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Banks should end unplanned overdraft charges, charity says
Banks should end all unauthorised overdraft charges because they are trapping people in persistent debt, the financial charity StepChange has said. The organisation also wants banks and regulators to do more to identify people caught up in a “vicious cycle of borrowing”. Even where customers have admitted they are in trouble, it said banks often fail to help. However High Street banks said they were committed to lending responsibly. In 2016 some 2.1 million people used their overdraft every month of the year, according to industry figures.
Man due in court over alleged plot to kill PM
A man is due to appear in court later over an alleged plot to kill the prime minister, Theresa May. The BBC understands Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London, is accused of planning to bomb Downing Street security gates and then attack the PM with a knife. A second man, Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, of Birmingham, is accused of the preparation of terrorist acts for allegedly planning to travel overseas.
They were both arrested on 28 November. The pair are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, in central London.
Shopping centres sold in £3.4bn deal
Shopping centre owner Hammerson, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, has agreed a £3.4bn takeover of rival Intu. The deal will create the UK’s biggest property company, worth £21bn. Intu owns the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, while Hammerson owns Bicester Village designer outlet and Brent Cross shopping centre. Shares in Intu rose by nearly 19% on the news while Hammerson’s fell by 3%. The combined group plans to target fast growing markets in Spain and Ireland.
UK diesel car sales fall 30% in November
Sales of new diesel cars fell by more than 30 per cent year-on-year in the UK during November, as motorists shunned the once-dominant fuel. According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on Tuesday, the fall in diesel car sales contributed to an 11.2 per cent decrease in new UK car sales overall compared with the same time last year. November was the eighth straight month of year-on-year decline, following years of strong growth. Sales of new hybrid and electric cars rose 33.4 per cent year-on-year in November, and accounted for 5.4 per cent of all new car sales. Sales of cars fuelled by petrol rose by 5 per cent compared with the same month last year.
Leeds rules out diesel charge to spare low-income families
Diesel car and van drivers will escape any charges in Leeds after the city council ruled out targeting them in a clean air zone that will instead penalise older buses, lorries and taxis. The decision by the Labour council is the first from the 28 authorities with illegal levels of air pollution that have to comply with a government order to publish plans for tackling the problem. Other councils, including Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton, will publish their plans early next year and may also avoid charging diesel car drivers.
French drivers outraged by Macron plan to cut speed limit
French motorists are spluttering over the latest assault on their once sacred right to drive. New laws will cut the speed limit on most roads to less than 50mph. President Macron is poised to lower the limit from 90km/h (56 mph) to 80km/h on all single carriageway A and B roads. The measure, which has been leaked to the media before an announcement next month, is an attempt to reverse a recent rise in road deaths. The death rate on French roads remains almost double that of Britain and Scandinavia. Last year 3,477 people died. Following rises the previous two years, it was the first time road deaths had increased three years running since 1972.
Air pollution harm to unborn babies may be global health catastrophe, warn doctors
Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study. The research was conducted in London, UK, but its implications for many millions of women in cities around the world with far worse air pollution are “something approaching a public health catastrophe”, the doctors involved said.