Sunak announcement to help Edinburgh businesses as furlough comes to an end

By Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

Edinburgh businesses are set to benefit from the UK Chancellor’s new job support scheme and extension VAT reduction.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has today revealed plans which will ensure workers on reduced hours will still receive most of their pay

Sunak also revealed an extension to the reduced 5% VAT until March 2021, it was previously going to go up to 20% in January.

Edinburgh café owner, Peter Jackson, said “The curb on VAT is really good, it’s helped us out a lot.

“We need an allowance to help towards wages, not a furlough scheme but a percentage of a government pay towards that.”

However, the owner of August_21 feels more could be done to help reduced trade.

“We are trading about half what we were originally and we’re probable at breaking point, no profit.

“I think (aid) should be based on a percentage on how much you trade, you should be backed up by what you’ve taken in gross sales.

“There could be an allowance towards that or even a temporary loan.”

Owner of August_21, Peter Jackson, outside his cafe

The new scheme announced today will ensure employees working at least 33% of the hours will receive 77% of their pay, with the government paying a third of hours not worked and the employer paying the other third.

Sunak also announced that the repayment of emergency loans has been extended with a new loan scheme set to be announced in January.

Sunak explained his thoughts behind the plans, “Our economy is now likely to undergo a more permanent adjustment.

Our task now is to move to the next stage of the economic plan, nurturing the recovery, by protecting jobs through the difficult winter months.”

Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, welcomed the announcement but fears the announcement should have come sooner tweeting, “It will be too late for too many workers… Never again should the government wait until the last possible moment when millions of jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

The SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss also fears not enough has been done claiming on a video posted to Twitter, “it’s not for him to decide the viability of businesses.”

She also raised concerns for those not covered by furlough or the new job support scheme.

“There is nothing here for those excluded in previous support schemes… how dare he say these 3 million people be left high and dry with nothing.”

The new job retention scheme will begin in November and is to last for 6 months and is expected to safeguard “viable jobs.”

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, expressed, “I cannot save every business. I cannot save every job. No chancellor could.”

This week’s newest restrictions

With spikes in cases rapidly rising in the UK, further restrictions have been made in Scotland in order to decrease the spread of Coronavirus.

So, what exactly has changed this week in comparison to last?

Households

You can no longer visit other households in their homes as of Wednesday 23 September, this will become law from Friday onwards.

Exemptions to this include couples from two different households, extended households who have made arrangement for child support and tradesmen who are allowed to enter homes to carry out work.

This is an alternative to England’s ‘rule of six’ which is still in place for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Indoor Hospitality

However, you can still meet up to six people from two different households in a restaurant, pub or bar but there is now a 22:00 curfew on indoor and outdoor venues.

Everyone, including staff and customers, is now required by law to wear a face-covering when out of their seat at all hospitality venues.

Outdoor gatherings

You can meet up to six people from two different households outdoors, including private back gardens.
There is no restriction on the number of children under the age of 12 who can meet outdoors together such as a playground at school.

People aged between 12 and 18 can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6 and are exempt from the two-household restriction.

Travel

There are currently no restrictions on how far you can travel in Scotland, however non-essential foreign travel is not advised.

Nicola Sturgeon said that the latest restrictions will be up for review in three weeks, but it is likely that they will be extended beyond that time period.

Newest Coronavirus restrictions in Scotland


Reporter Jessica Cleland relays the Scottish Governments newest coronavirus restrictions.

In Scotland, you are no longer allowed to visit other households inside their homes or meet other households in your home. This will be the law as of Friday.

Those exempt are those with extended households – for supporting informal childcare support – couples who live apart and tradespeople entering your home for work purposes.

There will also be a new curfew for bars and restaurants forcing them to shut at 10pm.

21st Century Land Girls: Celebrating women in agriculture

In the past, women have played minor roles among the agricultural industry, but they are now being celebrated for their crucial involvement within this traditionally male-dominated sector.

Angela Huth’s wartime book ‘Land Girls’, set in 1941, highlights how women proved their value and capability as farmers as a way of supporting the country. Now, 78 years on, women’s voices are increasingly being heard.

This International Women’s Day, as a way of recognising and celebrating women working in agriculture, EN4 News spoke to some inspiring females to find out why a career in this field is proving to be more popular among all ages.

Janet Mcquistin – (Photo Credit Caroline Mcquistin)

“I love my job because I enjoy working with animals and being outside,” said beef and sheep farmer Janet McQuistin.

“My secondary school guidance teacher was horrified when I said I wanted to farm, as she said it would be a waste of my qualifications. I’m so glad I followed my passion.”

Janet farms with her husband and is widely respected in the local area and beyond due to her involvement in Scotland’s livestock industry.

“I have never faced any discrimination in the livestock world and have judged shows and served on committees equally with other men. There are fewer challenges physically for women like me now in that everything can be mechanised.”

Mrs McQustin went on: “Many also have the opinion that women should be trained in doing farm books, feeding calves or running diversification businesses such as holiday lets. Why can’t some people just see that we want to farm?”

When looking to connect with other female farmers, Janet finds Instagram a particularly useful platform for networking.

“Instagram is brilliant because there are so many female farmers posting about their daily work on the farm. Making these connections helps remove the isolation and solitary nature of our occupation.”

Gemma Sloan, 23, farms alongside her father, grandmother and sister on the most southernly farm in Scotland.

“Farming is something that I’ve always known and is in my genes. I help run a livestock and arable farm, as well as a diversified café on the cliff edge at the Mull of Galloway.

“My granny was also brought up in wellies, surrounded by sheep. She has certainly inspired me to get involved in the family farm,” explained Sloan.

With women now heavily involved in all aspects of the industry, Jane Craigie from Aberdeen runs a marketing and communications agency, specialising in agri-food and rural issues. She employs six other females from across Scotland.

Photo Credit – Jane Craigie Marketing

“Women play a vital role in all aspects of agriculture, and the industry has dramatically moved from a male-dominated one to an increasingly inclusive sector. I am completely pro-talent, not pro-women,” she told EN4 News.

“In my experience and as an employee of all women in my own marketing team, I feel that women are natural communicators, innately curious, empathetic and creative, which is crucial in the future development of the industry.”

Being the first women to be appointed to the Ringlink Scotland board, one of the UK’s largest agricultural business rings, Ms Craigie is enthusiastic about encouraging more women onto the agricultural board as a way of recognising talent irrespective of gender.

These women are part of the push to create diverse career opportunities with the farming sector. Despite the industry still being male-dominated, females more respected than ever and celebrated equally for their work.

For more information on women in agriculture organisations, follow the below links:

https://www.womeninagriculture.scot/

https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/women-in-agriculture/

Six Nations: Full previews as Scotland men’s, women’s and under-20’s teams prepare for France test

 

Scotland Men vs. France

Sunday March 8, Murrayfield, 7:45 PM 

Weir returns to Scotland fold against tournament favourites

Wigan Warriors fly-half Duncan Weir could make his first Scotland start under Gregor Townsend as he is named on the bench for the squad to face France at Murrayfield.

He made the last of his 27 caps in 2017 before his former Glasgow Warriors boss Townsend omitted him from the fold after becoming Scotland head coach.

“When I reflect on the England game, to have someone like Duncan on the bench would have helped,” Townsend admitted.

In one of three changes to the side, Nick Haining takes the spot of Magnus Bradbury at number eight, while Fraser Brown will make his 50th cap by replacing Stuart McInally.

The visiting team have been tipped by many to emerge as the competition’s winners, having won all three of their matches so far.

Scotland’s form contrasts greatly, having picked up just the sole victory in the Stadio Olympico last week with a 17-0 win.

“We’re going to have to deliver our best rugby of the championship in order to beat a team in such good form,” Townsend said.

“It’s a very different French team to the one we played in Paris 12 months ago, that’s for sure.

“France’s victories have been built on an aggressive and well-organised defence, so the precision, decision-making and attacking game will have to be very good to get in behind them this weekend.

“It’s no different to the challenges we face every week in this championship.”

The game has survived any threats of cancellation due to the coronavirus, while the Italy vs Ireland match due for the day before was deemed unsafe to go ahead.

 

Scotland Women vs. France

Saturday March 7, Scotstoun, 7:45 PM

Scotland unchanged despite two opening losses

Head coach Phillip Doyle has named an unchanged side as Scotland look to bounce from opening defeats in the Women’s Six Nations.

Scotland have not played in over three weeks after their round 3 match against Italy in Rome was postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus in the country.

But Doyle has picked the same XV that would have started against Italy, with hooker Lana Skeldon set to win her 40th cap.

Scotland opened their Women’s Six Nations campaign with defeats to Ireland and England, while France are second in the table after thrashing Wales 50-0 in their last outing.

Speaking ahead of the game, Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm said the team’s rhythm had not been disrupted by the postponed Italy fixture and insisted they were ready to go.

“We’ve had a bit longer rest than we would have had, so I think we’ve got a fresh squad who are chomping at the bit to get going this week, which is a positive,” Malcolm said.

“We haven’t had that exposure to a Test match so we’ve upped the intensity in terms of contact in camp this week, which we wouldn’t always do in the build-up to a match, but the girls are firing on all cylinders and just ready to go again. So I think the break has actually done us good.”

Scotland Under-20’s vs. France

Friday 6th March, Netherdale, 8:00 PM

Frostwick the sole change as Scotland look to edge ahead of France

Scotland and France sit level on points ahead of their penultimate Six Nations match in Galashiels tonight, with one win apiece.

The young Scots are looking to build on their first victory of this year’s tournament following their 30-29 victory over Italy in Round 3 last week., after losing the opening two.

Only one change has been made to that victorious side, as Roan Frostwick replaces Kyle McGhie at scrum-half.

He has impressed for Watsonians this year in the inaugural Super6 tournament and credits time spent with Edinburgh Rugby and playing in the new competition for his step up in standard.

“I was lucky enough to be invited to pre-season with Edinburgh which kicked on really well,” he said. “I’ve trained pretty much the whole time with Edinburgh this season, and being at Watsonians has helped massively.

“There’s definitely a step up from the Premiership to Super6 and then from Super6 to this [international]. Credit to Scottish Rugby for trying to make that transition for younger players into a more professional environment. It has really worked.”

Scotland are yet to beat France at under-20 level, and Frostwick believes that attacking is the only way to pick up that elusive win.

“We had a good go at them last year – I think it’s on the cards [a first win],” he predicted.

“We are a good side, France are a good side, you can’t take that away from them.

“Against England we started well but we couldn’t hold it, and we ideally should’ve won, but if we come out the gates firing, France will be shocked and we just carry on the momentum.”

Women’s Six Nations: Female players are treated differently to men – Forsyth

Jemma Forsyth represented Scotland in the 2017 Women’s Six Nations tournament (Photo courtesy of Jemma Forsyth)

Female rugby players in the Six Nations are being treated differently to their male counterparts, according to a former Scotland women’s international.

Jemma Forsyth has claimed that women’s rugby is still not seen as equal to the men’s despite the sport’s growth in recent seasons

“While women’s rugby has grown in recent seasons, it’s still not looked at with the same sort of equality as men’s rugby,” Forsyth told EN4 News. 

“If you compared it with tennis at Wimbledon for example, women’s tennis is on TV just as much as men’s tennis is, they’ve got the same facilities, they’ll play on the same courts. Everything is exactly the same.”

The women’s Six Nations runs concurrently with the men’s tournament but matches are staged at different venues and female players often have to deal with inferior facilities and playing conditions.

“Women play in the Six Nations exactly the same as men do, the exact same dates, the exact same teams, the tournament follows the exact same structure. But you don’t get provided with the same quality of venue or the quality of changing rooms.”

Former Scotland international Jemma Forsyth spoke to EN4 News about the inequality between the men’s and women’s Six Nations tournaments

 

Last month there was controversy after Wales’ team were left without hot water following their Six Nations match against Ireland, while Scotland and England’s rearranged fixture, postponed due to Storm Ciara, was played behind closed doors even though the men’s match went ahead in front of a capacity crowd at Murrayfield.

The Six Nations also has the widest gender pay gap out of the UK’s biggest sporting competitions, with the winner of the men’s tournament receiving £5 million while the winner of the winning women receive nothing.

Forsyth made more than 20 international appearances for Scotland over two spells but was forced to quit because she could not balance playing rugby with a full-time job, and she said that further investment in the women’s game would help close the gap.

“Rugby is a business at the end of the day, and if they don’t see women’s rugby bringing in money then they are not necessarily going to spend the same money on women’s rugby that they would on men,” she said.

“But to counter that, if you don’t put the money in then you won’t get the same following as what the men get.

“So I think they’ve got to invest more, which I do genuinely believe Scottish Rugby has started to do. They’re definitely going in the right direction with investing more and it has started to grow, and I think it will continue to if the investment is there.”

Julie Inglis, board trustee of Scottish Women in Sport, called on rugby’s governing bodies and the Six Nations organisers to address the inequality.

“It’s quite evident that the Six Nations tournaments are being treated very differently,” Inglis told EN4 News. “Women’s rugby is not taken as seriously as it should be.”

Inglis also stressed that the problem isn’t exclusive to international rugby.

“I can’t say this for every rugby club but there are certainly many where they are treated very differently and the women are almost not taken seriously.

“There needs to be change at board level and committee level all the way through the sport.”

The Scottish Rugby Union supports up 10 female players with professional contracts. England and France are the only women’s Six Nations teams to offer professional contacts to their full squad.

Scotland play France in their third match of the campaign at Scotstoun on Saturday.

Homelessness in Scotland deemed “health epidemic” by Scottish minister

The Scottish Government must do more to combat homelessness, an opposition MSP has told EN4 News.

Homelessness deaths in Scotland rose by 19% between 2017 and 2018, according to a report published this week.

The number of deaths increased from an estimated 164 to an estimated 195 over the period studied.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton challenged the First Minister over the issue at FMQ’s on Thursday and has now said that the government’s policy implementation isn’t going far enough.

“The First Minister has outlined her plans for Housing First, and it is a good first step but 830 people in Housing First isn’t going to cure the disease of homelessness.

“Around four people a week died in 2018, a shocking statistic, and when you consider that nearly 30,000 households were assessed as homeless last year, 830 tenancies just simply won’t cut it”.

The Scottish government has been running a ‘Housing First Project’, with the goal of creating over 800 tenancies from April 2019.

Cole-Hamilton also noted the need for homelessness to be treated as a public health issue.

“This is a health epidemic, and the treatment that Housing First provides is a good model to follow, but the rollout isn’t happening fast enough and won’t be effective enough to eradicate homelessness,” he said.

“It is important to realise how many people could be put at risk if policies don’t adapt.”

The recent figures were published by the National Records for Scotland (NRS) and included those in temporary housing or with “no fixed abode” in their statistics.

(Credit: Rhi Ramsay)

Edinburgh’s death rate was higher than the national average at 42.1 deaths per million, although this was considerably lower than the rate in Glasgow and Aberdeen which were 100.5 and 67.8 per million respectively.

The jump in deaths coincided with the particularly harsh winter Scotland experienced in 2018, when “The Beast from the East” brought record low temperatures.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart claimed that the Scottish government planned to “transform” homelessness services.

In a statement, Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said: “Behind these shocking figures lie individual personal tragedies. People living in desperate situations ultimately failed by the system.

“It is vital that the effort to end this loss of life does not end with the publication of the figures.”

“It’s an honest portrayal of Scottish people ” – Our Ladies director speaks to EN4 News

Stop what you’re doing, grab your girlies and get ready to be hit by a wave of nostalgia.

For the first time in forever, there is a film based in Scotland, about Scottish culture that isn’t “Trainspotting”… no, it’s not “Trainspotting 2” either.

Broxburn born film director, Michael Caton-Jones, has stepped out of Hollywood film-making to step back into the culture he is more than familiar with and presents us with “Our Ladies”.

Based on Alan Warner’s novel “The Sopranos”, set in the year 1996, “Our Ladies” follows a group of Catholic schoolgirls from the Scottish Highlands who go on a trip to Edinburgh for a choir competition.

Focusing less on singing and more on boys and booze, the film is a coming-of-age for these six young Scottish ladies.

Credit: Sigma Films

Speaking exclusively to EN4News, Caton-Jones said that he felt he was the only one who could do it justice: “It was the first time I had ever read anything that was accurate and honest about the way I had grown up and I felt at that time. There weren’t many directors with my background.”

He first secured the rights to adapt Warner’s book 20 years ago as what was initially going to be a side project.

It has taken the director years to find financial backing to be able to make the film, with many places not getting the hype about a female-led film until recently.

“I found other people’s perceptions [of the characters] the strangest thing. ‘Oh, you can’t let them behave like that!’ Well, how can’t you?

“I remember my big sister and her pals, I thought they were great fun. I grew up in Scotland, with Scottish women and I don’t find them wallflowers, I find them equals.”

The actresses in the film are largely unknown.

Eve Austin, Tallulah Greive, Abigail Lawrie, Rona Morison, Marli Sui and Sally Messham star in the film and each have roots here in Scotland.

“What I was trying to do was make an honest portrayal of the way people are” (Credit: Sigma Films)

The director told EN4 News that he didn’t feel he could stuff this film full of recognisable faces: “The advantages of having a cast that nobody recognises is that it looks like a completely fresh view of the world, because you’re delighted that you’re finding these people and believing them.”

This is not the first time Caton-Jones has picked an undiscovered actor for a role.

In 1993, he cast the little-known Leonardo DiCaprio in his first film, “This Boy’s Life” and was thanked by DiCaprio in his Oscar acceptance speech for giving him his first role.

As someone who comes from “a very working-class background”, the film-maker feels it can be difficult to get opportunities, especially here in Scotland.

“I find there is a lot of talent in Scotland, but I don’t feel that there are a lot of ways of channelling that.

“I’m a nice working-class boy, and very few of them come through in the film industry.”

As a coming-of-age film, set and filmed entirely in Scotland, “Our Ladies” is one of the first of its kind in the film industry.

It has been hailed as a “must-see” by leading British film magazine, Sight and Sound, after its world premiere in London last year.

It is due to make its Scottish debut at Glasgow Film Festival at the end of this month.

“What I was trying to do was make an honest portrayal of the way people are and the way they behave and because I’m Scottish, I know these people intimately,” he said, “The things that happen to these girls could happen to anybody, anywhere in the world and it’s the universality of that that you’re trying to create.”

“Our Ladies” will be released across the UK on March 6 this year.

Scotland Under-20s players relishing the opportunity to play England in front of Myreside crowd in mini Six Nations clash

 

Scotland Under-20 head coach, Sean Lineen, has made two changes to the starting 15 ahead of this evening’s clash against England at Myreside.

Loose-head prop Thomas Lambert comes in for Alex Maxwell, while tight-head prop Mak Wilson takes the spot of Dan Gamble.

The Scots go into the fixture off the back of a tough 38-26 loss to reigning champions Ireland in Dublin last weekend, while their counterparts arrive in Edinburgh sitting second in the table following a 29-24 away victory over France.

“They’re very physical, powerful players, and they play at a very high standard,” Scotland starting hooker Ewan Ashman said of the English opposition.

“They’ve got a lot of Gallagher Premiership players in their squad. So it’s going to be very physical up front, and the boys are going to really have to stick together on this one.”

Ashman, who was the top try scorer in last year’s Under-20 World Championships, comes into this campaign as one of the leadership figures in the squad.

His role sees him pair new captain Rory Darge in leading the forward pack.

Darge concurred with his teammate in his estimations of the England side, telling EN4 News: “They’re big, big players and a lot of them play at a really high level, so they’ll understand what it takes to win games.

“They’ll come at us with a lot of physicality and power. The challenge for us is just to match that as best we can and get into them.”

The Scotland boys will have their foothold in the match boosted by the fact that the encounter will be taking place at George Watson’s Myreside stadium, a ground known for the close atmosphere it can create.

“It’s a really good atmosphere at Myreside, the stand is almost on top of you, so if there is a good crowd there then that’ll be awesome,” Darge said.

Scotland need a win to keep their slim hopes of a title win alive, while stopping rivals England from retaining their Calcutta Cup crown.

Bradbury the sole change to Scotland squad named to face England

Magnus Bradbury is the only change to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side who host England at BT Murrayfield for this weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash.

The Edinburgh back-row missed last weekend’s 19-12 defeat to Ireland in Dublin, the side’s opening game in the Six Nations, with a thigh strain.

Forward coach Danny Wilson saw promising signs in the defeat to Ireland.

“What happened for us in Dublin last week was some fine margins. One or two things went against us,” Wilson said.

“We talked about some of the positives of last week, but we lost the game. This is a home game; we have to go out there to win.”

Having been knocked out of the Rugby World Cup in the group stages last year, Wilson is hoping that Scotland take experience from the tournament into games of this size.

“We’ve learnt some lessons from the World Cup,” the assistant coach said. “International rugby is an extremely physical game, we know the physicality that will be required for us to be competitive.”

Eddie Jones’s England side may be favourites to win the competition, but they will be desperate for a win in Edinburgh after losing their opening game to France 24-17 in Paris last weekend.

The World Cup runners-up lost on their last visit to the capital in 2018 and failed to claw back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham last year, settling for a draw.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg is expecting a different England performance this time around.

“We can’t stand back and admire England for too long,” he said. “They’ve got some cracking individuals, they got to the World Cup final for a reason.”

“We’ve got the game plan and the players in this squad to win test matches. There’s a Calcutta cup to play for and that’s all we’re concentrating on.”

“I truly believe if we nail our jobs in attack and defence, we can turn over England.”

Scott Cummings, who will start against Eddie Jones’ side, has become a regular in the team since the World Cup in Japan. The lock told EN4 News about how the experience of the big stage has prepared him for tomorrow’s game.

Scotland trained at BT Murrayfield this morning ahead of the game. (Credit: Joe Anderson)

“That final game against Japan, in Japan, was such a tense atmosphere with everyone supporting Japan, wanting them to come through.” he said.

“Ireland away was also an amazing atmosphere but I don’t think there won’t be many better atmospheres that Scotland vs England at Murrayfield.”

“England will be looking to be dominant upfront but so will we. We know that if we win upfront we have the quality in the backs to break the game open. We’ve just really been focusing on ourselves and what we can do in the game”

Nick Haining, who gained his first cap for his country when he started in the loss to Ireland, drops to the bench in Bradbury’s place.

Meaning Bradbury will start in an all-Edinburgh back row featuring Jamie Ritchie on the blindside and Hamish Watson at openside.

An unchanged backline sees Ali Price and Adam Hastings form a familiar partnership from club level, with Sam Johnson and Huw Jones – who have both scored tries against England in 2018 and 2019 respectively – start in midfield.

Hogg captains the side in a back-three with Sean Maitland and Blair Kinghorn joining him.

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