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Coronavirus jobs catastrophe: Food retailer Upper Crust to lay off 5,000 – half its workforce

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Upper Crust owner SSP Group is axing up to 5,000 UK jobs as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the British economy. 

SSP’s job cuts could represent up to 55 per cent of its 9,000-strong workforce employed in the UK during the summer period.

An internal memo indicated that SSP bosses had ‘come to the very difficult conclusion that we will need to simplify and reshape our business’.

‘This includes a proposed reorganisation which could lead to a headcount reduction of up to c.5,000,’ it added, according to Sky News.

Pre-lockdown, SSP traded from around 2,800 units in airports, railway stations and motorway services stations. It served 1.5million customers every day in 35 countries. 

MailOnline have contacted SSP, which employs 9,000 people and has around 580 stores including those trading under the Caffe Ritazza brand in the UK, for comment.

It comes as Airbus, Europe’s biggest aircraft maker, today announced plans to slash nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations – including 1,700 in the UK.

Meanwhile EasyJet today said 4,500 jobs were at risk, and Bensons for Beds, Harveys and TM Lewin all announced layoffs and store closures.   

Upper Crust owner SSP Group is axing up to 5,000 UK jobs (pictured, in Marylebone Station)

Upper Crust owner SSP Group is axing up to 5,000 UK jobs (pictured, in Marylebone Station)

Upper Crust owner SSP Group is axing up to 5,000 UK jobs (pictured, in Marylebone Station)

Aerospace giant Airbus is to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic causes 'the gravest crisis' the aviation industry has ever faced (Airbus facility near Nantes, France)

Aerospace giant Airbus is to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic causes 'the gravest crisis' the aviation industry has ever faced (Airbus facility near Nantes, France)

Aerospace giant Airbus is to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic causes ‘the gravest crisis’ the aviation industry has ever faced (Airbus facility near Nantes, France)

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol (pictured, British Airways Airbus A380 airplanes)

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol (pictured, British Airways Airbus A380 airplanes)

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol (pictured, British Airways Airbus A380 airplanes)

The job cuts at Airbus represent 15 per cent of its 90,000-strong commercial aerospace workforce – 50 per cent greater than cuts it made in 2007. 

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in north Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol. 

Airbus added that while it will try to limit job losses to voluntary redundancies and retirements, compulsory redundancies ‘cannot be ruled out’.  

A statement said: ‘Airbus has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the Covid-19 crisis.’

How coronavirus has affected UK airlines and travel operators 

Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe. 

British Airways: The International Airlines Group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75 per cent reduction in passenger capacity for two months, with boss Willie Walsh admitting there was ‘no guarantee that many European airlines would survive’. The company has since said it wants to reduce the number of staff by 12,000. 

Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it expects to ask the Government for a bailout to cope with the impact of the pandemic. 

Jet2: The airline has suspended all of its flights departing from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around mid-air last month while travelling to Spain when a lockdown was announced in the country.

Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have reduced its lights by 80 per cent by March 26, and this will go up to 85 per cent by April. It has also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.

Ryanair: More than 90 per cent of the Irish-based airline’s planes are now grounded, with the rest of the aircraft providing repatriation and rescue flights. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would be forced to shed 3,000 jobs while seeking pay reductions of up to 20 per cent by those who remain. 

TUI: Holiday giant Tui is looking to cut up to 8,000 roles worldwide with the firm calling Covid-19 the ‘greatest crisis’ the industry has faced.

The UK’s biggest tour operator posted losses of 845.8 million euro (£747m) in the first half of 2020, compared to 289.1 million (£255m) in the same period 12 months previously. 

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It added that ‘this adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021’.

Airbus slashed aircraft production by a third to about 60 a month in April. It has seen commercial aircraft business activity drop by nearly 40 per cent in recent months. 

The aerospace giant had furloughed 3,200 UK staff after its chief executive said the company was ‘bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed’. 

Workers at the Broughton factory in north Wales were furloughed and the company had applied for the UK Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme. 

‘Airbus confirms it has agreed with its social partners to apply the government’s Job Retention Scheme for approximately 3,200 production and production-support employees at its commercial aircraft site in Broughton,’ it had said. 

In a statement released today, chief executive Guillaume Faury revealed: ‘Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced. 

‘The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. 

‘Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. 

‘To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. 

‘Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. 

‘We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry.

‘The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.’

Mr Faury added that the cuts could have been ‘significantly worse’ had it not been for government support.  

Airbus is the UK’s biggest aerospace company. Its Oxford base is a major helicopter supplier for the Ministry of Defence and air ambulance services.   

The company is also planning to cut 5,000 jobs in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain and 1,300 positions at its other worldwide sites.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, said ‘Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly-integrated UK supply chain’. 

He called on the Government ‘to support a strong recovery’, adding: ‘This is undoubtedly the toughest period the global aerospace industry has ever faced’. 

Meanwhile, Unite called the announcement ‘another act of industrial vandalism and a terrible insult to our incredible UK workforce’. 

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Tuner said: ‘Over the weeks of this crisis, this country’s aerospace jobs have gone hand over fist yet not one word of support or act of assistance has been forthcoming from the Government.

‘The UK Government is watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed. The only words uttered by the Government in relation to UK aerospace during this entire crisis came out of the blue today in relation to the prime minister’s UK-made ‘Jet Zero’ project. But while our world-class industry is shedding skills and workers at the present rate, this project will be nothing more than a PR fantasy. 

Around 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 in the UK and 1,300 elsewhere will be cut (pictured, Air France A380 Airbus and airplanes)

Around 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 in the UK and 1,300 elsewhere will be cut (pictured, Air France A380 Airbus and airplanes)

Around 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 in the UK and 1,300 elsewhere will be cut (pictured, Air France A380 Airbus and airplanes)

In a statement released today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury (pictured) said the company's future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry

In a statement released today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury (pictured) said the company's future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry

In a statement released today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the company's future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry (pictured, Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes and Services)

In a statement released today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the company's future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry (pictured, Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes and Services)

In a statement released today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury (left) said the company’s future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry (right, Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes and Services)

‘UK aerospace workers deserve the same support and investment that Mr (Emmanuel) Macron and Ms (Angela) Merkel provide to their workers. 

‘Airbus workers in France and Germany have up to two years to work to fend off their redundancies and turn their businesses around while in the UK the axe falls with immediate effect. With every day that goes by without any action to support this sector from the UK Government, our competitors cheer.’   

Peter Hughes, Unite’s Wales regional secretary, said: ‘The significance of large-scale job losses at Airbus would have a devastating impact on the aerospace sector in Wales and on the wider Welsh economy.

‘Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the aerospace sector for months. 

‘This support has been provided by France and Germany. 

‘Will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs? We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan.’ 

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: ‘News of job losses today in the aviation sector is devastating for those affected. Thousands of jobs have been under threat of redundancy, with staff, the sector and politicians of all sides urging the Government to act, yet Tory ministers have been found wanting.’ 

The company is cutting nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations to stay afloat as the coronavirus crisis rocks the air travel industry (pictured, Air France Airbus A380 aircraft)

The company is cutting nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations to stay afloat as the coronavirus crisis rocks the air travel industry (pictured, Air France Airbus A380 aircraft)

The company is cutting nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations to stay afloat as the coronavirus crisis rocks the air travel industry (pictured, Air France Airbus A380 aircraft)

EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees (pictured, EasyJet planes at Stansted Airport today)

EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees (pictured, EasyJet planes at Stansted Airport today)

EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees (pictured, EasyJet planes at Stansted Airport today)

He added: ‘Labour has consistently called for an extension to the furlough in the most impacted industries, and a sectoral deal that supports the whole aviation industry, including securing jobs and protecting the supply chain, while continuing to press for higher environmental standards.’ 

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: ‘This is extremely worrying news for workers, their families and the wider community.’ 

Wales’s minister for economy, transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: ‘The sector is in crisis and the UK Government needs to take swift and decisive action now to save the industry and its supply chain. 

‘The alarm bells have been sounding for weeks and we need urgent steps at a UK level to prevent this crisis becoming even worse.’

How was easyJet doing before the lockdown? 

According to Feb 2020 flight schedules, easyJet operated over 8,900 flights (one-way) a week, from over 120 airports (mainly in Europe).

In terms of flights operated per week during the month of Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five airports were:

  • London Gatwick – 850 flights
  • Geneva – 522 flights
  • Berlin – 396 flights
  • London Luton – 372 flights
  • Amsterdam – 353 flights

Per week in Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five routes, in terms of scheduled seats available, were between:

  • London Gatwick and Geneva
  • London Gatwick and Amsterdam
  • Paris Orly and Toulouse
  • London Luton and Amsterdam
  • Paris Orly and Nice

Earlier today, budget airline EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees, and announced plans to close its bases at London‘s Stansted and Southend airports, and at Newcastle.    

Some 727 of its UK-based pilots are at risk of redundancy, equivalent to about one-third of its pilots in the country. 

The airline had announced last month that it was reducing its workforce by nearly a third, warning it needed to cut 4,500 jobs to stay competitive.

At the start of this month easyJet raised £419million of cash to help it see through the pandemic. It has also taken a £600million government loan.

The Luton-based carrier becomes the latest domino to fall in the aviation industry, which has suffered massive losses in the wake of the pandemic.  

EasyJet said the proposals are to close the bases in August to customers booked to fly from the airport over the summer ‘will not be affected as a result of this.’ 

Today, it began consultation on proposals with employee representatives on all of its UK-based pilots and crew. 

The proposals include the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. 

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: ‘These are very difficult proposals to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time for the airline and the industry as a whole. We are focused on doing what is right for the company and its long term health and success so we can protect jobs going forward.

‘Unfortunately the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people – we are committed to working constructively with our employee representatives across the network with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible.

‘These proposals are no reflection on our people at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, who have all worked tirelessly and have been fully committed to providing great service for our customers.’

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA)  accused EasyJet of ‘excessive overreaction’ and urged the Government to stop the industry’s ‘death spiral’.  

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren (pictured at Gatwick on June 15) said the proposals were 'difficult to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time'

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren (pictured at Gatwick on June 15) said the proposals were 'difficult to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time'

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren (pictured at Gatwick on June 15) said the proposals were ‘difficult to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time’

EasyJet aircraft pictured at London Southend Airport in Essex today

EasyJet aircraft pictured at London Southend Airport in Essex today

EasyJet aircraft pictured at London Southend Airport in Essex today

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) has accused EasyJet of 'excessive over-reaction' after the airline today revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose its jobs

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) has accused EasyJet of 'excessive over-reaction' after the airline today revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose its jobs

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has accused EasyJet of ‘excessive over-reaction’ after the airline today revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose its jobs

The union tweeted: ‘We are shocked at the size of potential pilot job losses in easyJet which equate to nearly 1-in-3 of easyJet pilots in the UK: 727 pilots.  

‘easyJet paid £174million out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600million from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4billion in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough.

‘So this seems an excessive over-reaction. It doesn’t add up. We are meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.

‘This is more evidence that aviation in the UK is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction. Govt should step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses’.

TM Lewin collapsed into administration today with 600 jobs axed.

The 122-year-old shirtmaker’s 66 shops, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, will disappear from the high street but its online platform will remain.

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March. 

The 122-year-old shirtmaker’s 66 shops, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, will disappear from the UK high street but its online platform will remain (file photo)

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March (file photo)

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March (file photo)

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March (file photo)

It is the latest retail victim of the crisis, following the owner of Britain’s biggest shopping centres Intu Properties which went into administration last week. 

A TM Lewin source told MailOnline an email was sent to staff 25 minutes before a Microsoft team meeting to tell them they were being made redundant.

The woman, who worked for the company, said the conference lasted just four minutes with around 110 staff on the call.

She said the meeting was held by the new owner of TM Lewin, Torque, with group transformation CEO James Doyan hosting it.  

She added: ‘There was no chance for anyone to ask questions or have any say. We were told to mute ourselves and turn off our cameras for the meeting.’ 

Harveys also became another casualty of the pandemic today as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs.

Over 1,000 more jobs could be axed if 20 stores at risk of closure shut. 

Harveys became another casualty of the pandemic today as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs

Harveys became another casualty of the pandemic today as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs

Harveys became another casualty of the pandemic today as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs

Harveys website says they are no longer taking new orders but will honour existing orders

Harveys website says they are no longer taking new orders but will honour existing orders

Harveys website says they are no longer taking new orders but will honour existing orders

Collapsed: All Harveys stores, around 20 and mostly in London, will continue to trade for now and existing customer orders will be honoured

Collapsed: All Harveys stores, around 20 and mostly in London, will continue to trade for now and existing customer orders will be honoured

Collapsed: All Harveys stores, around 20 and mostly in London, will continue to trade for now and existing customer orders will be honoured

All Harveys stores in the UK will continue to trade for now as administrators PwC look for a buyer for the business and its three manufacturing sites. 

The company’s website says they are not taking any new orders, but claims that ‘existing orders will be delivered as communicated’. 

The chain, which is owned by private equity firm Alteri Investors, was already struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic struck.  

‘A combination of structural issues and Covid means we are going to have to leave behind the underperforming part of the business’, said CEO Gavin George.

Harvey’s sister furniture chain, Bensons for Beds, also fell into administration, but was immediately bought back by Alteri in a ‘prepack deal’. 

Under the deal, they plan to keep up to 175 of Bensons for Beds’s 242 stores as well as its Huntingdon manufacturing operation and nearly 1,900 jobs. 

Zelf Hussain, joint administrator at PwC, said the two furniture chains, and especially Harveys, had faced ‘cashflow pressures’ in recent months, which were ‘exacerbated by coronavirus on the supply chain and customer sales’. 

Twelve million jobs are now being propped up by the state: Furlough bill rises by another £2.6billion in a WEEK to £25billion, while grants to self-employed hit £7.7billion 

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent for MailOnline 

Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today.

The coronavirus job retention scheme (JRS) which pays 80 per cent of salary costs for staff – rose £2.6billion this week from £22.9billion the week before.

It is now supporting 9.3million jobs, according to the Treasury and HMRC, while the support scheme for the self-employed rose to 7.7billion, across 2.6million claims.

Banks have lent small businesses £29.5billion-worth of 100 per cent state-backed loans, up about £1.5 billion pounds from the previous week. 

Larger firms had received £11.1 billion from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 2.3 billion pounds. 

The figures were released as Boris Johnson promised a ‘New Deal’ to rebuild Britain.

Britain's furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today

Britain's furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today

Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today

Figures reveal scale of Covid business loans 

Figures released on Tuesday by the Treasury and HMRC show one extent of the Government’s massive spending spree to help sure up a faltering economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.

As ministers ordered Britons to stay at home unless they had to shop for food in March, Rishi Sunak promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the companies whose business would be decimated by the decision.

It meant launching three Government-backed loans, the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), a similar scheme for larger businesses called CLBILS, and the bounce-back loans, which help out some of the smallest companies.

Data for last week, released Tuesday, again shows that the bounce-back loans have proved the most popular.

Close to 1.2million businesses have applied for the loans of up to £50,000.

So far a little under 970,000 have been approved and handed £29.5billion.

Meanwhile, 105,000 companies have applied for a CBILS loan, 52,000 have been approved, and £11.1billion has been paid out. Out of the 745 applicants for CLBILS, 359 have been approved for loans worth £2.3 billion.

The Government also revealed that 1.1 million businesses have furloughed 9.3 million workers, claiming £25.5 billion to cover a portion of their salaries while they cannot work.

The costly programmes were launched to see Britain through the worst of lockdown, but the Government will hope that these can be eased.

The Treasury has already said that companies will have to shoulder some of the burden for paying their furloughed workers from August, before the programme is phased out.

The deadline for new applications to the scheme was set at June 30.

It comes as the economy is preparing to return to some semblance of normality. On Saturday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 23.

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson today pledged to ‘build, build, build’, bringing forward a massive programme of public works.

He said that Britain can ‘not just bounce back, but bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before’ in the wake of the coronavirus.

But in a grim reminder that the virus is still at large, Mr Johnson was last night locked in crisis talks about reimposing the lockdown in Leicester.

Today’s speech was accompanied by billions of pounds of investment in building and refurbishing schools, hospitals and roads, as well as spending on transport and local growth projects.

A new unit, dubbed Project Speed, will be led by Rishi Sunak this summer to identify projects that can be fast-tracked.

Reform of the planning system to remove ‘blockages’ is also under consideration. And a new National Infrastructure Strategy will be published in the autumn.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will put the ‘infrastructure revolution’ at the heart of a mini-Budget expected on July 8.

In his speech in Dudley today, the PM pledged to ‘build back better and stronger’, with a programme designed to reach all parts of the country.

‘Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis,’ he said. 

The PM offered an ‘opportunity guarantee’ to young people and those who have lost their jobs because of the lockdown, with major investment in apprenticeships and further education.

And his chief aide Dominic Cummings is shaking up the Whitehall machine, which saw the departure of Britain’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill on Sunday night.

Mr Johnson referenced the famous New Deal programmes led by Franklin D Roosevelt, which are credited with rescuing the United States from the Great Depression in the 1930s. Yesterday he confirmed there would be no attempt to ‘go back to what people called austerity’, saying it would be a mistake.

It came as Anneliese Dodds warned mass unemployment could have a ‘scarring impact on our country for decades’ if the Government cannot adapt the furlough scheme for different industries instead of pursuing a ‘one size fits all approach’.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Shadow Chancellor said: ‘If we look at what other countries are doing, and what the evidence tells us, that first step of stopping people becoming unemployed in the first place is absolutely critical. 

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, the Prime Minister pledged to 'build, build, build', bringing forward a massive programme of public works

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, the Prime Minister pledged to 'build, build, build', bringing forward a massive programme of public works

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, the Prime Minister pledged to ‘build, build, build’, bringing forward a massive programme of public works

It came as shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds (pictured) warned that mass unemployment could have a 'scarring impact on our country for decades'

It came as shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds (pictured) warned that mass unemployment could have a 'scarring impact on our country for decades'

It came as shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds (pictured) warned that mass unemployment could have a ‘scarring impact on our country for decades’

‘Once people have become unemployed, that has a scarring impact on them and on our country for decades into the future.

‘So what I’m saying to the Government, and I’ve offered this in the spirit of constructive opposition many times, I’ve said to them, please, shift course, do not continue to have this one size fits all approach, because that will inevitably lead to much greater unemployment in the future.’

Ms Dodds recommended keeping young people in education and training for longer to ‘keep them out of that pool of unemployed people,’ and better supporting those who become unemployed using previously used strategies like the Future Jobs Fund.

TUI, EasyJet and Ryanair CANCEL all flights and holidays to Greece after it bans travellers from the UK until July 15 because of high coronavirus infection rate 

ByDavid Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline 

Travel firms have been forced to scrap thousands of flights and holiday packages in Greece after the nation extended its ban on arrivals from the UK.

TUI, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways have all axed travel plans for Brits who booked in the hope of a quick getaway in early July.

But the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last night extended a UK flight ban due to end on July 1 to July 15.

He took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a ‘green’ group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges.

Greece has been relatively lightly affected by coronavirus, but the UK continues to be one of the worst affected countries in Europe.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a 'green' group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a 'green' group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a ‘green’ group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges

TUI, the UK’s biggest tour operator, was due to serve four Greek islands when it resumed operations on July 11, while EasyJet had announced plans to resume flights from the UK to Greece next week with fares starting at £39.99.

The boss of TUI this morning demanded clarity over the air bridge scheme, warning that other countries could follow Greece’s example.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, said the proposal could only work after ‘two-way conversations’ between Britain and other countries, adding: ‘I think there’s still going to be a few bumps in the road.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last night officially ended the much-criticised blanket quarantine programme just three weeks after it was introduced for visitors and those returning to homes in the UK.

In a Written Ministerial Statement to MPs he confirmed new measures unveiled by Downing Street on Saturday, to come into effect ‘shortly’.

Under the traffic light system, drawn up by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England and set to be in place by July 6, countries will be rated green, amber or red based on coronavirus infection levels, the reliability of official data and confidence in test and trace systems.

The 14-day quarantine requirement will remain only for ‘red-rated’ countries such as the US and Brazil. Travel between ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries will be quarantine-free, but passengers will have to fill in a ‘locator form’ to trace their movements. 

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John Travolta lost his first love to breast cancer, 10 years before he met wife Kelly Preston

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John Travolta lost his first love, the actress Diana Hyland, to breast cancer in 1977, when he was 23 and she was 41, ten years before he met his wife Kelly Preston, who died from the same disease on Sunday. 

Travolta and Hyland met while working on the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in which Hyland played Travolta’s mother. 

The film was released in 1976, a year before Diana died in Travolta’s arms. 

He’d planned to buy a house with her and marry her, he said, but never got the chance. 

John Travolta and Diana Hyland in 1976. She died of breast cancer the following year at the age of 41. Travolta was 23

John Travolta and Diana Hyland in 1976. She died of breast cancer the following year at the age of 41. Travolta was 23

John Travolta and Diana Hyland in 1976. She died of breast cancer the following year at the age of 41. Travolta was 23 

In an interview with People three months after she died, he said: ‘I have never been more in love with anyone in my life. I thought I was in love before, but I wasn’t.  

‘From the moment I met her I was attracted. We were like two maniacs talking all the time on the set of Bubble. 

Travolta met Hyland while filming the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976

Travolta met Hyland while filming the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976

Travolta met Hyland while filming the movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976

‘After a month it became romantic.’ 

The pair spent weekends traveling and spending time with Diana’s four-year-old son from a previous marriage.  

‘I had more fun with Diana than I ever had in my life. 

‘And the odd thing is just before we met I thought I would never have a successful relationship. 

‘She told me that she too had thought the same thing. Then, bam,’ he said.

She’d already had a mastectomy two years before they met, and was confident her cancer would not return. 

When she got her second diagnosis, Travolta was filming Saturday Night Fever in New York. 

He flew back to be with her. She died two weeks after finding out the cancer had returned.  

Hyland had a four-year-old son from a previous marriage who Travolta embraced as his own. He said he planned to marry her and had picked out a house for them when she died

Hyland had a four-year-old son from a previous marriage who Travolta embraced as his own. He said he planned to marry her and had picked out a house for them when she died

Hyland had a four-year-old son from a previous marriage who Travolta embraced as his own. He said he planned to marry her and had picked out a house for them when she died

A 1976 Getty image shows Travolta and Hyland lying in bed together

A 1976 Getty image shows Travolta and Hyland lying in bed together

A 1976 Getty image shows Travolta and Hyland lying in bed together 

Travolta continued filming Saturday Night Fever when Hyland died

Travolta continued filming Saturday Night Fever when Hyland died

Travolta continued filming Saturday Night Fever when Hyland died 

‘I gave her great joy the last months of her life. I always feel she is with me—I mean her intentions are. 

‘Diana always wanted the world for me in every possible way,’ he said.

After Hyland, he had relationships with Catherine Deneuve and Marilou Henner. 

He met Preston in 1987 and the pair married in 1991. 

When he and Preston met on the set of The Experts, she was married to the actor Kevin Gage.

Travolta has described it as ‘love at first sight’. Preston said previously: ‘Well, I was not that happily married, let’s put it that way. I was really with the wrong person.’ 

She and Gage divorced in 1987 but she did not immediately start dating Travolta. 

Instead, she moved in with George Clooney, and had a two-year romance with him. 

She also dated Charlie Sheen before Travolta. 

The pair became engaged on New Year’s Eve in 1990 in a hotel in Gstaad.

Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts - the 1988 production on which they first met

Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts - the 1988 production on which they first met

Pictured left: Kelly Preston and John Travolta in The Experts – the 1988 production on which they first met. Pictured right, Preston as Avery Bishop in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire 

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991

Preston and Travolta met on the set of The Experts in 1987. They are shown on their wedding day, above, in 1991 

Travolta announced on Instagram that Kelly died on Sunday morning. They are pictured in a recent photo together

Travolta announced on Instagram that Kelly died on Sunday morning. They are pictured in a recent photo together

Travolta announced on Instagram that Kelly died on Sunday morning. They are pictured in a recent photo together 

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Pregnant Katy Perry wears fuchsia swimsuit on Malibu beach

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She is just weeks away from welcoming her first child into the world, but that doesn’t mean Katy Perry can’t have some fun in the sun with her fiance Orlando Bloom.

The pop star, 35, put her growing baby bump on full display as she splashed around the Malibu surf on Sunday in a strapless fuchsia swimsuit. 

As Katy ventured out into the water, Orlando, 43, explored the coastline on his hydrofoil board.    

Making a splash! Katy Perry put her growing baby bump on full display as she splashed around the Malibu surf on Sunday in a strapless fuchsia swimsuit

Making a splash! Katy Perry put her growing baby bump on full display as she splashed around the Malibu surf on Sunday in a strapless fuchsia swimsuit

Making a splash! Katy Perry put her growing baby bump on full display as she splashed around the Malibu surf on Sunday in a strapless fuchsia swimsuit

Whether he was enjoying a cool beverage or taking to the waves on his board, the actor looked like he was having the time of his life making the most of the summer weather.   

Meanwhile, Katy cooled herself down with a rejuvenating dip in the ocean blue. 

The star flashed a bright smile as she approached the crashing waves on her own, ready for some relief from LA’s soaring temperatures. 

The American Idol judge was seen wading waist-deep into the water, before returning with a pair of swimming goggles to explore the underwater sights.   

Life's a beach! The I Kissed A Girl singer looked relaxed as she enjoyed a warm summer's day at the beach

Life's a beach! The I Kissed A Girl singer looked relaxed as she enjoyed a warm summer's day at the beach

Life’s a beach! The I Kissed A Girl singer looked relaxed as she enjoyed a warm summer’s day at the beach

Surf's up! Orlando Bloom hit the waves on board his hydrofoil board

Surf's up! Orlando Bloom hit the waves on board his hydrofoil board

Surf’s up! Orlando Bloom hit the waves on board his hydrofoil board 

Refreshing: Bloom took a swig from his canned beverage as he dragged his board atop the waves

Refreshing: Bloom took a swig from his canned beverage as he dragged his board atop the waves

Refreshing: Bloom took a swig from his canned beverage as he dragged his board atop the waves 

Making waves! The Roar singer tested out the temperature of the water

Making waves! The Roar singer tested out the temperature of the water

Making waves! The Roar singer tested out the temperature of the water 

Splish splash: Perry waded waist-deep into the ocean blue

Splish splash: Perry waded waist-deep into the ocean blue

Splish splash: Perry waded waist-deep into the ocean blue 

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Katy was later spotted jogging out of the surf with her purple and blue goggles in hand and a head full of wet hair. 

The Roar singer looked peaceful as she explored the rocky coastline with another pal gal, where they chatted briefly before heading into the chilly water together. 

It won’t be much longer until Katy and her fiance Orlando will be welcoming their first child together – a daughter.

The couple are just weeks away from the baby’s birth, and have reportedly chosen Katy’s close friend Jennifer Aniston to be the child’s Godmother. 

Under the sea! Perry explored the ocean with a pair of goggles

Under the sea! Perry explored the ocean with a pair of goggles

Under the sea! Perry explored the ocean with a pair of goggles 

Summer loving! The American Idol judge looked happy as she approached the crashing waves

Summer loving! The American Idol judge looked happy as she approached the crashing waves

Summer loving! The American Idol judge looked happy as she approached the crashing waves 

Girl time: Perry strolled upon the rocky terrain chatting with a gal pal

Girl time: Perry strolled upon the rocky terrain chatting with a gal pal

Girl time: Perry strolled upon the rocky terrain chatting with a gal pal

Baby makes three: It won't be much longer until Katy and her fiance Orlando will be welcoming their first child together

Baby makes three: It won't be much longer until Katy and her fiance Orlando will be welcoming their first child together

Bumping along: The bathing suit put Perry's bump on full display

Bumping along: The bathing suit put Perry's bump on full display

Baby makes three: It won’t be much longer until Katy and her fiance Orlando will be welcoming their first child together

Brrr! The women appeared to be reacting to the chilly temperatures

Brrr! The women appeared to be reacting to the chilly temperatures

Brrr! The women appeared to be reacting to the chilly temperatures

‘[Jennifer] is pretty chuffed about it as well and cried when they asked her,’ said a source close to the trio in an interview with The Sun published Saturday. 

The source claimed that Katy and Orlando placed the 51-year-old actress at the top of their list of potential godparents and ‘wept when they asked her’ to take on the role. 

Aniston has allegedly provided Katy with tons of emotional support during her pregnancy and has proven her dedication to the growing family. 

‘Katy and Jen are very close. During lockdown they went for socially distanced walks, and spent lots of time catching up,’ explained the insider. 

Katy and Orlando have been together on-off since 2016, before getting engaged on Valentine’s Day in 2019.

This will be the first child for Katy, but Orlando also shares nine-year-old son Flynn with his ex-wife Miranda Kerr.  

Cooling down: The beach day undoubtedly provided some relief from LA's soaring summer temperatures

Cooling down: The beach day undoubtedly provided some relief from LA's soaring summer temperatures

Just the girls: Perry is expecting a baby girl with her fiance

Just the girls: Perry is expecting a baby girl with her fiance

Cooling down: The beach day undoubtedly provided some relief from LA’s soaring summer temperatures

It's an honor: The couple are just weeks away from the baby's birth, and have reportedly chosen Katy's close friend Jennifer Aniston to be the child's Godmother

It's an honor: The couple are just weeks away from the baby's birth, and have reportedly chosen Katy's close friend Jennifer Aniston to be the child's Godmother

It’s an honor: The couple are just weeks away from the baby’s birth, and have reportedly chosen Katy’s close friend Jennifer Aniston to be the child’s Godmother

Catching rays: The pop star carefully waded into the water

Catching rays: The pop star carefully waded into the water

Soaking up the sun: The star appeared to be chatting with someone

Soaking up the sun: The star appeared to be chatting with someone

Catching rays: The pop star carefully waded into the water 

Surfing USA! Bloom effortlessly navigated the board along the coast

Surfing USA! Bloom effortlessly navigated the board along the coast

Surfing USA! Bloom effortlessly navigated the board along the coast

Yee-haw! The actor used a cowboy hat to shield himself from the sun rays

Yee-haw! The actor used a cowboy hat to shield himself from the sun rays

Yum! Bloom treated himself to a refreshing beverage during a break from catching waves

Yum! Bloom treated himself to a refreshing beverage during a break from catching waves

Yee-haw! The actor used a cowboy hat to shield himself from the sun rays 

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Coronavirus: UK plans ‘biggest flu vaccination programme ever’

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Ministers are preparing to roll out the ‘biggest flu vaccination programme in history’, the Health Secretary promised today.

Matt Hancock claimed Number 10 had procured enough jabs to vaccinate a record-breaking number of Britons on the NHS this winter.

Experts have warned that a flu outbreak in the colder months could wreak havoc on the NHS, if it coincides with a rise in coronavirus cases.

Ministers want to immunise as many Britons against the flu as possible to reduce the number of patients needing hospital beds in case of another wave.

Downing Street is rumoured to have bought an extra 10million vaccine doses, and is contemplating dishing them out to all Brits over the age of 50.

Free flu jabs are usually reserved for over-65s, pregnant women, children and people with serious illnesses like asthma or heart or kidney disease.

Leading charities praised the move to scale-up the vaccination scheme but wanted reassurances about how the vaccines will be accessed in a ‘Covid safe way’.

Ministers are preparing to roll out the biggest flu vaccination programme in history (stock image)

Ministers are preparing to roll out the biggest flu vaccination programme in history (stock image)

Ministers are preparing to roll out the biggest flu vaccination programme in history (stock image)

Matt Hancock said the Government had procured enough jabs to vaccinate a record-breaking number of Britons on the NHS this winter

Matt Hancock said the Government had procured enough jabs to vaccinate a record-breaking number of Britons on the NHS this winter

Matt Hancock said the Government had procured enough jabs to vaccinate a record-breaking number of Britons on the NHS this winter

Speaking at the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) virtual conference today, Mr Hancock said: ‘We all know that having had an incredibly hard six months the next big moment is as winter approaches.

‘We are currently planning in detail for winter. We are expecting high demand. We want the flu vaccine programme to be the biggest flu vaccine programme in history.

‘We have procured enough vaccine to be able to deliver on that, but then it’s a big task.’ 

However, Mr Hancock did not reveal how many extra jabs had been bought or who would be offered a vaccine. 

Last winter 25million people in England were offered the flu jab, with officials expanding the annual vaccination programme to include all Year Six children for the first time.

All over-65s, pregnant women, NHS workers and people with serious long-term illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s are eligible for the free jab.

WHO IS ALREADY ELIGIBLE FOR A FREE FLU VACCINE? 

In 2020/21 groups eligible for the NHS funded flu vaccination programme are currently the same as last year.

This includes:

  • Over-65s and people with diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma;
  • People with serious heart or kidney disease, or people undergoing cancer treatment;
  • Parents with children aged over six months with asthma or diabetes or weakened immunity due to disease or treatment;
  • Other groups include residents in long-stay care homes and people who have lowered immunity due to HIV or are on steroid medication;
  • NHS workers are also urged to get a free flu jab in order to protect patients.

But according to a joint letter issued from the DHSC, Public Health England and, NHS England and Improvement, on May 14, the list may change if the programme is expanded this year.

This could include:

  • All children aged two to 10 years old (but not 11 years or older);
  • Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups;
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals;
  • Health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care home;

The letter added: ‘We anticipate that concerns about COVID-19 may increase demand for flu vaccination in all groups this year.’

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Figures show there are around 10million people aged between 50 and 65 in the UK, meaning the vaccination scheme would have to increase by 40 per cent in size to catch all of them. 

The flu jab — designed to fight off four different strains of influenza expected to circulate — offers no protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.

Experts say the point of rolling out more flu jabs is to ease the burden on the health service, which Number 10 feared could have been overwhelmed in the first wave.

Most people who get the flu escape with only a mild illness but patients struck down with a severe bout can be hospitalised. Seasonal flu has a mortality rate of around 0.1 per cent.

One government adviser — Imperial College London’s Professor Peter Openshaw — has raised the idea of flu shots for the entire population in April, saying it was ‘something to be considered’.

Professor Openshaw, part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), said a bad flu season with coronavirus ‘would be a huge burden on the NHS’.

Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy and public affairs at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘We welcome this ambitious plan from the government, but we urgently need more information on how this will be rolled out. Flu season is fast approaching and healthcare professionals must be given time to prepare.

‘We know that uptake of the flu vaccine amongst people with lung conditions is much too low, with less than half of eligible people in this group getting the jab last year. Increasing uptake amongst at risk groups is vital to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

‘To achieve this the government needs to ensure people can easily access the flu jab and that the message of how important it is to get vaccinated reaches as many people as possible. Everyone, especially people with lung conditions, must also be reassured the jab can be delivered in a Covid-safe way.’

The tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 — a fever, cough and the loss of smell or taste — could be mistaken for the flu, which has similar effects and is much worse than a common cold. 

This could cause confusion among the population. If they have the coronavirus, they may think they only have the flu if they have not been given a vaccine to protect them. 

And dishing out the flu vaccine — which only 70 per cent of eligible NHS staff accepted last year — could prevent thousands of people from needing NHS treatment. 

During the peak of Britain’s coronavirus crisis, around 3,500 people were being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 each day. The disease is estimated to be up to eight times deadlier than flu.

Studies have suggested any second wave will be deadlier than the first, adding to data showing the second bout of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was much more lethal than its predecessor.

Britain’s first wave has fizzled out but the infection is still circulating. Nearly 43,000 people have died after testing positive for the disease — but other grim figures show the real death toll is closer to 55,000.

Imperial College London modelling warned the death toll could have been closer to 500,000, had ministers let the virus spread uncontrollably through the nation.

Infectious disease experts say that because so few Britons have been struck down with Covid-19, which began to spiral out of control in the UK in March, the threat of a second wave is real.

Britain is also currently nowhere near having herd immunity to the coronavirus, with government testing surveys suggesting 5.4 per cent of people in England have had the illness.

This is equal to around 3.02million people. Sixty per cent coverage — thought to be the amount of the population needed for herd immunity — would be the equivalent of 33.6million people across the country.

Cold and flu viruses are known to thrive in the winter — and scientists fear the coronavirus may also prove to be more of a problem in the colder months.

Experts are cautious about whether Covid-19 poses a bigger threat in the winter, however. The disease has only been known to science for six months, meaning little is yet known about the pathogen.

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