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City of London ‘to press EU for post-Brexit deal’
A delegation of City of London business leaders will go to Brussels this week to press for a post-Brexit deal on financial services, reports say. The team will be led by former City minister Mark Hoban, sources told the Financial Times.
The move comes amid increased concern that London’s status as a European financial hub will be badly hit if the UK leaves the EU single market. Many firms have plans in place to move staff and operations out of the UK.
Employers ‘having to pay more to recruit new staff’
Many UK employers have had to pay “well above market rate” to attract employees over the past year as a skills shortage intensifies, a survey suggests. Almost all firms in a survey of 400 by the Open University said it had been difficult to find workers with the skills they needed. The distance learning university calculated the problem was costing companies more than £2bn a year. It said uncertainty surrounding Brexit was exacerbating the skills gap.
Investment in UK car industry plummets amid Brexit uncertainty
Investment in the UK car industry has fallen to just £322m in the first half of 2017, in a sign that companies are delaying or cancelling spending ahead of the UK leaving the EU. Last year £1.66bn was invested in the auto sector, more than 30 per cent down from £2.5bn in 2015, as carmakers and their suppliers delayed non-essential investment following the EU referendum last June. But investment looks to have fallen even further in the first six months of this year, according to figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders industry body. If the same levels of investment are seen in the second half of the year, it would bring total annual spend on the UK car industry to just £644m — nearly one-quarter of the amount invested two years ago and a sharper fall than many in the industry had expected.
Eight out of ten drivers ignoring 20mph limit
The vast majority of drivers are ignoring 20mph zones, bringing claims that the mass introduction of lower limits in built-up areas is a waste of time. Department for Transport (DfT) analysis shows that eight out of ten cars exceeded the maximum last year. The study, based on the use of traffic counters on the road surface, showed that drivers were more likely to break the speed limit on 20mph streets than any other road. A total of 81 per cent of vehicles broke the limit on low-speed roads with 15 per cent travelling at 30mph or more and 1 per cent at over 40mph.
Uncertainty over future of Car Finance Company
The private equity backer of Britain’s leading sub-prime car lender has written off its entire investment in the business and withdrawn its funding, highlighting growing fears over the state of the motor finance industry. The Car Finance Company said that there was “material uncertainty” over its future after Pine Brook, its American private equity owner, backed away from supporting the lender only two years after it had bought the business. In accounts filed with Companies House, Pine Brook said that its £50 million investment in The Car Finance Company was not considered recoverable as the latest accounts showed that the proportion of arrears had more than doubled to 18.4 per cent in 2016 from 8.2 per cent a year earlier.
UK factory growth hits three-month low
The UK manufacturing PMI has dropped to 54.3 in June, well below expectations of a reading of 56.5. This is the slowest growth in three months. Any reading over 50 shows growth, so this is the latest signal that Britain’s economy is slowing this year. Firms reported that production and new orders did grow in June, but at a slower rate than in May. Demand from domestic and export markets both slowed – denting hopes that the weak pound will boost UK exports.
MPs and charities urge car leasers to publish sub-prime loan figures
MPs and debt charities have called on the car leasing industry to reveal the number of people in arrears and defaulting on loans, amid fears that consumer lending is returning to levels seen before the 2008 financial crash. More than 85% of new cars in the UK are financed using loans – up from just over half in 2009 – but a lack of industry-wide figures sets car leasing apart from other sectors in the financial services industry that publish figures for arrears and defaults. The MPs said they were concerned that the car leasing industry could not publish figures on the level of sub-prime lending to people with low incomes or who have poor credit histories.
Reckless car loan salesmen exposed: How dealers are luring young drivers into massive debt by offering them new top-brand cars with NO cash up front
Young drivers are being tempted into dangerously high levels of debt by car dealers offering them new vehicles for no money up front. Ruthless salesmen are offering customers Audis, Vauxhalls, Suzukis and Fords worth up to £20,000 for no deposit – even if they admit they are unemployed, on low wages or have a poor credit rating. But the deals commit them to paying hundreds of pounds per month for years. If they fail to keep up payments, they face having the cars repossessed and court orders forcing them to pay the outstanding loan.