Storm Ciara: Damage and disruption as gales and rain blow in

A pub collapsed in Perth, while a bus was blown into a ditch in Aberdeenshire.

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Three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed as Storm Ciara sweeps across the country.

Emergency services were called to the scene in St John Street, Perth, at around 7.25pm on Saturday.

The Venue: The pub’s roof collapsed.

The fire service said three people were passed into the care of the ambulance service.

Police said a cordon has been put in place around the area until the damage can be assessed by experts.

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In a post on Facebook, staff at The Venue said: “Unluckily tonight our neighbouring building’s chimney breast fell through our roof causing the roof to cave in and the top front of our building to be dislodged.

“Thankfully nobody has been seriously harmed but the business will be closed until we find out the extent of the damage caused to our building.

“A big thanks to the emergency services, Perth police, fire and ambulance for all their help.

“We will not know anything more until the professionals have finished their surveying.

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“Massive thanks to all our customers and friends concerns and we hope to see you all very soon.”

Police said no one had been seriously injured.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We were alerted at 7.25pm on Saturday, February 8, to reports of a structural collapse on St John Street, Perth.

“Operations control mobilised two appliances and a height vehicle to the scene, where the chimney of a tenement building had collapsed.

“Three casualties were handed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.”

Aberdeenshire: The coach was recovered on Sunday morning.

In Aberdeenshire, a coach overturned into a ditch due to the severe gales on the B9000 near Newburgh.

The accident happened at around 6.45pm on Saturday.

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Police said no one was seriously hurt, but one person suffered a slight injury to their knee.

The bus was eventually recovered on Sunday morning.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police were called at around 6.45pm on Saturday to reports of a bus on its side on the B9000 at Newburgh.

“The ambulance service was called, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

“There was one minor injury to someone’s knee, but nothing serious.

“The road was closed at 8pm. The bus was recovered at 9.30am on Sunday.”

Part of a cafe and guest house collapsed into a river as Storm Ciara battered Scotland with high winds and heavy rain.

Police were called to Bridge House Guest House and Sonia’s Bistro in Hawick in the Scottish Borders at around 9.30am on Sunday to reports of structural damage.

Emergency services said the building on Sandbed had been evacuated and there were no reports of any injuries.

Authorities have warned the storm is likely to cause “significant disruption” and transport is likely to be affected.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of strong winds across Scotland on Sunday with gusts of up to 80mph possible in some areas.

It warns winds and flying debris may pose a danger to life while there may also be damage to buildings, travel disruption and power cuts.

An amber warning of heavy rain in the Borders was also in force from 2am to 10am on Sunday.

Flooding: A street in Leith was turned into a ‘river’ on Sunday.

Homes and businesses could flood, with a chance some communities may be cut off by flooded roads.

There is also the potential of danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater.

Avoid Govan Walkway across from Riverside Museum

Posted by Craigton, Glasgow on Sunday, February 9, 2020

A multi-agency response team – based at the Traffic Scotland national control centre in South Queensferry, West Lothian, will be operational for the duration of the weather warnings to monitor the conditions and “help deploy response teams where necessary”.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Met Office is telling us that we are facing a prolonged period of adverse weather, with Storm Ciara bringing strong winds and rain to most of Scotland this weekend.

“We’re also being told to expect snow and high winds throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning, so there is the potential for significant disruption on the trunk road network, as well as other modes of transport.

“It’s important that people check the latest information before they set off, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.”

Shortly after 11am on Sunday, Edinburgh Waverley railway station was closed to new customers due to overcrowding.

Passenger Russell Roberts posted a picture of the long queues onto Twitter, and joked: “When I was belting out ‘I would walk 500 miles’ last night I didn’t actually think I would be.”

At around 12.10pm, Traffic Scotland advised that the Forth Road Bridge had been closed to all vehicles, while the Queensferry Crossing had been shut to double-decker buses due to the wind.

Shortly after 5pm, double-deckers were permitted along the Queensferry Crossing.

The Forth Road Bridge was also reopened, except to vehicles with trailers, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Network Rail said winds of up to 90mph are expected on the West Highland Line and the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh routes on Sunday and services will be suspended during the worst of the weather.

Ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne warned there is a “very high possibility of weather-related disruption to services” across all 28 of its routes and advised people to keep track of the status of their sailing online and on social media and to be prepared for delays and cancellations.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 15 flood alerts and 38 flood warnings.

Nigel Goody, Sepa duty flood manager, said: “Storm Ciara has arrived with a dangerous combination of high tides, high storm surge and high inshore waves across coastal areas.

“Avoid crashing waves and follow the advice of emergency services and local councils.”

Renfrew: Flooding at The Ferry Inn.

Inspector Davy Hynd, of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, added: “There is a high risk of disruption in the affected area and, if you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.

“If you must travel please plan your route, as well as alternative routes, in advance.”

STV meteorologist Sean Batty

Explanation: STV meteorologist Sean Batty.

Rainfall:

  • The heavy rain from overnight will be clearing in the south. Some of the rain gauges in the Borders have had around 70-80mm of rainfall since yesterday. This is around three quarters of the rainfall you’d expect during the whole month of February.
  • Some of the rivers are running very high, and not just here but across central and southern Scotland generally.
  • The rain will be replaced today by heavy thundery showers of rain, sleet hail and snow over hills. The winds will be particularly gusty during the showers.
  • Several centimetres of snow can be expected on higher ground by tomorrow morning and a few centimetres down to 100m in a few parts of the north and west.

Wind:

  • There’s still a small possibility that an amber warning could be issued for the central belt.
  • The centre of Storm Ciara passed over the Isle of Lewis at midday and will be in Norway by midnight tonight.
  • The strongest winds look like they will occur over central and southern Scotland between midday and 4pm with a risk of gusts up to 70mph in the central belt. I’d still cater for winds up to 80mph across the Inner Hebrides.
  • In the far north and Northern Isles winds will be much lighter as the centre of the storm passes over here. That being said, there will be a peak in winds with 50-70mph gusts as the storm drifts away across the North Highlands and Orkney.
  • Strong winds will continue for the next few days, and in some spots the winds will be stronger on Monday and Tuesday than they are today, although this will no longer be Storm Ciara.

Flooding:

  • Even though the rain will be clearing from the south this afternoon, water will still be coming off the hills and could lead to some rivers bursting their banks even into Monday.
  • The bigger issue now will be coastal flooding around high tides with large waves and a storm surge in the west.
  • Orkney, Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Renfrew are at risk around lunchtime Sunday and then around midnight again.
  • Argyll and the Hebrides will be at risk around 6-7pm this evening and then 6am Monday.
Advice: Top tips to stay safe in a storm.

Stay safe in a storm

Before the storm:

  • Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.
  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.
  • Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
  • Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts.
  • If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened.
  • If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.
  • Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences – if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side.
  • Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.
  • If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you.
  • Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.
  • Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high-sided vehicle.
  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary.

After the storm:

  • Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging.
  • Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
  • Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.

More than 1050 people in hospital with coronavirus

The First Minister confirmed the latest figures at the daily briefing.

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The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus has risen to 1052, as Scotland recorded more than 1000 new cases.

It’s a rise of 36, with 90 people receiving treatment in intensive care. Meanwhile, another person confirmed to have the virus has died.

The latest figures, which saw the country record 1122 positive test results, were revealed by the First Minister at the daily briefing.

The death toll under the measure of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2701.

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Of the new cases recorded, 428 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 274 in Lanarkshire, 105 in Lothian and 97 in Ayrshire and Arran.

Covid vaccine trials showing ‘strong immune response’

A vaccine against coronavirus could be rolled out early next year.

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A coronavirus vaccine appears to be edging closer.

Information from an earlier stage of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine candidate trial suggests “similar” immune responses among younger and older adults, scientists said.

Data on the safety and immune responses among those taking part in the phase two vaccine trial has been submitted for peer review in a medical journal.

But the findings have been discussed before publication, prompting more excitement about the vaccine – considered one of the forerunners in the Covid-19 vaccine race.

The vaccine is currently in a phase three clinical trial, which means the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is being tested by thousands of participants across a number of different countries.

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Experts have predicted that the data from the trial could be presented to regulators within weeks.

It comes as the UK health secretary said that the “bulk” of the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine could occur before next summer.

Matt Hancock said that his “central expectation” is that the majority of the rollout of a vaccine could be under way in the first half of 2021.

In a statement, Oxford University said: “Professor (Andrew) Pollard discussed the early findings of the Phase II safety and immunogenicity trial of the ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine at a research conference.

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“These early results covering trial volunteers from the UK in the 56-69 and 70+ age groups have been submitted to a peer-review journal, and we hope to see their publication in the coming weeks.

“Our ongoing trials will provide further data, but this marks a key milestone and reassures us that the vaccine is safe for use and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all adult groups.”

An AstraZeneca spokesperson added: “It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the Covid-19 disease severity is higher.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222.”

Earlier on Monday, Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that the vaccine programme was “progressing well”.

Asked how soon NHS staff could be injected with a vaccine, he said: “Well, we’re not there yet.

“The vaccine programme is progressing well. We’re in very close contact with the leading candidates.

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“On my central expectation, I would expect the bulk of the rollout to be in the first half of next year.”

Asked if there could be some this year, he said: “Well, I don’t rule that out, but that is not my central expectation.”

Clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines are ongoing.

Some have speculated that two vaccine candidates will report data to regulators this year.

When asked about reports that hospitals are preparing to vaccinate staff, Hancock added: “We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly.”

“But it’s not my central expectation that we’ll be doing that this year.

“The true answer to your question is, we don’t know.

“We don’t know when the first vaccine will be available but my central expectation is in the first half of next year.

“Nevertheless, we’re doing the preparatory work now for how that will be rolled out, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations has set out the order of priority; and we’re doing the logistical work, led by the NHS working with the armed services who are playing an important role in the logistics of it to ensure that we have that rollout programme ready.

“But, you know, preparing for a rollout and actually having the stuff to roll out are two different things.

“It’s obviously something that we want to happen as soon as safely can be done.

“And as fast as safely can be done, but we are not there yet.”


Father delivers baby daughter in nature reserve car park

Andrew Still delivered baby Eliza at Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve, which has been listed as her place of birth.

Paul Rodger via SWNS
Special delivery: Father delivered daughter at nature reserve.

A father who delivered his newborn baby in a nature reserve car park has listed it as his daughter’s official birthplace.

Andrew Still, 32, had to pull over on the way to the hospital and help wife Sara, 31, deliver baby Eliza as she began to emerge.

He stopped at Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, where the baby was born and had to wrap her in a picnic blanket until medics arrived.

Baby Eliza, the couple’s second child, arrived safely weighing 5lbs 14oz and her proud parents even had the nature reserve put on her birth certificate.

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The pair said their hypnobirthing lessons helped during the dramatic delivery.

Stay-at-home father Andrew said: “It was a bit overwhelming. it’s something nobody expects to do.

“It’s still not really sunk in that it actually happened.

“With Covid going on there’s a lot of people we haven’t seen and are still telling people about it.

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“I think the hypnobirthing classes put us in a more settled state.”

The couple, from Largs, North Ayrshire, were on their way to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire, when Sara told Andrew to stop.

Sara said Andrew was tempted to “put the foot down” to make it to the hospital but stopped at the popular bird watching reserve and called an ambulance instead.

Civil servant Sara, also mum to Ezra, aged three, said the experience wasn’t traumatic and was glad it worked out the way it did.

Sara said: “My husband got our wee boy ready for nursery and we had breakfast but within half an hour I started getting contractions.

“I phoned Andrew and said ‘we’ve got to go to the hospital’.

“By the time we set off I told Andrew we weren’t going to make it and he’ll need to stop.

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“The temptation was there to put the foot down but he pulled over and phoned the ambulance.

“Andrew said he felt quite panicked but I thought he was good.

“In hindsight he’s so glad he did it.

“We only had picnic blankets and wrapped [Eliza] up until the ambulance crew arrived.

“It was quite peaceful. At that time in the morning nobody was around.

“It wasn’t traumatic, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“A lot of our friends have said their partners would have fainted if that was them.

“In the hypnobirthing he had a big part to play.

“I expected to be in hospital with everything around me but the hypnobirthing helped a lot with the birthing techniques and there’s a relaxation CD I listen to in the car.

An RSPB Lochwinnoch spokesman said: “We would like to share our congratulations once again with the family.

“It was great to meet all four when they returned to the reserve and we are delighted that mother and baby are doing well.”


Boris Johnson: Serial incompetent or victim of events?

Charge sheet against the Prime Minister seems to be growing week on week.

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Boris Johnson: Government appears to be in a permanent state of crisis.

Question. Is Boris Johnson a serial incompetent or is he the victim of events that engulf him to create a permanent state of crisis?

It would appear that the Prime Minister fights on so many fronts that Downing Street could do with their very own fire brigade to extinguish the flames ignited by yet another run of bad headlines.

‘Crisis, what crisis?’ is a famous tabloid headline from 1979 when the winter of discontent finished the Labour government. The Prime Minster James Callaghan didn’t actually utter the words that became his government’s epitaph.

Forty-one years on and those same words could well be uttered by Boris Johnson. When he is hounded by yet another issue which has eluded his grasp he wears a slightly bewildered expression which asks what all the fuss is about.

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His indifference to detail is, of course, legendary and in his time as a correspondent in Brussels for the Daily Telegraph, he freely admitted to massaging the actualités or ‘making it up’ as one might put it less charitably.

The flaws of personality and character which worry some of his supporters and terrify his opponents in the parliamentary Conservative Party seem to be catching up with him.

His poll ratings are poor. Labour suddenly look credible again and Sir Keir Starmer is viewed as a steadier hand and mind in times of national emergency.

The charge sheet against the Prime Minister grows by the week. His communication on Covid has been wobbly and on occasions his knowledge of his own rules wobblier still.

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The summer of 2020 was the summer of the U-turn, a phrase associated with another Conservative prime minister, Ted Heath. But Heath’s U-turns were as nothing compared to the current Prime Minister, who U-turns so often that all he does is spin like a top.

We have already had one U-turn on free school meals and another might be in the offing. Minsters hide behind answers about funding formulas to rebut the charge that they will not fund meals for kids outwith term time, something that the devolved administrations have committed to doing.

The cost of unambiguously funding this is so small that you have to wonder, why the stubbornness? Looking tough is one thing but displaying your political machismo when the issue is children possibly going hungry beggars belief. 

Yet again it has taken footballer Marcus Rashford to play the role of quiet assassin and lead a national chorus which is shaming the government by the hour.

Even the most politically disengaged will feel that there are some things that are not worth a political row and the prospect of hungry kids is one of them.

Today, 800 former judges and lawyers have written to The Guardian deploring what they see as the demonising of their profession after the home secretary referred to “lefty lawyers” and “do-gooders” during a speech on immigration appeals.

Now, the angst of judges is unlikely to play at the electoral box office but it is nonetheless an issue of note. I can’t recall when so many senior people in the legal profession have cast aside a hard-wired disdain for entering the political arena to so freely castigate an elected government.

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But then again, it is probably an issue which is not born of an accident of language on the part of the home secretary. Perhaps the assault was deliberate. After all there is something unique in the current government in seeing certain constitutional principles as a conspiracy to frustrate their will.

Last week we had yet another refinement of the help for business during the pandemic. First, it was more money back in March. Then came furlough. Then an extension of furlough. Then the £1000 bounty for keeping furloughed workers in January. Then the Job Support Scheme issue one, and then last week issue two.

There is nothing wrong in the government fashioning intervention as circumstances dictate. Quite the reverse, they should actively change course when the abyss threatens mass unemployment.

The problem, though, for Boris Johnson is that his government appear to change policy because they are forced to do so by a combination of a narky opposition and a vocal business community genuinely worried where they will be come next summer.

The trick of government is to change policy without it looking like a change, to take hold of a narrative and drive it in a way that it doesn’t look like yet another climbdown.

But that would take the political dexterity of a Harold Wilson or the presentational nous of a Tony Blair or even a David Cameron, who at least could participate credibly in the art of not looking like the crisis is one of your own creation.

The row on school meals is the latest example of an issue that will have Tory MPs in the tea rooms asking, is he the right man for the job? As last December’s landslide victory fades in the memory the goodwill of his colleagues will run out for Johnson unless that is, he gets a grip on the job he was elected to do.


Bomb squad called after grenade found inside house

Police sealed off an area of Kirkcaldy on Monday morning while EOD officers investigated the device.

Liam Sneddon via Facebook
Bomb disposal van outside house in Kirkcaldy.

Bomb disposal experts were dispatched to a Fife neighbourhood after a grenade was discovered inside a house.

A Royal Logistic Corps van was pictured outside a property in Kirkcaldy on Monday morning.

Police officers cordoned off an area in the town’s Templehall Avenue, while explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) teams attended to the grenade.

The device was found to be inactive.

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A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police were made aware of the discovery of what appeared to be a grenade at a property at in Templehall Avenue in Kirkcaldy at 11.05am on Monday, October 26.

The immediate area was cordoned off and EOD officers attended and the device was found to be inert.”

Boots to launch 12-minute coronavirus swab tests

Pharmacy chain said the LumiraDx devices will be rolled out in selected stores over the next few weeks.

Boots
Coronavirus: Boots to roll out rapid results testing.

Boots is set to unveil a new coronavirus testing service, which it says can return results from swab tests in just 12 minutes.

The pharmacy chain said the LumiraDx devices – capable of quickly processing swab tests to give customers same-day results – will be rolled out in selected stores over the next few weeks.

Boots has also launched a 48-hour testing service which is currently available in ten stores, including in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with plans to extend the programme to more than 50 outlets across the nation.

The service is available as a private pre-flight test for customers who require one before travelling abroad, or as a solution for those who would prefer peace of mind before seeing friends and family.

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The in-store service will cost £120 per test. The cost of the LumiraDx test is not yet known.

Seb James, managing director of Boots UK and ROI, said the programme is being implemented as a way to help ease the pressure on the nation’s health services.

“Boots has supported the Government’s Covid-19 testing programme from the very start and offering this new in-store service is the next step in our efforts to fight against the pandemic,” he said.

“We hope that by offering this testing option in local community stores, Boots can help ease pressure on the NHS and the Government by providing additional access to testing and crucial reassurances for people across the UK.

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“As part of the UK High Street for over 170 years, Boots is proud to serve on the front line alongside the NHS and we will continue to do our part to support the nation’s healthcare needs during this challenging time and beyond.”

Customers who are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms can book an in-store test through the company’s website.


Scottish cities top UK hotspots for slump in job vacancies

Aberdeen and Edinburgh have seen large drops in vacancies year-on-year amid the rise in people working from home.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Princes Street in Edinburgh (left) and Union Street in Aberdeen during the pandemic.

Deserted high streets and city centres are hampering Britain’s jobs recovery, with Aberdeen and Edinburgh seeing the steepest declines in vacancies.

A report by the Centre for Cities think tank revealed the Granite City recorded a 75% fall in vacancies year-on-year, while the capital saw a 57% drop.

The research by the think tank – in collaboration with global job site Indeed – found that seven months after the nationwide lockdown was imposed, job vacancies have failed to return to pre-Covid levels in all 63 towns and cities they analysed. 

The report said local lockdowns and the rise in people working from home has dried up demand for local services in big cities, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

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Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities’ chief executive, said: “While unemployment continues to rise, the number of jobs available to people who find themselves out of work is far below its level last year in every single large city and town in the UK.

“This could have potentially catastrophic long-term consequences for people and the economy.

“The (UK) Government has told us to expect a tough winter and, while local lockdowns are necessary to protect lives, it is vital that ministers continue to listen and reassess the level of support given to help people and places to cope with the months ahead.”

While no area of the country or sector has escaped the labour market crisis, those where high street footfall returned to normal more quickly have seen a faster recovery in job vacancies, the report said.

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Pawel Adrjan, EMEA head of research at the global job site Indeed, said: “The timid recovery in job vacancies is a portent of the distress towns and cities could face if restrictions continue to spring up in parts of the country already reeling from imposed lockdowns and reduced footfall.

“With the remote work trend showing no sign of abating – and entire regions being placed under stricter control – service jobs in large towns and cities could become scarcer still and pull the UK into a jobs spiral. That could mean a very long winter ahead for the millions of people currently unemployed.”

Cities and towns with the largest drops in job vacancies:

  • Aberdeen -75%
  • Edinburgh -57%
  • Belfast -55%
  • Crawley -55%
  • Aldershot -54%
  • London -52%

The report’s publication comes just days before the UK Government’s Jobs Retention Scheme draws to a close.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week announced an emergency multi-billion pound bailout aimed at supporting workers and firms through the second coronavirus wave.

The Job Support Scheme, which replaces the current furlough system from November 1, will be made more generous in an effort to persuade firms to keep staff in work.

An HM Treasury spokesperson said: “We’ve put in place a comprehensive plan to protect, support and create jobs in every region of the UK, and recently increased the generosity of our winter support schemes, including our expanded Job Support Scheme, which will protect jobs in businesses that are open or closed.

“We are also providing additional funding for local authorities and devolved administrations to support local businesses.”

Man left disfigured after thug chewed his ear outside pub

Christopher Cullen, 32, assaulted Nasser Javid at The Allison Arms pub in Glasgow’s Strathbungo last November.

© Google Maps 2020
Man was assaulted at the Allison Arms pub in Glasgow.

A painter and decorator who chewed a man’s ear leaving it infected and deformed was jailed for 97 weeks.

Christopher Cullen, 32, assaulted Nasser Javid at The Allison Arms pub in Glasgow’s Strathbungo last November.

Cullen turned on Mr Javid when he went outside for a cigarette. The injured victim later required seven stitches to repair the damage.

Cullen pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to the assault to Mr Javid’s severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

The court heard Mr Javid noticed Cullen looking over at him several times throughout the night.

Prosecutor Kathleen O’Donnell told the court Mr Javid was later asked to go outside by Cullen.

She said: “Mr Javid thought nothing of it as he was intending to go outside to have a cigarette.

“Both men stood at the entrance to the pub and at that time the accused got hold of Mr Javid’s jacket and pulled him close to him.

“Cullen bit him to the left earlobe, Mr Javid tried to get the accused off him and a struggle took place.”

The victim was able to push Cullen away before punching him in the face.

Mr Javid went back inside and called 999 while Cullen fled the scene.

Mr Javid was then taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment to the wound on his left ear.

Ms O’Donnell said: “He had seven stitches and the ear was noted to be infected and have a deformity, which led to permanent disfigurement.”

Cullen was initially untraceable, but was arrested this year on a warrant.

Lawyer Neil McCulloch, defending, told the court the dad of four drank to excess and has an alcohol problem.

Students ‘might have to stay in halls over Christmas’

Swinney said there is a 'realistic possibility' students could be asked to stay in halls or other university accommodation this year.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

University students may not be allowed to return home over Christmas if coronavirus is not under control, Scotland’s education secretary has warned.

John Swinney said there is a “realistic possibility” they could be asked to stay in halls or other university accommodation at Christmas but stressed the Scottish Government “want to avoid that at all possible cost”.

Phased returns home and back to university are being considered by the UK’s governments as part of an attempt to limit further infections by the movement of “substantial” numbers of people around the country.

Speaking on the BBC Good Morning Scotland radio programme, the Deputy First Minister said the return of students at Christmas “without a doubt” depends on the coronavirus infection rate being reduced.

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Asked if that meant students could be forced to remain in halls of residence, he said: “We want to avoid that at all possible cost because we want students to return home.

“But I have to be realistic that, if we have a situation where the virus has not been controlled, then we will have to look at other scenarios and other plans.”

Swinney added: “There is a lot of thinking and work going on within the Scottish Government, with Universities Scotland, the institutions, with the National Union of Students, and also with the governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to try to make sure this can be undertaken as safely as possible.

“But there obviously is a risk that if the virus is not contained, then we may not be able to support the return of students to their homes.

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“We want to avoid that but it is a realistic possibility.”

At Monday’s coronavirus briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “To students who are worried and anxious, we will do everything we can over the next few weeks to set out a path that sees you able to go home for Christmas.  That is what we all want to see. 

“What we are trying to do right now, on students going home for Christmas and on every other aspect of this, is be clear on what we want to do but also be frank with people about the inherent uncertainties in the situation we are living through right now. 

“That’s not easy for anybody but it’s better to do that than give people false assurance that we then have to come and take a step back from later.

“But be in no doubt, we want students to be able to return home safely for Christmas.

“So we are working with other UK nations but within the Scottish Government we are working on plans that the deputy First Minister alluded to over the weekend. 

“They will encompass a combination of things, a potential phased end to the current term to allow students to have  some period of time away from other people, a staggered start to the new term to avoid everybody coming back all at once, to use testing in some way to try to help that and also to provide as much advice to students as possible.”


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