Surge in UK pub numbers “more down to food than drink”

A supervisor in an Edinburgh pub has said the rise of the number of pubs in the UK is because they are selling more food than drink.

The number of pubs and bars is on the rise in the UK for the first time in ten years, and according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this is the first increase of pubs opening in over a decade.

Photo Credit: Elise Kennedy

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said that the rise in these businesses is “cautiously welcomed.”

Owners are suggesting that these increases are connected to the change in customer demands. There is a trend in people spending more money eating out rather than drinking out.

The number of people that are employed in the pub and bar industry has increased over the course of the years. However, this has been suggested to be due to the growing numbers of larger, food-orientated pubs.

Management is now employing more positions serving food rather than people behind the bar.

The shift has resulted in an increase in customers going to pubs to eat rather than drink – the number of kitchen and waiting staff rose from 29.1% to 43.8%, according to the recent ONS report.

The Golf Tavern is one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs (Credit: Caitlin Gallagher)

However, small local pubs, particularly those outside of city centres, are still under pressure as they are facing challenges in order to match the low prices that larger chains are able to offer.

Robert Alexander, bartender at Usquabae Whisky Bar And Larder, thinks smaller pubs will struggle under the rise of more businesses.

“I feel smaller pubs will be affected by this rise as people are always looking for the next new thing, especially the younger generation.”

Bar supervisor, Sian Salmon, believes that pubs are focused more on food and doesn’t see the rise in pubs as a bad thing.

“I think it’s good because, like you say, there are a lot of small pubs at capacity, but if you’re at capacity then you’re at capacity. I think it gives people a lot of options and a lot of different types of venues, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.

“We are a lot more food-heavy than we used to be. Just over the last few years, people have realised and just keep coming back for food. We get a lot of repeat custom here and a lot of tourists as well because we are quite an old pub in the books.

“My personal experience would just be time to cook. I guess it’s just a bit more social, something to do outside the house. Once you’re drinking you might get a bit peckish especially on the weekends, after you’ve had a few pints you might smell the food around the room.”

Students open up Edinburgh’s first sustainable club night

Edinburgh man arrested for the murder of his mother 17 years after her disappearance

Edinburgh Council unveils strategy for carbon neutrality by 2030


“A city transformed” Edinburgh Council unveils radical mobility plan

Edinburgh Council has announced a 2030 vision for Edinburgh, as its new City Mobility Plan (CMP) looks to shake up transport in a quest to make the capital carbon neutral by 2030.

A three-stage plan released by the council reveals that the city will become more eco-friendly and efficient as part of its CMP. Priorities of the council include; enhancing public transport, the creation of people-friendly streets, new developments and becoming carbon neutral.

Chamber Street with ‘people friendly’ street change’s (Credit: Edinburgh Council)

The plan outlines three dates which projects are expected to be completed by. The first phase will conclude in 2022, expectations of this phase are that the tram to Newhaven which is currently under development will be largely complete. A systemic review of bus routes and times will come into place.

The introduction of a low emission zone (LEZ) which will help tackle Edinburgh’s congestion and pollution by only granting certain vehicles access to parts of the city.

The second phase in 2025 will see air pollution drop as part of the successful integration of LEZ, as bus congestion will have improved. A transit plan will have been largely agreed by this point. George Street will be completely transformed and discussions regarding Princes Street vehicle access will be addressed.

The new pedestrianised ‘George Street’ (Credit: Edinburgh Council)


The third phase, aptly named “A city transformed” shows that the mass tram network will have been finished. Reaching out from the airport to Newbridge, The Royal Infirmary and the waterfront in the north. The city centre “will be largely car-free, with the workplace parking levy reducing in revenue as car use to commute declines.”

Edinburgh Trams (Credit: Edinburgh Council)

And the “Waverly Masterplan” a plan to further develop Edinburgh Waverly will be fully implemented.

Speaking about the plans, Council Leader Adam McVey has said the council was making “great strides towards reducing carbon emissions” and emphasised that now was the time for bolder actions if the city was to achieve this carbon-neutral goal by 2030.

Addressing the major climate concerns Mr McVey said: “I’m confident that we’re doing the right things to help tackle the increasing threat of climate change but it’s clear that we need to act with even greater pace and urgency if we are to protect the city, while creating a greener, healthier, better-connected environment for generations to come.”

In a meeting on Thursday the Transport and Environment Committee met to discuss the draft CMP. Committee member Ian McFarlane said it was “critical that we [the committee] are radical” and that there was no option to “stand still”.

Ewan Kennedy, the Senior Manager of Transport Networks, said that Edinburgh is “undoubtedly one of the best transport cities in the country.” He further alluded to how the council needs to be proactive with the need to tackle climate change and that the committee and council were “committed” to this.

Stuart Hay, Director of Living Streets Scotland, said that it was “vital” for Edinburgh to match various European capitals in its quest to reduce its emissions. Discussing the increase in pedestrian activity and the reduction of vehicle access Mr Hay said: ”Creating space by removing traffic will need further development of Edinburgh’s well-regarded bus service and more strategic tram routes. Substantial investment is needed, so new funding sources such as the workplace parking levy are vital.”

Claire Miller, Green Councillor for the Edinburgh City Centre, said that optimism is our best bet in completing plans to become carbon neutral on time.


The draft will go to public consultation in February for 8 weeks to further develop the CMP.

Students open up Edinburgh’s first sustainable club night

Students from Edinburgh University are set to launch a new club night for the city. The night, called ‘Zero Chill’, will be Scotland’s first-ever sustainable night club.

The students are part of the social enterprise group “Conscious Change” and will be launching the club night on Friday 17th of January with all products being environment-friendly as well as locally sourced.

The club night will take place in La Belle Angele, a venue that was specifically chosen due to its use of LED lighting and the short distance between Edinburgh’s student hubs.

Resources that are being used include things such as veg-ware cups, which are naturally decomposable and even the toilet paper will be recycled. The group are confident that this will be a big hit with students.

The group leader of conscious change, Imogen McAndrew, has said that the night will be ‘a celebration of global music diversity and global conscious changes’.

“The response has been great. This is just the start and we’ll see what we can do. We’ve nearly sold out tonight so it should be a good night.”

The proceeds from the event will go directly back into the conscious change group and will aim to help students think about the ways that they can help the environment during life at university.

“We can’t escape sustainability. As students, we have the luxury of putting on a night like this. It’s completely in our hands to make a change and we have the platform to do this. Even the legacy we leave for the next group of students is massive.”

The plans for the future are simple. The group want to become one of Edinburgh’s leading club nights whilst being completely sustainable. Once they have got up and running with the event, they will try to replace the biodegradable veg-ware cups with the multi-use steel cup. The idea behind the steel cup is that it will work in a deposit scheme with one glass for the night.

While the group remain optimistic about being able to break into the club market, Edinburgh is already one of the UK’s leading nights out with clubs open through the week. However, Imogen hopes that the unique selling point will be enough to draw the crowds in.

Edinburgh Council unveils strategy for carbon neutrality by 2030

NHS launches campaign to increase male blood donors

Surge in UK pub numbers down to food rather than drink

NHS launches campaign to increase male blood donors

The NHS has kicked off the new decade with a nationwide campaign to increase male blood donations. In 2019, only around 41% of new donors were male, despite male blood being used for a variety of illnesses which female blood is not able to treat.

Throughout January, the NHS will be campaigning to increase their first-time male blood donation rates by an ambitious 26% in 2020 which equates to roughly 68,000 new donors. This means that if the campaign is successful, first-time male blood donation rates will rise to 67%, overtaking female blood donation rates which reached 59% last year.

Number of annual new donations (Credit: NHS)

Every winter the NHS tries to encourage extra donations due to Christmas closures, however, donations must be regular to be effective as centres often have a “shortfall” after Christmas. A Staff Nurse from Edinburgh Blood Donation Centre says that while they do have a large number of donors, they are often irregular:

“Because we have a lot of students, you have them for a wee while then they move off… it’s just a constant battle to keep people coming in.”

Male blood exclusively is used for blood transfusions in newborn babies and provides 93% of donated platelets – an essential part of the blood’s clotting system. More than half of platelets donated are used to treat cancer patients to reduce internal bleeding. Regular donations are essential due to the shelf life of certain parts of the blood:

“Red blood cells last for about a month but platelets only last about a week, so we always need to keep going.”

Why do we need male blood?

Credit: Pixabay

Men are much more likely to have higher levels of iron compared to women as they don’t menstruate, which means that their donations are far less likely to be rejected because of low haemoglobin. This helps to maintain a level of consistency with donations which is vital to patients who receive regular transfusions throughout their lifetime.

Women are also known to produce certain antibodies and proteins during pregnancy. The presence of these antibodies affects the immune system, which can make transfusions a little more complicated.


Voluntarily having blood sucked out of your arm is a terrifying concept to most people and this fear is why many of us choose not to donate.

If you’re thinking of donating and helping potentially hundreds of people, here are some tips to calm your nerves so you can get the most out of your life-saving donation.

Remember to eat!

An empty stomach and low blood sugar can make you feel sick and dizzy and means you are more likely to faint.

Have a snack just before you donate – high sugar snacks are preferable which gives you the perfect excuse to demolish a chocolate bar.

Stay hydrated!
Losing a fairly large volume of fluids can make you feel quite ill, so doctors recommend you drink at least 500ml of water before you donate.

Water is available at blood donation centres so remember to bring your reusable water bottle.

If anxiety can get the better of you in high-intensity situations, it might be worthwhile to take some time to set out your “plan of distraction” for when you’re donating.

Bring someone along with you, whether it’s your mum, your significant other or a friend – you might need a hand to hold.

If you’re donating alone, make a playlist full of your favourite inspirational songs and have your earphones at the ready to jam in your ears and drown everything else out.

Treat yourself!
You might be feeling a little dizzy or tired afterwards so head home, get comfy and spend the rest of your day on the couch with everyone’s friend Netflix.

Remember to eat and stay hydrated afterwards for the quickest recovery.

Don’t feel guilty about resting and looking after yourself – you just helped save some lives, you deserve it!

While they want as many people to donate as possible, nurses from the Edinburgh donation centre encourage you to put yourself first:

“If you get too nervous, it’s not going to work for you – it’ll just make you ill and we’re trying to make people better!”

Credit: Rhi Ramsey EN4 News

Credit: Rhi Ramsey EN4 News

Alex Salmond: Former First Minister appears in court charged with several counts of sexual assault against 10 women


The former First Minister, Alex Salmond, pictured arriving at court last year. (Credit: EN4 News)

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with counts of sexual assault against 10 women.

The former SNP leader denies the 14 charges, which include one count of attempted rape, one count of intent to rape, 10 counts of sexual assault and two of indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have taken place while Salmond served as First Minster.

Speaking outside the high court in Edinburgh, Salmond, 64, said he was innocent and said he will defend himself ‘vigorously’.

He continued: “But the only proper place to answer criminal charges is in this court.”

The attempted rape allegation relates to an instance inside Bute House in June 2014 where it is claimed the politician is alleged to have pushed a woman against a wall, to have removed her clothes and his own, before pushing her onto a bed and lying naked on top of her.

Another is said to have taken place on a visit to Stirling Castle.

The allegations are said to have taken place over a period of 6 years form 2008 until 2014.

Salmond, served as first minister of Scotland from 2007 until 2014, when he resigned following the Independence referendum. He was then elected as member of parliament for Gordon, in Aberdeen-shire until 2017.

He resigned from the Scottish National party in August 2018 follow allegations of sexual misconduct.

His QC, Gordon Jackson, said Mr Salmond was pleading not guilty, and judge Lady Dorrian set the trial date for 9 March next year.

Prince Andrew to step back from public appearances

Prince Andrew has announced that he will be stepping back from public duties amid the ongoing scandal engulfing The Duke of York.

His friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein has led many to ask questions of the Prince and his wider role as part of the Royal family.

Jeffrey Epstein was arrested again in July of this year and was denied bail ahead of his trial. Epstein died in his prison cell on 10th August and his death was ruled as suicide. If he had lived to stand trial, Epstein could have faced up to 45 years in prison. It was after this that allegations began to surface against Prince Andrew.

The second son of Her Majesty is accused of sexual misconduct with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts in April of 2001. The Prince has denied these claims and tried to clear the air in a tell-all interview on BBC Newsnight this Saturday, however despite sitting down with presenter Emily Maitlis, the public were left with more questions than answers.

In the 60 minute interview with Maitlis, Prince Andrew denied any memory of meeting, dining, dancing and having sexual relations with Roberts in a nightclub in 2001.

Tramp nightclub is in Mayfair

In a statement released by The Duke of York on Wednesday, he chose not to go into detail but stated his reason for stepping back from public view.

He said: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.”

More than 20 companies, including Barclays, KPMG and the English National Ballet, had all distanced themselves from the Prince.

He still strenuously denies any involvement with Jeffrey Epstein. The Prince also claims to have no knowledge of the trafficking of young girls to Europe and Epstein’s private island on the US Virgin Islands.

The conversation around Prince Andrew and Epstein began gaining traction after a Channel 4 Dispatches entitled ‘The Prince and the Paedophile‘. It documented the interviews of Epstein’s victims as well as hearing from Virginia Roberts who spoke of her nights with the Prince.


PODCAST: General election 2019 – Manifesto reaction special

It’s Manifesto Week in British politics, as the main parties release their plans for if they win the upcoming general election.

EN4 News’ Political Editor Andrew McDonald and correspondent Iain Leggat discussed the key points of the manifestos that have been released so far.



You can find the manifestos for Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats below (the Conservatives and SNP are yet to release their 2019 manifestos):

General election 2019: On the campaign trail with Labour candidate Ian Murray

Ian Murray was the Labour MP for Edinburgh South until parliament was dissolved earlier this month. Before the 2017 election he was the only Labour MP left in Scotland after the SNP landslide and their near-wipeout in the 2015 election. Now, he fights with six other Labour MPs seeking to keep their seats. Our reporter Andrew McDonald joined him on the campaign trail in Greenbank.

Labour’s Edinburgh South candidate Ian Murray hits the campaign trail. (Credit: Andrew McDonald)

On a sleepy Sunday in Edinburgh’s suburbs, there have perhaps been fewer more surreal sights than Labour’s Ian Murray pulling up in a tiny sports car to meet his campaign team. But he often has an explanation, even for his flashy car, which he says was a donation from a friend he accepted before he saw the car itself.

At 43, Murray is young for someone who has already been an MP for nine years. Campaigning is nothing new to him. He knocks on doors and tries to charm constituents with the confidence of someone who has done all of this before.

Back in 2017, a lot of the conventional wisdom was that Murray was in danger. After the SNP swept all before them in the 2015 general election , apart from Murray’s Edinburgh South seat, Labour’s last Scottish stronghold was under threat.

He emerged with a vastly increased majority of over 15,000, although a line he often repeats on the doorstep is that this majority is “made of sand.”

This is understandably important for ensuring that his supporting constituents still feel their vote matters – but why is Murray not confident in the stability of his huge majority?

“It was inflated because I was the only Scottish Labour MP in 2015,” Murrays says. “People thought that if they were going to vote to stop the SNP they would have to vote for Ian.

“This isn’t a Labour constituency with 15,500 majority, it’s a very mixed constituency and probably a microcosm of Scotland.”


Will Edinburgh South remain a Labour seat in December? (Credit: Andrew McDonald)

Murray’s assertion that Edinburgh South isn’t traditional safe Labour territory is reflected in its demographic. The area is among the highest paid in the UK and is predominantly suburban – a combination that would traditionally have swung Conservative in the UK.

But the issues of Brexit and Scottish Independence have drawn up new political lines across the country, and they almost always come up when Murray is talking to his constituents. His success here is a symptom of the fact that it sits firmly as an anti-Brexit (70% Remain in 2016) and anti-independence (65% No in 2014) area. Murray’s consistent opposition to both causes allows him to easily relate to most of his constituents on the doorstep.

But there’s something else that comes up even more at every house we visit: Murray’s boss, Jeremy Corbyn. In this affluent area dominated by homeowners they are united in their distaste for the Labour leader. Its for different reasons: some mention anti-Semitism, others perceive him as flip-flopping too much on Brexit while there are a few who openly say he is too far to the left. Murray also says that many of constituents simply can’t see Corbyn as PM.

“People tend to vote on who they can envisage walking through the door at Downing Street and we’re getting on the doorsteps, the public are speaking and saying they don’t envisage that he is able to do that,” Murray says.

Murray also told me that of the thousands of constituents his team have spoken to only two have said they are voting Labour because of its leader. It is important to note however that Murray is one of Corbyn’s biggest critics. At some of the houses we visit he sympathises with those who don’t like his leader by actually agreeing with them. Sometimes he cites Labours national polling as an indicator that there is little danger of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister- implying that voting for Labour in this constituency will not necessarily put a man they don’t like into Downing Street.

It is Murray’s perceived independence that makes this the safest of Labours seven seats in Scotland, regardless of the party’s national performance. Nevertheless, an enthusiastic SNP campaign in Edinburgh South has the Labour team fighting to match it while some whispers of an unexpected Liberal Democrat presence are a concern. Team Murray is confident but taking nothing for granted.

Next week: we join an SNP candidate on the trail in Edinburgh.


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Power dressing came to life in the 70s and 80s as a way for women to establish their authority and fit into male-dominated workplaces. For a quick explainer on the concept and how men use power dressing in different ways, see our audio short below:


As its election time EN4 news cast a balanced eye at the leaders of the main political parties – are they power dressing like a pro or is their fashion sense as dead as their election chances? We used the original master of power dressing to help us:

all the thatchers together real.jpg

Boris Johnson 

Our PM finally displayed his ready-for-action capabilities when he wandered through flood-hit Yorkshire. While he always looks a bit out of place the wellies-Barbour Jacket-overly long tie combo is doing something for me here. While part of power dressing is wearing appropriate clothing for the situation Johnson manages to pull of the politician in a crisis look fairly well here. As always though, the suit is a politicians bread-and-butter. Like his blonde counterpart across the ocean, Johnson could really use a new tailor.

3 thatchers out of 5

Jeremy Corbyn

Britain Politics

Credit: Times of Israel


Can socialists simultaneously strive for equality and look good while doing it?  Well, just look at that scarf. Combined with his trademark pastel shirt under an open blazer, the days of being slammed for his dress sense seem a long time ago. The blue suit is too loud and flashy to be pure Thatcher style however – though that’s probably a relief for the Labour leader.


4 thatchers out of 5

Jo Swinson

Oh Jo. If Ed Miliband taught us anything in 2015, it’s don’t eat on the campaign trail. Away from that, having canvassed opinion in the EN4 News Room there’s a consensus that the red coat over the blue is a colour clash too far. At least the purple jacket is nice if you look away from the marshmallow. The Lib Dems can’t win here I’m afraid.

2 thatchers out of 5

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon gets the campaign trail: wear stylish business clothing while charming as many people as possible. She conveys the confidence of a politician in her prime. The guitar was a fun look too.

5 thatchers out of 5

Nigel Farage

The leader of the Brexit Party splits opinion and looking strictly at his fashion sense it’s splitting my opinion too. The flat cap, tweed and yellow trousers are all striking and support his something-different political vibe – but power dressing it is not. Could you imagine a man in yellow trousers addressing the nation from Downing Street?

1 thatcher out of 5

What about you?

Are you more like a Thatcher or a Farage? If you’re an aspiring male politician (or just an aspiring male in general) take our quiz and see how you stack up compared to our political leaders.



Photo credit:

Scotland’s last single sex state school is set to become co-educational after campaign groups successfully fought for change.

The school has only taught girls since its establishment in 1897. The high-performing Notre Dame High School was placed 39th in performance levels in the graded league tables this year.

The City Administration Committee are scheduled to meet later this month, in which members will discuss the recommendations in order to make a decision regarding the future of the school.

Glasgow City Council released a recent advisory document for councillors ahead of the vote, which contains three options for the vote:

  • Option 1: No Change (39.9%)
  • Option 2: The school would remain as girls only, however the catchment area would extend. (13.7%)
  • Option 3: Change the entry criteria for Notre Dame High School to become co-educational and introduce male students. (45.7%)

Students from the state school held a protest last week objecting the option for the introduction of boys to the school.

In a statement released by the Notre Dame High School Pupil Representative Group,

“We believe that being in an all-girls school enables us to grow to our full potential,” a student said.

“We have a great ethos, encouraging everyone to try their very best, and this makes us amongst the highest performing Catholic schools in Scotland.

“Keep us unique. Keep us all girls.”

Following a consolation in the spring of 2017, regarding the issue, Glasgow City Council urged for more local support to be created before change could be considered. This led to the creation of the campaign and petition group Notre Dame High for All’ (NDH4ALL) who are fighting to allow male pupils to attend the high school.


If change is to happen it would be implemented gradually, with pupils being introduced from S1 rather than joining older year groups. An estimate of £750,000 of work would be needed to ensure the appropriate facilities were in place if male pupils were to be introduced.

Caitlin Gallagher, a former pupil, gives some insight into her experience:

“I attended Notre Dame High School from 2010 to 2016 and had an overall positive experience, however, I must agree that it is now time for a change.

“My choice of school didn’t hinder my education at all, in fact, I excelled in terms of academic results. However, once I moved on in life following 6th year I was faced with the realisation that it was social skills that I lacked.

“Learning in an all-girls environment allowed me to gain a lot of confidence and I felt as though my character flourished throughout high school. However, this created a false sense of security as when I entered further education I wasn’t used to being in a mixed-gender environment and found the setting intimidating.

“In my opinion, it is a fear of change that stops people from supporting the idea of a school that welcomes all genders. With Notre Dame High being such a close community and achieving such great results, I suppose people worry that this will be lost if the system is altered.

“However, having experienced both learning environments I feel that it is unfair and old fashioned to prohibit people from attending a school of their choice simply due to their gender. Although change will be a lengthy process it should be considered an exciting progression for the community.

“I am curious to see what benefits the introduction of male pupils will bring and although I wouldn’t change my secondary education experience it would be interesting to see how I would have developed both academically and socially if I was given the chance to learn in a co-education environment.”

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