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Apprenticeship numbers fall by 59% after levy imposed
There has been a big fall in the number of workers starting apprenticeships in England since the introduction of the government’s levy scheme earlier this year. The levy was supposed to increase the number of people training at work. But according to Department for Education figures, at the end of this academic year, between May and July, 48,000 people began an apprenticeship. That was less than half the 117,000 for the same period last year.
Black Friday is ‘bonkers’ for retailers, say critics
Wallets will be feeling a bit lighter this weekend as shoppers turn out in search of a bargain ahead of Christmas. It’s estimated that £10bn could be spent in the UK over the Black Friday period, £2.5bn in a single day. Retailers like Dixons Carphone say it’s a critical chance to boost their market share and provide customers with “real deals,”
Bank of England pays male staff a quarter more than women
Male staff at the Bank of England are paid almost a quarter more than female employees, according to its latest gender pay gap report. The median pay gap – based on the midpoints in the ranges of hourly earnings for men and women at the Bank – was 24.2% for the year to 30 March. The Bank said it had taken steps to address the issue. Governor Mark Carney was confident men and women were paid equally for doing the same jobs at the Bank.
UK car production forecast cut by 10%
The number of vehicles that the UK’s car plants are expected to make this year has been cut by almost 10 per cent by an influential automotive forecaster, in a move the industry’s trade body described as “worrying news”. The forecaster AutoAnalysis — in work commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders — on Thursday downgraded its production estimate for Britain’s vehicle factories this year from 1.92m to 1.73m.
This was AutoAnalysis’s first cut to its car manufacturing forecasts since the financial crisis, and came as the SMMT reported that the number of vehicles made in Britain between January and October had dropped 1.6 per cent year on year to 1.44m.
Compulsory helmets plan for all cyclists on British roads
Cyclists could be made to wear helmets for the first time in a review of bike safety. A government consultation in the new year will consider whether helmets and high-visibility vests should be mandatory on British roads, the transport minister Jesse Norman said. The move comes after the release of figures showing that more than 100 cyclists were killed on British roads last year. A further 3,397 were seriously injured, a 5 per cent increase in 12 months. Any attempt to make helmets compulsory will be resisted by many cycling groups who claim that it would deter people from taking to the road.
Drivers now using twice as much diesel as petrol
The “dash for diesel” under the last Labour government means that drivers are using twice as much of the fuel as petrol. The Department for Transport said that consumption of diesel by road vehicles reached a record 24.6 million tonnes last year, a rise of 4 per cent in a year. Petrol use fell over the same period, with 12 million tonnes being consumed by road transport. The figures, published as part of an annual report today, show that diesel overtook petrol for the first time in 2005 and that the gap has grown steadily over the past decade. There are concerns over the health impacts of diesel, which emits far higher levels of harmful pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and particulates.
Black boxes are now mainstream: give drivers control of their data so they can shop around with it
“Black box” car insurance – which allows insurers to monitor your driving via a device in your car – has taken off in a big way over the past decade. There are now estimated to be around 750,000 cars in Britain with a black box fitted, and on the face of it they have been a great innovation. By monitoring driving habits, they play a tangible role in improving road safety – effectively giving drivers a financial reward for driving well, or a penalty for driving badly. They’re most popular with young drivers, for whom the cost of motor insurance has spiralled out of control over the past 20 years. By placing “curfews” on drivers, and letting them know that their every move is being monitored, black boxes have enabled insurers to make car insurance more affordable for a group who may otherwise have been entirely priced out.
Philip Hammond pledges driverless cars by 2021 and warns people to retrain
The chancellor has warned that a million British workers will need to retrain with the driverless cars set to revolutionise the workplace and people’s lives. Philip Hammond reaffirmed a budget pledge to ensure “genuine driverless vehicles” on Britain’s roads by 2021 – and said people should be prepared for it to be “very challenging”. While manufacturers have launched increasingly autonomous vehicles, and advanced trials of driverless technology have started this month, industry experts query how and when such a transition will take place. Hammond told the BBC Today programme: “It will happen, I can promise you. It is happening already … It is going to revolutionise our lives, it is going to revolutionise the way we work. And for some people this will be very challenging.”
Asda opens new front in petrol price war by slashing 2p off a litre after Morrisons offered shoppers a 10p cut
Asda opened a new front in the petrol price war today by slashing 2p off a litre after Morrisons offered shoppers a 10p cut. The supermarket, which is owned by US giant Walmart, has made its first reductions in almost two months, cutting unleaded to 116.7ppl and diesel to 117.7ppl. It comes after Morrisons slashed the price by up to 10p per litre, although its offer is only on until Sunday and customers have to spend £50 in the store first to get it.
149 motorists caught every day using their phones behind the wheel
New rules came into force in March – but since then, more than 27,000 motorists have still been hit by the increased penalties. It has been illegal to touch a phone at the wheel since 2003. The penalty was originally just £30, but the rules have become stricter. Distracted drivers will now be hit with a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Thanks to the new fines, police across Britain will have collected as much as £5.5million, research by Carbuyer has revealed.