an argument amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The force said they would “not tolerate” that type of behaviour given the “current climate”.

The 60-year-old suspect is alleged to have coughed on the other man within a car park in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, on Wednesday morning.

A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 60-year-old man has been charged in relation to an incident that happened in a car park in the Burn Lane area of Inverurie around 11.10am on Wednesday.

“The 60-year-old allegedly deliberately coughed at another man following an argument. 

“A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

“This behaviour can cause a lot of distress and anxiety in the current climate and we will not tolerate this.”


Brewery vows to cut off beer supply to Wetherspoons

West Brewery said they would 'rather sweep the streets' than do business with Tim Martin.

West Brewery
Glasgow: West Brewery has vowed to stop supplying Wetherspoons.

A Glasgow brewery has vowed to stop supplying Wetherspoons in response to the pub chain’s treatment of staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

West Brewery said they would “rather sweep the streets” than do business with Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin.

Beer: The West Brewery is based at Glasgow Green.

Pubs and restaurants were told to shut by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of measures to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 on Friday, March 20.

Martin came under fire for failing to assure his staff that their wages would be paid while they were unable to go into work.

In a video on the Monday evening, he told tens of thousands of employees he would pay them up until the pubs last opened, but said there would be no further payments until the Government fulfilled its promise to cover 80% of the wages of workers affected.

Instead, he suggested that staff should consider taking jobs at Tesco to make up for the loss in pay.

Following the Government’s pledge to guarantee 80% of pay for many workers, Wetherspoons announced it would pay its staff under the scheme and stated that the company’s actions were “responsible and sensible in the difficult circumstances”.

However, West Brewery has not forgiven the company’s initial stance.

In response to a Twitter post asking if the brewery, based at Glasgow Green, would consider stopping its supply of artisan beers to Wetherspoons, a spokesperson responded: “Don’t worry. We made that decision last week. 

“We’d rather sweep the streets than do business with people like him.”

Casino operator to pay £13m for ‘serious systematic failings’

Caesars Entertainment was given the Gambling Commission’s biggest penalty package to date.

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Casino: The operators of Alea Glasgow have been ordered to pay £13m.

The operator of a Glasgow casino has been ordered to pay £13m after a series of failures over money laundering, social responsibility and customer interaction in the UK, in the Gambling Commission’s biggest penalty package.

Three senior managers at Caesars Entertainment have also given up their personal licenses.

The commission said it had found “serious systematic failings” at the business, which operates 11 casinos across Britain including Alea Glasgow, next to the River Clyde at Springfield Quay.

It singled out the way VIP customers were treated between January 2016 and December 2018.

One customer was allowed to lose £323,000 in a year despite showing signs of problem gambling, including spending more than five hours in a casino on 30 occasions.

It also failed to do proper checks on where the funds of big spenders came from, including one customer who wagered £3.5m and lost £1.6m in three months, and another politically exposed person who lost £795,000 in just over a year.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We have published this case at this time because it’s vitally important that the lessons are factored into the work the industry is currently doing to address poor practices of VIP management in which we must see rapid progress made.”

The £13m will be used to reduce harmful gambling.

It is the biggest penalty any gambling company has been forced to pay, ahead of an £11.6m package slapped on Betway last month for VIP customer failings.

Mr McArthur added: “The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company and Caesars failed to do this. 

“We will now continue to investigate the individual licence holders involved with the decisions taken in this case.

“In recent times the online sector has received the greatest scrutiny around VIP practices but VIP practices are found right across the industry and our tough approach to compliance and enforcement will continue, whether a business is on the high street or online.

“We are absolutely clear about our expectations of operators – whatever type of gambling they offer they must know their customers. They must interact with them and check what they can afford to gamble with – stepping in when they see signs of harm. Consumer safety is non-negotiable.”

Past penalties from the Gambling Commission include £7.8m for 888 in 2017, a £7.1m fine for Daub Alderney in 2018, £6.2m for William Hill in 2018 and £5.9m for Ladbrokes Coral Group in 2019.

So far this year, the commission has suspended the operating licences of three businesses.


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