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Morrisons boss expresses 'great regret' at store closures

The Chief Executive at Morrisons, the Bradford-based supermarket, has expressed his "great regret" at the closure of 11 stores, which will put 900 jobs at risk.

The firm's suffered a 35 per cent drop in pre-tax profits in the six months to August.

"This is a difficult decision but one which we cannot see any way through to make those stores viable."

– David Potts, Chief Executive

The closures are in addition to 10 supermarkets which shut earlier this year.

Mr Potts said the closures being set out today were mainly smaller-sized supermarkets. He would not disclose the location of the sites straight away with the decision only just being announced to staff.

The move will result in a one-off cost of £20 million.

Morrisons boss: Boosting trading will be 'a long journey'

Credit: Press Association

The Chief Executive of Morrisons has outlined his priorities for the Bradford-based supermarket after it confirmed it plans to close 11 stores, putting 900 jobs at risk.

“The immediate priority is to deliver a better shopping trip to stabilise trading performance. Our six strategic priorities will then deliver improvement in the core supermarkets, where we have the greatest opportunity. It will be a long journey. We approach the challenge with energy, confidence and many strengths, particularly our strong balance sheet and cash flow, which enables investment in improving the customer shopping trip.”

– David Potts, Chief Executive


300,000 illegal cigarettes seized in Grimsby raid

A massive consignment of illicit cigarettes has been uncovered by Trading Standards during an operation in Grimsby.

Sniffer dog Yo-yo sits atop his find of illegal cigarettes Credit: NE Lincs Council

Trading Standards officers working with specially trained sniffer dogs found an estimated 300,000 illicit cigarettes and 150kg tobacco as they searched six premises, including a flat and a house, in the Freeman Street area of Grimsby.

The huge haul is the largest seizure Trading Standards have made in the borough since they began a crackdown on illicit tobacco sales a year ago. Most of it - more than 250,000 cigarettes and 130kg of tobacco - was discovered in a first floor flat above a shop.

To give an idea of the scale – almost 90,000 cigarettes and 82.5kg of rolling tobacco have been seized by Trading Standards during the past 12 months. Yesterday's find was about three times as much.

The estimated street value of the illicit cigarettes found yesterday is about £80,000 and to buy them legitimately would cost £200,500.

Work starts on new £1m Gibraltar Point visitor centre

A spectacular new £1m visitor centre at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve will begin to take shape over the coming months.

Artist's impression of new Gibraltar Point visitor centre

Work has started on the brand new building, which will include a café and educational information.

It replaces the former visitor centre, which suffered extensive flood damage during the storm surge in December 2013. The new building will be raised on stilts to protect it from any future flooding.

"This is an opportunity to make Gibraltar Point even more attractive to visitors - an opportunity we intend to take full advantage of.

"The new visitor centre has been designed to make the most of the reserve's stunning views, with expansive windows facing the dunes and sea, and a rooftop viewing deck.

"Combined with the new North Sea Observatory at Chapel St Leonards, this improved attraction will help extend the traditional tourist season on the coast, providing a significant boost to the local economy."

– Cllr Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development. Lincolnshire County Council

The council has developed the ambitious plans in partnership with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, who will continue to run the site.

"We have worked with the county council at Gibraltar Point for over 65 years, and look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.

"Gibraltar Point has been popular for generations - the new centre will hopefully encourage more visitors to discover this wonderful reserve."

– Paul Learoyd, Chief Executive, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust


Thousands trained in first aid thanks to banker fines

A first aid course in East Yorkshire is being paid for by money raised through fines from one of the country's worst banking scandals - the rigging of the Libor exchange rate used by banks for lending money to one another. More than a thousand teenagers are being taught life-saving skills by St John's Ambulance in Cottingham. It's hoped they will never need to use them but if they do it could save lives.

Ice bucket challenge couple raise £7.1 million

Ice bucket challenge

A couple from Wakefield who pioneered last summer's ice bucket challenge in the UK have raised £7.1 million for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

It is just a year ago since Paula and Robert Maguire started the craze over here - after seeing its success in fundraising in America. It involves having a bucket of icy water poured over ones head, then nominating another victim, all the time raising money for charity.

And the couple are now up for yet another dunking - they say it is their way of saying thank you to everyone who has taken part.

Hull City Council prepares for anticipated public health budget cuts

Hull City Council has started planning where to make savings in public health ahead of anticipated spending cuts. It's expecting to have to make around one point six million pounds of savings by the end of the year - that's more than 7% of the public health budget. The exact figures will be confirmed in September.

A funding cut of the expected level is an unprecedented amount to be asked to save in-year and we have some extremely difficult decisions ahead of us. We will retain our commitment to delivering the best possible standard of service and residents should be reassured that we will make it our absolute priority to continue to protect those who use our services. We will be working closely with staff within the council and commissioned services to achieve this, but it is likely that some impact on the delivery of front line services will be unavoidable. We have begun the process of planning for these cuts so that we are in a position to make required changes when the Chancellor confirms the figure in September. It is regrettable that we are faced with implementing these decisions but unfortunately we do not have a choice.

– Julia Weldon, Director of Public Health
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