Guthrie Group, a Livingston-based distributor of health and safety and facilities supplies, has received £250,000 backing to secure the long-term future of the business following the coronavirus pandemic.  

The CBILS loan from Royal Bank of Scotland has enabled the business to maintain a steady cashflow and cope with an increased demand as it continued distributing essential supplies of PPE, hygiene and cleaning products to frontline workers in the NHS, care homes, local councils and the food manufacturing sector during the global health crisis.  

With access to vital PPE scarce and normal suppliers unable to cope with demand, the funding enabled Guthrie Group to source new and alternative suppliers globally in order to ensure continuity of supplies.

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Guthrie Group’s long-term goal is to disrupt procurement in the food manufacturing, care home and local council sectors with the recent development and implementation of its CloudStockIMS, an inventory management software.

This technology has enabled the business to cope with demand during the pandemic, providing continuity, with zero stock outs and normal pricing maintained.  

The family-run company - which also specialises in the procurement and distribution of workwear, and catering supplies and packaging - currently employs 20 members of staff and is hopeful that the recent funding will enable it to expand its workforce post Covid-19.  

Cynthia Guthrie, chief executive of Guthrie Group, said: “Like many other businesses, whilst mindful of a second wave, we are beginning to look past coronavirus. As the global health crisis subsides, and with Brexit on the horizon, we are working hard to expand our footprint, not just across Scotland and the UK, but on an international scale.  

“The funding and incredible support from Royal Bank of Scotland has allowed us to cope with increased demand and ensure continuity through the pandemic, and as we look ahead it will enable us to research and source new manufacturers as well as to increase the software capability of our unique CloudStockIMS software.” 

Stuart Bell, relationship manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “No company could have foreseen the coronavirus outbreak, so it is vital that we can support our customers financially to help them through this challenging time. 

“Guthrie Group is a fantastic local business and I have full confidence the company will continue to thrive once this pandemic is over.”

British tourists in France are being charged hundreds of pounds to return home before quarantine restrictions are imposed.

British Airways is charging £452 for the cheapest tickets to fly direct from Paris to London Heathrow.

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The same journey on Saturday can be made with the airline for just £66.

The cheapest ticket on a Eurostar train from Paris to London is £210, compared with £165 on Saturday.

The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services on Friday is £260.

This is £60 more expensive than journeys taken on Saturday.

P&O Ferries has limited availability, but one person travelling with a car from Calais to Dover can buy a ticket for £200.

Travellers in the south of France face a struggle getting back to the UK before the 4am Saturday quarantine deadline.

any direct flights to the UK on Friday are sold out.

Flight booking website Skyscanner suggested there were no direct flights from Biarritz to London.

The cheapest option it offered was to take one flight to Paris, another to Belfast and a third arriving at London Stansted shortly before midnight, at a total cost of £284.

The lowest priced ticket involving just two flights is £579 with Air France, changing in Paris.

Whichever mode of transport travellers use, they will need to move quickly as many services will be fully booked by Friday afternoon.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday morning, Humza Yousaf, Scotland's cabinet secretary for justice, said: "These are very difficult decisions that we make.

"We make them based on the data we get in front of us and we received data from the French government yesterday evening and it's very clear from the analysis that we had to act and act quickly.

"There is a period, a window, for them (travellers) to get back. But I'm afraid if they can't get back before that, they will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

"There's nothing additional that we will be able to do in terms of flights or by other ports of entry such as sea or rail - certainly nothing the Scottish Government can do."

Shares in Ten Entertainment and Hollywood Bowl opened strongly on Friday morning after the Government said it would allow bowling alleys in England to reopen after months of lockdown.

Skating rinks and casinos were also added to a list of businesses that will be allowed to welcome customers back for the first time on Saturday.

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The news sent Hollywood Bowl shares up by as much as 7.9% as investors took heart from the long-delayed reopening. Ten Entertainment rose by up to 4.1%.

The leisure companies had originally been told to expect to resume trading on August 1, but after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases the Government decided to halt the move the day before.

Theatres, casinos and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen in England from this weekend as the UK Government resumes its easing of lockdown restrictions.

From Saturday August 15 socially distanced audiences will be allowed back into indoor venues, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also be permitted south of the Border.

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