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B&Q store closures follow 7.5% drop in profits

Kingfisher, the parent company of home improvement chain B&Q, plans to axe about 15 percent of "surplus space" as a result of a review of its 360 B&Q stores.

The move was announced as it posted a 7.5 percent drop in annual profits to £675 million after sales fell by 1.4 percent to £11 billion in the year to January 31.

Veronique Laury, Kingfisher's Chief Executive Officer, said:

We are announcing today a set of first ‘sharp’ decisions which are already under way including the closure of around 15% surplus B&Q space (c.60 stores) and our few loss making stores in Europe.

– Veronique Laury

Queen Elizaebth II Bridge at Dartford Crossing closed due to high winds

The A282 Dartford Crossing Queen Elizabeth II Bridge has been closed to all vehicles due to strong winds, the Highways Agency said.

All southbound traffic is being diverted via the east bore (the high tunnel).

Chiltern Railways said services between Aylesbury and London Marylebone have been suspended because of a tree on the line between Moor Park and Amersham.


Weather: Heavy winds of up to 60mph expected

It'll be windy everywhere today with gales in places, especially near northwestern coasts where wind gusts could exceed 60 miles per hour.

Britain is set for heavy winds of up to 60 mph today. Credit: Met Office

However, the gales we've seen across parts of southern England and Wales will ease slightly during this morning.

It'll also be chilly with a mix of sunshine and scattered showers.

The showers will be heaviest and most frequent in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with a wintry mix of rain, sleet, snow, hail and thunder in many places.

The snow will settle over some hills, although not in any great quantities.

The best of the sunshine will be in the south and southeast of England where temperatures will reach 12 Celsius.

Temperatures in the north will reach 7 degrees at best but they'll drop by several degrees during any showers.

Britain braced for more strong winds after overnight gales

Britain is braced for more windy conditions on Tuesday after gales of up to 70 mph hit the country overnight.

Parts of Britain experienced gales of up to 70 mph last night. Credit: PA Wire

Parts of north Wales, the Bristol Channel and East Anglia experienced high winds of up to 70mph overnight and forecasters have warned that it will "stay a pretty windy day" with winds of around 60 mph expected.

Motorists have been warned of "difficult" driving conditions with a yellow be aware warning for wind in place for much of the day.

Yesterday, Britons were told to give up hopes of a sunny Easter break, with forecasters warning of rain, wind and even snow before the weekend.

Election campaign day two: What to expect today

The party leaders will discuss their plans for the economy and health service as the second day of official general election campaigning gets underway today - here's what to expect:

David Cameron will discuss his party's plans for the economy today. Credit: PA Wire
  • 9.00am: David Cameron will visit a Sainsbury's store in London after announcing his intention to create two million new jobs if elected in May
  • Ed Miliband will appear on Absolute Radio this morning before speaking on the ITV Granada sofa later tonight
  • 10.00am: Nick Clegg will discuss the Liberal Democrat's mental health funding pledge at a health centre in Watford
  • 10.00am: Plaid Cymru launches its election manifesto in Bangor, North Wales
  • 11.00am: Ukip leader Nigel Farage will hold an event at a pub in Dover


Lib Dems pledge extra £2bn for mental health services

The Liberal Democrats would pump an extra £2.25 billion into mental health services in England by 2020 to reverse decades of "institutionalised indifference" to the issue, Nick Clegg has vowed.

Nick Clegg has pledged to spend extra money on mental health care. Credit: PA Wire

The funding commitment - which comes top of the £1.25 billion announced in the coalition Government's last budget - will help introduce new waiting time standards and improve services for mothers suffering post-natal depression.

Announcing the Liberal Democrats' "Manifesto for the Mind", the Deputy Prime Minister said: "I hope by the end of the next parliament people really will see a major difference.

"But it's a journey which we have got to keep going on because it's having to reverse decades of underinvestment and decades of something close to institutionalised indifference if not discrimination against mental health in the NHS."

Mr Clegg said a story of a teenager's battle with anorexia in his constituency in Sheffield had had a "really searing impact" on him and prompted his desire to improve mental health care provision.

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