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Bus and train operator warns over its future

The transport operator First Group, which runs a number of bus and train services in the West Midlands, has issued a warning about its future viability.

The company reported a loss of more than £150m for the year to the end of March, compared with a profit of almost £10m for the previous 12 months, and blamed a huge fall in passenger numbers during the coronavirus outbreak.

GWR train
Getty Images

First Group runs Great Western Railway services as well as First Bus in Worcestershire and Staffordshire.

Weather: Thick grey cloud and some rain later

BBC Weather

We're forecast thick grey cloud today, with the possibility of some rain later.

And that rain is expected to continue overnight and into tomorrow, but the weather should improve by the end of the week.

Grey clouds and horse
Peter Steggles

Cadbury World among reopening attractions

Cadbury World in Birmingham has announced it will reopen on 18 July, with safety measures in place, including temperature checks for visitors.

Kidderminster's Museum of Carpet and the Commandery in Worcester have reopened today, with limits on the number of people entering.

Cadbury World
Getty Images

The Museum of Cider in Hereford will stay closed until at least the end of August.

And the Waterworks Museum, also in Hereford, isn't expected to reopen until the autumn at the earliest.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

After a dry start rain will gradually move in, becoming heavy at times, with highs of 17C (63F).

It was a lovely start to the day in Crewe, where BBC Weather Watcher AlexG595 captured this image of sunrise.

Crewe
BBC Weather Watchers/AlexG595

Man dies in M5 crash

A man has died after his van left the M5 and hit a tree.

The crash happened shortly after 08:40 on the southbound carriageway, close to J8 in Stresham, Worcestershire, said the ambulance service.

It's understood the van hit the central reservation before leaving the carriageway.

He was confirmed dead at the scene.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a windy day with sunny spells but also scattered showers with highs of 19C (66F).

This was the scene in Warwick earlier taken by BBC Weather Watcher Ryan Lewis.

Warwick
BBC Weather Watchers/Ryan Lewis

'Don't drink three months worth of alcohol'

A paramedic for West Midlands Ambulance Service has warned people as the pubs reopen, not to "drink three months' worth of alcohol in one night".

He told his Twitter followers: "You don't want to end up in an ambulance like this one".

View more on twitter

No midnight opening after government updates rules

A restaurant in Worcester that had planned to open at one minute past midnight, and was fully booked, cannot now open after government guidance was issued on Friday afternoon.

And the timing of the announcement hasn't gone down well.

Ounce Bar and Kitchen
Google

Pubs in England will now be allowed to open from 06:00 tomorrow, Downing Street has confirmed.

The prime minister's spokesman described it as a "sensible precaution" to specify pubs opening at 06:00 to avoid midnight parties.

Ounce Bar and Kitchen, which had 35 people booked for its first night, posted on its Facebook page that despite there being "non stop prepping" it would not be opening.

"Cannot believe they have only just announced this," it added.

Dates revealed for reopening of council play areas

Allen Cook

BBC News

Families will be able to use some council-run outdoor play areas and gym equipment across the West Midlands from tomorrow but not every place is working to the same deadline.

Play equipment
Lichfield District Council

Several local authorities have said on their websites or social media their play areas will be available from Saturday and they include:

But some councils have said their outdoor play areas will only start to be available from next week:

While Cannock Chase District Council said its play areas and outdoor gym equipment would remain out of use until all risk assessments have been carried out and signs put up.

Both Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council said their play areas would stay shut over the weekend while work continues to make them safe but didn't reveal a reopening date.

We'll update for other local authorities as and when we get the information.

Play area
Warwick District Council

Coronavirus: Restaurant 'fully booked' for 00:01 reopening

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Excitement is building at one restaurant in Worcester which plans to open one minute after midnight.

Many businesses will be allowed to open their doors tomorrow for the first time since March.

Inside Ounce
BBC

The owner of Ounce Bar & Kitchen, Shane Peckover, says staff have had a lot of interest as soon as they announced the early reopening time.

"We thought people have been itching to have something to eat, have a drink, get to the new norm so to speak."

He said it was only able to accommodate 35 people for the first night and was fully booked.

They have set up an online booking system and people can only enter through one door.

Emily Hird is one of those with a booking for a minute after midnight: "It's going to be an amazing atmosphere, it's something I'm probably never going to experience again."

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with a few outbreaks of rain and turning windy with highs of 18C (64F).

This lovely picture was taken by BBC Weather Watcher Z70 in Ranton, Staffordshire.

Ranton
BBC Weather Watchers/Z70

Positive Covid-19 test results fall across West Midlands

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus across the West Midlands is falling in every council area, according to new figures.

The data from Public Health England shows the number of positive tests for every 100,000 population tested in hospitals and the wider community in the week up to 28 June.

Test centre
PA Media

For the West Midlands, the figures in alphabetical order of council are:

  • Birmingham 6.5
  • Coventry 1.4
  • Dudley 2.2
  • Herefordshire 1.6
  • Sandwell 5.5
  • Shropshire 7.2
  • Solihull 6.5
  • Staffordshire 7.9
  • Stoke-on-Trent 14.1
  • Telford and Wrekin 5.1
  • Walsall 3.2
  • Warwickshire 5.6
  • Wolverhampton 7.6
  • Worcestershire 3.6

By comparison, the figure for Leicester in the week is 141.3 testing positive out of 100,000 people.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with some bright spells but also some showers, with highs of 19C (66F).

BBC Weather Watcher Dammo took this snap in sunny Knowle.

Knowle
BBC Weather Watchers/Dammo
Tributes to Mike Penhalagan after American footballer's death
A mother pays tribute to her son after he took his own life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virus data released for West Midlands

Allen Cook

BBC News

Figures have been released showing the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in each council area.

It comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed following a rise in cases.

A woman being tested for coronavirus in Leicester
AFP/Getty Images

The data from Public Health England shows the number of positive tests for every 100,000 population tested in hospitals and the wider community in the week up to 21 June.

For the West Midlands, the figures in alphabetical order of council are:

  • Birmingham 9.6
  • Coventry 5.7
  • Dudley 3.7
  • Herefordshire 2.1
  • Sandwell 7.3
  • Shropshire 13.7
  • Solihull 4.7
  • Staffordshire 9.4
  • Stoke-on-Trent 18.0
  • Telford and Wrekin 8.4
  • Walsall 4.6
  • Warwickshire 10.3
  • Wolverhampton 9.9
  • Worcestershire 5.7

By comparison, the figure for Leicester in the week is 140.2 testing positive out of 100,000 people.

'Amazon' fraudsters steal £70,000 in 24 hours

In the last 24 hours people living in Shropshire and Worcestershire have been conned out of £70,000 by fraudsters pretending to work for Amazon.

West Mercia Police said the culprits had been phoning people to tell them they were eligible for a refund, asking for bank details which they used to clear out accounts.

cash
Getty Images

Det Insp Emma Wright reminded people that "no legitimate company, organisation, government body or police force will ever ask for your bank details, ask you to transfer money, or offer to transfer money into your account".

BreakingCricketer loses appeal over rape conviction

Former Worcestershire cricketer Alex Hepburn, jailed for raping a sleeping woman in his team-mate's bedroom, has lost his Court of Appeal bid to have his conviction overturned.

Alex Hepburn
PA Media

Flash-flooding possible as thunderstorms arrive

Thunderstorms could cause flooding and travel disruption across the West Midlands later, the Met Office is warning.

Weather map
Met Office

The yellow warning is in place from 12:00 until 09:00 on Saturday.

Lightning and hail are also expected, it added.

More than £300m coronavirus grants for region's councils

BBC Shared Data Unit

Councils in the West Midlands have received just over £300m in grants from the government to help them cope with coronavirus, a BBC investigation has uncovered.

The biggest recipient has been Birmingham City Council, which has been given £70.31m and the figure is likely to be higher because one council, Shropshire, didn't say how much it has received.

Simon Clarke
Getty Images

Councils in the region are forecasting a shortfall of more than £377m as a result of coronavirus.

The minister for local government, Simon Clarke (pictured above), said his department was "working on a comprehensive plan to ensure councils’ financial sustainability over the financial year ahead".

He said that would involve working with the councils and that £3.2bn of non-ring-fenced emergency funding had been given to local authorities around the UK already.

Thunderstorm warning extended

A weather warning for thunderstorms, affecting the West Midlands, has been extended.

There is a risk of flooding and travel disruption during the yellow warning which is now valid from 12:00 on Friday until 09:00 Saturday.

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Parts of Herefordshire and Shropshire could be affected by storms later today and overnight, the Met Office is also warning.

Councils facing coronavirus shortfall of more than £300m

BBC Shared Data Unit

Councils in the West Midlands could face a shortfall of about £377m as a result of coronavirus.

They have faced increased costs from supporting vulnerable people, while their income from fees and rates is falling.

Cash
Getty Images

A BBC investigation asked councils for their estimated shortfall, the money they have received from the government so far and whether they planned to use a section 114 notice to effectively declare themselves bankrupt.

None of the councils in the West Midlands said they intended to take that route, but 10 of the 14 councils said they forecasted a shortfall as a result of coronavirus.

Four councils, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Solihull and Worcestershire didn't give any shortfall estimates and a fifth, Warwickshire said it expected a shortfall, but couldn't say how much.