Travel warnings as snow and ice hit UK

Snow and ice are causing further disruption to road, rail and air travel in parts of the UK.

Met Office amber warning of a possible risk to life because of snow is in place in south-west England until the early hours of Monday morning.

Video from Okehampton in Devon shows dozens of vehicles stranded on the A30. Many other motorists have taken refuge in the car park of a service station.

Scores of schools in the county will be closed on Monday due to heavy snow.

BBC correspondent Sarah Ransome says despite having gritters out relentlessly, the county is still covered in “a very heavy dump of snow”.

At least one hospital in Devon has been asking for volunteer drivers to help ferry staff to and from its facilities.

Airports have been shut and several sporting events have been cancelled, including the Reading half-marathon, while some roads are impassable.

All Flybe services at Exeter Airport were cancelled and on Monday passengers are warned to expect disruption until mid-morning.

Snow and ice have also led to road closures and vehicles being abandoned, with police warning motorists to avoid certain routes.

Two multi-vehicle crashes have caused long delays on the A30 around Okehampton and Whiddon Down in Devon.

A police officer tweeted from the A30, urging motorists to be cautious:

Bristol Airport was closed temporarily due to the snowfall while Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton remain mainly unaffected but have urged passengers to check flight information before travelling.

HSBC reveals big gender pay gap


HSBC has reported a 29% median gender pay gap for its UK banking operations.

However, the company also reported a 59% gap on the mean measure for hourly pay for 2017.

HSBC has a median gap of 61% for bonus payments between its male and female employees.

The bank said it had fewer women in senior management roles, while many top global roles were based in the UK, where its group head office is based.

Elaine Arden, group head of human resources, said: “If we identify any pay differences between men and women in similar roles, which cannot be explained by reasons such as performance/behaviour rating or experience, we make appropriate adjustments.”

The 29% figure is more than double the 14.2% reported by Barclays for its UK retail banking operations for 2017, but lower than Royal Bank of Scotland (36.5%) and Lloyds Banking Group (32.8%).

Banking gender pay gap

HSBC said its pay gap was largely down to the fact it – like its rivals – has fewer women in senior roles, with just 23% of higher positions held by women.

Across the whole organisation, however, 54% of its workforce is female.

HSBC has a target to try to improve its gender balance and aims to have 30% of senior roles held by women by 2020.

All firms with more than 250 staff must report their gender pay gap to the government by 4 April.

The median figure refers to the midpoint of all workers’ salaries from lowest to highest paid.

The mean describes the total wage bill divided by the number of employees, which means it can be skewed by a small number of very highly paid workers.


No fewer than six representatives from Cornwall’s public sector have gone to the South of France for a four-day property conference which the property industry itself now regards as an embarrassment, due to its reputation for alcohol and sex.

The cost to the Cornwall council taxpayer is likely to be tens of thousands of pounds.  The delegation is being led by Cornwall Council’s chief executive, Kate Kennally.  Her presence is required to speak on Thursday on the importance of infrastructure – something which tends to lag well behind residential development in Cornwall.

Principle justification for the trip appears to be to promote the controversial West Carclaze housing project, identified by the government as one of its flagship “garden village” schemes.

Cornwall Reports is continuing to press for further details, but a statement this morning (Tuesday) from the Cornwall Development Company sheds some light on the rationale behind the trip.  The expedition is attracting ridicule outside of County Hall.

The CDC statement, which gives no details of its own staff at the event, says:

In a highly competitive market we must be proactive in seeking the best for Cornwall and helping to secure investment for Cornwall.

The delegation is being led by the Cornwall Development Company (CDC) in partnership with Cornwall Council and Invest in Cornwall.  CDC are Cornwall Council’s inward investment capability and are leading this visit to MIPIM having advised of importance of building profile with international investor community. To date Invest in Cornwall, which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund, has had to be SME focussed.

The delegation will attend 65 engagements (250 hours) during their visit. Daily outcomes will be captured from meetings. This trip is funded through the Council via CDC.

Cornwall Council Chief Executive Kate Kennally has been invited to speak at the event as part of the UK government programme of talks, debates and panel sessions featuring leading figures from the private sector and senior government officials.

Ms Kennally will speak on the topic of infrastructure and support structures required to accelerate growth to happen in regions on 15 March, alongside Sir Richard Leese the Leader of Manchester City Council, Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, Karen Campbell the Commercial Director for HS2 amongst others.

Competition for investment is fierce.  Cornwall is stepping up and take its place at MIPIM alongside other forward-thinking local authorities seeking the best for their residents. Over 130 local authorities are attending MIPIM.

We are attending MIPIM because we want the international investor community to grasp the opportunities available in our region. We will be promoting the fact our economy is growing at c.4% per annum, productivity is increasing and unemployment is at a historic low.


In order to attract investment in West Carclaze (above) the council has sent six people to Cannes (below)

A key focus will be on sharing Cornwall’s housing ambitions to be the number one council for affordable housing along with targeted sessions promoting Cornwall’s investment programme, and learning from other local authorities what they have done well.

This makes us a great investment proposition.

At MIPIM we will be launching the Cornwall Investment Fund, worth up to £600m, by promoting specific investment opportunities in infrastructure, including the Cornwall Enterprise Zones, West Carclaze Garden Village, Housing and many others.

Delegates attending are:

  • Kate Kennally, Chief Executive, Cornwall Council
  • John Betty, Strategic Director of Economic Growth and Development, Cornwall Council
  • 3 staff from Cornwall Development Company/ Invest in Cornwall
  • James Staughton, CEO of St Austell Brewery and Chairman of Cornwall Place Board

To maximise the value of attending this development event for the region, Cornwall Council has offered meeting space to all Cornwall based businesses attending the event. This support has been welcomed by Cornwall-based Eco-Bos Development Ltd (a joint venture between Orascom Development and Imerys Minerals) who are attending the event to promote the transformational West Carclaze Garden Village project in St Austell.


Kate’s in charge, as taxpayers foot the bill for six at four-day event in the south of France

Question Answer Animal Money Jokes

What happened
when the cat swallowed a coin?
There was money in the kitty.


Why is a cat like a penny?
Because it has a head
on one side
and a tail on the other.


What dog has money?
A bloodhound,
because he is always picking up (s)cents.


What’s the difference
between a pigeon and a tramp?
The pigeon can put
a deposit on a Porsche.

Lanhydrock National Trust cream tea advert sparks outrage

Cream tea with cream on firstImage copyrightNATIONAL TRUST
Image captionThe original “offending” promotional photograph

A Mother’s Day cream tea advert has sparked fury for depicting a scone with the jam dolloped on the cream.

The National Trust’s Lanhydrock in Bodmin angered Cornish locals by depicting the delicacy in the rival Devon tradition on a Facebook post.

Outraged locals said they were going to cancel memberships over the blunder.

The Trust apologised for the “heinous mistake”, adding staff will wear #JamFirst badges to support “a proper cream tea”.

About 300 people complained on the post, with some claiming it was “horrifying” and “made them feel sick”.

'#JamFirst' badgeImage copyrightNATIONAL TRUST
Image captionThe badges were made especially after the public outcry
Cream tea with jam on first
Image captionCampaigners said the matter of placing jam first was about identity

The member of staff responsible for the post “had been reprimanded and marched back over the Tamar” to neighbouring county Devon, the Trust said.

Richard Levy, Lanhydrock’s Visitor Experience manager, said it was a “genuine mistake” and the staff member was “meekly crawling around trying to avoid the storm” before returning to work on Monday.


To read more on this local crime please go to

KFC in partial return to ex-distributor Bidvest

Shut KFC outletImage copyrightREUTERS

Fast-food chain KFC has returned to its old distributor after suffering chicken shortages that forced the temporary closure of hundreds of outlets.

Last month, the chain experienced widespread distribution problems after it decided to switch its logistics contract from Bidvest to DHL.

But now Bidvest has signed a new agreement with KFC UK & Ireland to supply up to 350 of its 900 restaurants.

Bidvest pledged “a seamless return”.

Until 13 February, all KFC’s chicken was delivered by Bidvest.

But after the contract switched to DHL, which uses software developed by the firm Quick Service Logistics (QSL), many of the food giant’s outlets began running out of chicken products.

At the time, DHL blamed “operational issues” at a warehouse near Rugby it was using for deliveries nationwide.

‘Limited’ menus

“Our focus remains on ensuring our customers can enjoy our chicken without further disruption,” said a KFC spokesperson.

“With that in mind, the decision has been taken in conjunction with QSL and DHL to revert the distribution contract for up to 350 of our restaurants in the north of the UK back to Bidvest Logistics.

“We’ve been working hard to resolve the present situation with QSL and DHL. This decision will ease pressure at DHL’s Rugby depot, to help get our restaurants back to normal as quickly as possible.”

KFC said more than 97% of its restaurants were now open for business, but there would be “some limited menus” before full service was resumed.

Paul Whyte of Bidvest said the firm was “delighted” to resume its partnership with KFC.

He added: “KFC are a valued customer and we will provide them with a seamless return to our network.”

World Pasty Championships: US bakery scoops top award

Jennifer Swanston and Mike Burgess

A bakery based in the US state of Virginia has won one of the top prizes at the World Pasty Championships.

Pure Pasty founder Mike Burgess took home the Open Savoury Company prize with a barbecue chicken creation made with sweet potato, courgette, red pepper, sweetcorn and pineapple.

“We are ecstatic with the win,” said Mr Burgess. “The winning pasty is a real team effort – an American fusion.”

The seventh championships were held at Cornwall’s Eden Project.

More than 200 pasties were entered into the competition, which was the finale of the first ever Cornish Pasty week.

Mr Burgess’s bakery, which is based in the town of Vienna, won top prize in the prestigious Open Savoury Company category.

Among the other winners was mum-of-three Gillian Francis, from St Cleer, near Liskeard in Cornwall.

She scooped the top prize in the Cornish Pasty Amateur category and came third in the Open Savoury Amateur category, despite only learning to crimp a couple of weeks ago.

She said: “I’ve been testing out my pasties on my three sons for years but didn’t know how to crimp properly so I had to ask my next-door neighbour to teach me a few weeks ago.

“This is the first time I’ve entered the World Pasty Championships and I’m absolutely overwhelmed and shocked to win.

“I thought my boys were playing a joke on me.”

Winners at 2018's World Pasty ChampionshipsImage copyrightEMILY WHITFIELD-WICKS/EDEN PROJECT
Image captionThe youngest winner this year was nine-year-old Summer Lovejoy

Nine-year-old Summer Lovejoy, from Plymouth, came top in the Cornish Pasty Junior category, while Jodie Heath, from Bodmin, was chosen as the Open Savoury Junior with her smoked seafood creation.

Other winners included Luisa Ead, from Padstow, who took home the title of Open Savoury Professional with her chicken dinner pasty, and Glyn Meredith, from Porthleven, who was crowned Open Savoury Amateur for his skirt, cheese, peppers, paprika, garlic and coriander pasty.

Eden Project spokesman David Rowe said: “There was a great spirit today at our seventh World Pasty Championships.

“The pasty bakers made heroic efforts to be here despite everything the weather could throw at them this week.”

Key 2017/18 tax year dates for small businesses – April

A list of key HMRC and Companies House filing and in-force dates

Submit final full payment
submission and/or employer
payment summary for 2016/17.
Statutory pay rates increase.
National minimum and national living wages increase.
5 Send electronic P46 (Car) for quarter ending 5 April.
6 Start of new tax year. New tax rates come into effect.
30 Daily late filing penalties for 2015/16
self-assessment tax return

If you feel Jodie could be of assistance please contact her on 01208 74897 or email her at

A few pictures from around the region.

‘Do not travel unless essential’

Most of the roads in North and West Devon are still treacherous this morning. Do not travel unless essential, in a suitable vehicle and safe to do so. We are still responding to stranded vehicles. Supt Toby Davies @NDJNews @BBCSpotlight @ndgazette @thevoicefm

Truro city centre covered in icetruro

Dawlish rail line ‘pounded’ by waves

Waves on Dawlish line

A38, A380 and A30

trurotrurotruroThe Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust