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Brexit: Government ‘to stand up’ for Gibraltar’s interestsBack


Brexit: Government ‘to stand up’ for Gibraltar’s interests 

The UK has said it will stand up for Gibraltar’s interests after the territory accused Spain of using Brexit to forward its territorial aims. After reported lobbying from Spain, the EU’s Brexit negotiation strategy is that decisions affecting Gibraltar will be run past the Spanish government. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has insisted Britain remains “implacable and rock-like” in its support. Mr Johnson held talks on Friday with Gibraltar’s chief minister to reassure him of the UK government’s continued backing. Mr Johnson met with Fabian Picardo who said the territory was being singled out for “unnecessary, unjustified and unacceptable” discrimination by Spain. An EU source told the BBC the inclusion of the Gibraltar issue in the document triggering Article 50 had come after lobbying from Spain.


Credit card interest ‘could be waived’ for persistent debt 

Credit cards firms must do more to help millions of customers in persistent debt, the financial regulator has said. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published proposals that could mean credit card companies cancelling any interest or charges in extreme cases. Firms would have to work more closely with people in debt, such as drawing up a faster repayment plan. FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said the proposals should put “customers in greater control”. The regulator defines someone as being in credit card debt if they have paid more in interest and charges than they have repaid of their borrowing over an 18-month period. The FCA estimates that 3.3 million people are in persistent debt.


Tesla reports record car deliveries 

In a record quarter, Tesla delivered just over 25,000 cars in the first three months of the year. The electric car maker said that was a 70% rise on the same period of 2016. It is a rebound for the US company after production problems late last year resulted in a 9% fall in deliveries in the fourth quarter. Last week China’s Tencent Holdings bought a 5% stake in Tesla for almost $1.8bn. That was a boost for the company which has been investing heavily in raising production and faces an expensive year, with the launch of the new Model 3, a medium-sized car which Tesla describes as its “most affordable” car yet.





Poorest Britons already feeling the crush of inflation 

Sharply rising inflation since last June’s Brexit vote is already starting to hurt the poorest households in Britain. Supermarket chain Asda said on Friday its gauge of disposable income showed the weakest growth since June 2014 during February, with the poorest households hit particularly hard. While overall disposable income rose 1.7% in the year to February, for the lowest income families it plummeted 18%, as this table shows:









Financial Times


UK manufacturing growth unexpectedly slows for second month 

Growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector slowed in the first quarter, according to a key business survey, which showed firms reporting a second successive month of disappointing activity in March.  The purchasing managers’ index for the manufacturing sector fell to 54.2, down from the previous month’s 54.6. Economists had expected the figure to rise to 55. Despite the relative disappointment, however, IHS Markit described the overall performance as “solid”, with rates of expansion in output and new orders still above their long-run average. The pound slipped 0.3% against the dollar to a daily low of $1.2510 following the release, survey respondents benefited from higher foreign demand encouraged by the weaker pound.


The Guardian


Ineos leads lobbying to end green levy for chemicals industry 

Anglo-Swiss chemicals firm Ineos is privately leading an industry lobbying attempt to avoid paying for the cost of decarbonising Britain’s economy. Documents released under freedom of information rules have revealed that Ineos is pushing the government to use Britain’s exit from the EU as a chance to exempt the chemicals sector from climate policy costs. Energy users pay a levy to support green-energy providers, such as offshore windfarms. Last week the government announced £100m worth of cuts to the energy bills of heavy users, meaning the chemicals, cement and steel sectors will pay less towards subsidising low-carbon energy generation.


UK’s bosses still regard Brexit as biggest risk but fears are easing 

Fears about the effect of Brexit are receding among Britain’s company bosses, although the UK’s departure from the European Union remains their top risk. Nearly a third of chief financial officers say they are more optimistic about the prospects for their company than they were three months ago – the highest level since 2015 – a poll by the advisory firm Deloitte found.


The Times


Work out cost of crossing M25 before runway plan, says airlines 

Heathrow’s expansion should be suspended until plans to build a runway over Britain’s busiest motorway have been assessed, ministers have been told. The owner of British Airways said that the development should not be confirmed until detailed plans for the M25, which will pass under the third runway, are finalised. The airport is yet to decide how the runway will cross the M25. A proposal to build a 650-metre tunnel for the motorway could be abandoned in favour of a cheaper plan to put the runway on a slope eight metres above the road.


Motorists to pay more after European court ruling 

Drivers will have to pay up to £20 a year more to insure their cars because of a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Boris Johnson said the rule that off-road vehicles, such as tractors and racing cars, had to be insured even if they never went on a public highway was “perfect example” of “over-regulation”, but added that it made him glad Britain had voted for Brexit. Motorists are already being made to pay up to another £300 a year because of the decision by Liz Truss, the justice secretary, to increase compensation pay-outs.


Sleeping lorry drivers are set for £300 wake-up call 

The government will penalise foreign lorry drivers who spend weekends clogging up British lay-bys to dodge European rules on rest periods. Ministers will introduce £300 spot fines to deter drivers from sleeping for two consecutive nights in their cabs, blocking roadside parking spaces. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the transport minister, said the penalties would be brought in subject to consultation with the haulage industry.


Even modern diesel cars face £12.50 daily charge 

Drivers of diesel cars bought new less than two years ago face a £12.50 daily charge in central London under the first pollution penalties to hit modern diesel engines. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, will say tomorrow that he is bringing forward the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone and plans to expand it from central London to the North Circular and South Circular roads.



Daily Mail


£20 daily fee to drive your diesel

Ministers were last night accused of waging war on diesel drivers with plans to charge them £20 a day to use their cars. New ‘toxin taxes’ could be levied in 35 towns and cities across England in a major crackdown on air pollution. The measures could affect up 10 million of the 11.9 million diesels on the roads, with only the newest vehicles likely to be spared. The plans could be announced by Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom as early as this week.



The Daily Telegraph


Help drivers to ditch diesel, ministers urged 

Ministers are being urged to bring in a diesel scrappage scheme after it emerged that drivers could face pollution taxes of up £20 a day in several towns and cities. The various initiatives have prompted calls for ministers to bring in a diesel scrappage scheme to incentivise motorists to swap their vehicles.



Posted by Paul Carpenter on 03/04/2017