Barclays enjoyed a record quarter at the start of 2021, hitting pre-tax profits not seen in 13 years, the bank has revealed.

It said the £2.4 billion pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year came through strong growth in its corporate and investment banking division and an improved mortgage book.

The bank's high street division had a mixed period as the recent lockdowns reduced consumer spending, but the stamp duty holiday continued to help the housing market and its mortgage division.

Impairment charges - money put aside in case of defaulting loans - were also significantly reduced as the economy improved and the post-pandemic outlook appeared more stable compared with a year ago.

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The charges for the quarter were just £55 million compared with £2.1 billion a year ago, although, unlike rivals NatWest and Lloyds, Barclays said it will not release the provisions just yet.

Chief executive Jes Staley said: "Since the early days of the pandemic last year, our diversified business has demonstrated the resilience critical to ensuring Barclays' financial integrity."

He added that the bank had high hopes for the economy to bounce back, with predictions of a recovery not seen for more than 70 years.

The boss said: "Our economic forecast for the UK economy is to grow year on year by some 6.5%, which would be the strongest growth rate in the British economy since 1948.

"There's tremendous pent-up demand both with the consumer and small businesses, and we see that as the vaccination programme, which has been an extraordinary success in the UK, continues.

"The spend data we're already starting to see is very encouraging. In the first two weeks of April our spend numbers was 70% over the first two weeks of April last year.
"We're starting to see a quite robust economic recovery in 2021 and we think that will carry through into 2022."

Pub with one of biggest beer gardens in Glasgow's east end reopens

HeraldScotland: Adrienne Greenaway and Victoria Ashgar of The PrincessAdrienne Greenaway and Victoria Ashgar of The Princess

A PUB in the east end of Glasgow is opening its doors for the first time in 13 months this week – and it will offer one of the biggest beer gardens in the area.

READ MORE: The Princess on Smithcroft Road, Riddrie, will relaunch after a £325,000 refurbishment, bringing 15 new jobs.

Hotel and brewery with lochside beer garden in Scottish Highlands up for sale

HeraldScotland: The property on the banks of the lochThe property on the banks of the loch

THE Loch Earn Brewery & Hotel in the central Highlands has been put on the market with an asking price of £775,000.

READ MORE: Christie & Co has been instructed to sell the hotel in the village of St Fillans, which is at the eastern end of Loch Earn on the A85 road. The property agent noted the hotel was in need of “extensive refurbishment”.

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