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Brexit transition deal is urgent, say select committee MPs
An influential group of MPs has urged Britain and the European Union to agree a “status quo” transition period following Britain’s departure from the EU. The Treasury Select Committee said that the temporary arrangement should be agreed as quickly as possible to ease business concerns over a “no deal” Brexit. The committee’s report said it “strongly supported” the prime minister’s push for a comprehensive free trade deal which would keep borders as “frictionless” as possible. But it said in order to reach that point, an implementation period would be necessary where the European Court of Justice (ECJ) was likely to retain supremacy over UK laws. “An agreement between the UK and EU27 on ‘standstill’ transitional arrangements is now urgent,” said Nicky Morgan, the Conservative chairwoman of the committee who campaigned for Remain before the referendum. “The consequences of failing to reach an agreement are dramatic and damaging.”
Toyota and Panasonic launch car battery study
Toyota and Panasonic are to launch a study into a partnership to develop battery technology for electric cars.
The move by the Japanese carmaker and the world’s biggest supplier of automotive batteries signals a deeper push into the development of electric vehicles. In a rare public appearance, Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, and Kazuhiro Tsuga, his counterpart at Panasonic, announced the companies would look at joining forces to speed up commercialisation of next-generation battery technologies.
Renault backs magazine publisher ahead of driverless future
Driverless cars means freeing up your hands and your attention, which in turns means more time to read glossy magazines. That is the logic behind Renault’s decision to buy a 40 per cent stake in Perdriel Group, the publishing house behind weekly business magazine Challenges. “Today, French and European commuters spend about two hours in their car every day,” the French carmaker said. With “the development of the connected driverless vehicle, users will have more time to spend on other activities while in the car.”
China’s Xiaomi hints it is looking to build cars
China’s smartphone maker Xiaomi has hinted at plans to build electric vehicles as tech groups increasingly look to cars as next-generation smart devices. In a regulatory filing in India publicised on Tuesday, Xiaomi said it may sell “all types of vehicles for transport, conveyance and other transport equipment, whether based on electricity or any other motive or mechanical power, including the components, spare parts” in India. The company has not announced any concrete plans to make electric vehicles in its native China and said it was not currently seeking any licences or permission to produce them. “We have nothing in the pipeline,” said one company employee.
Mini-motorways to ease congestion on busy roads
A new generation of mini-motorways are to be created across England to combat congestion amid warnings that traffic will rise by more than a third in the next two decades. The country’s busiest A-roads will be converted into “expressways”, with roundabouts and traffic lights stripped out and motorway-style features installed, such as slip lanes to keep cars flowing and overhead gantries to warn of congestion ahead. Slow-moving vehicles and bicycles will be banned. Highways England is already committed to converting a number of A-roads into 70mph expressways during its present five-year funding period up to 2020. Some roads will be widened to up to three lanes on both sides.
Thousands of free-to-use cash machines to be “protected” as row over funding continues
Britain’s free cash machines have been given a reprieve. Link, which has 70,000 machines in its network, has promised that free-to-use ATMs will be protected as part of a financial inclusion programme. It has acted to dampen fears that “ATM deserts” will be created by plans to reduce the amount machine operators can charge card companies. The proposals published last month prompted a storm of protest from consumer groups and the ATM Industry Association.