‘Rule, Britannia!’ begins with the lines: ‘When Britain first, at heaven’s command/Arose from out the azure main.’ — Main is an archaic word for ocean; Edmund Spenser refers to ‘swimming in the maine’ in The Faerie Queene (1590). Azure is perhaps not the best word to describe the colour of the seas around Britain. Nor did Britain in any sense rise from the seas — rather the opposite: it first became an island around 100,000 years ago thanks to glacial floodwaters causing the erosion of the land bridge between Dover and Calais.
Costa announced 1,650 job losses, the latest coffee shop chain to announce a contraction due to a decline in the economy of city centres. How important is coffee to the UK economy?
— In 2018 coffee contributed £17.7 billion to the economy.
— £4 billion of this was through sales in 7,470 branded coffee shops.
— Consumption in offices was worth £222 million.
— In 2018 Britons drank 95 million cups of coffee a day, up from 70 million a decade earlier.
— 65% of coffee is drunk at home, 25% at work and only 10% in shops, bars and restaurants.
Covid ups and downs
Which local authority areas have seen the most, and fewest, recorded rates of Covid-19 infection since March?
MOST | Cases per 100,000
Leicester | 1,623
Oldham | 1,251
Blackburn with Darwen | 1,242
Bradford | 1,178
Wrexham | 1,037
Rochdale | 1,031
Na h-Eileanan Siar | 26
Highland | 102
Moray | 110
North East Lincolnshire | 152
Fermanagh and Omagh | 162
Devon | 169
In which European countries was economic confidence highest in August, according to the Purchasing Managers’ Index?
(Anything over 50 denotes expansion)
UK | 59.1
Germany | 54.4
France | 51.6
Italy | 49.5
Spain | 48.8