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Daily News Round UpBack

BEN launches mental health campaign for automotive industry

banner-failedAutomotive charity BEN is launching a series of new campaigns designed to raise awareness of key health and wellbeing issues, encouraging people to access the charity’s wide range of support services.

The first campaign, which launches this month, focuses on mental fitness and dealing with problems that may impact on people’s mental wellbeing.

The charity also aims to help employers support workers who may be struggling by raising awareness of its support services.

A series of emails, posters, online resources and a social media campaign will encourage people to Speak To Ben if they are experiencing problems.

Yvonne Hignell, BEN’s support services director, said: “One in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental health problems every year, but it’s not talked about in the same way as physical illness.

“We want to help remove the taboo around mental health issues and encourage anyone who is struggling to ask for help.

“While this is not an issue that is unique to the automotive industry, our role as the industry’s support network means it is vital people know they can call us for free and confidential help.”

Those within the automotive industry can call BEN’s free and confidential helpline to speak with support officers who offer access to a range of services designed to deliver long term solutions.



Government names auto firms that fail to pay minimum wage

Eight companies connected to the motor trade have been named and shamed for failing to pay workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

The eight were included in the listing of 113 offending companies revealed by business minister Nick Boles.

Between them, the 113 companies named owed workers over £387,000 in arrears.

Since the scheme was introduced in October 2013, 398 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of over £1,179,000 and total penalties of over £511,000.

Business Minister Nick Boles said: “Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families.”

On 1 October 2015, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rose to £6.70 per hour.

There are different rates for the National Minimum Wage depending on the circumstances of their workers.

The naming and shaming scheme was revised in October 2013 to make it simpler to name and shame employers that do not comply with minimum wage rules.

The automotive companies were:

  • Village Garage Engineers Ltd, trading as Village Garage, Plean, neglected to pay £9,159.80 to 3 workers
  • AutoPanels North East Ltd, Chester le Street, neglected to pay £2,101.59 to 1 worker
  • KJM Autos Ltd, Hengoed, neglected to pay £736.12 to 1 worker
  • Storm Commercials Ltd, Monk Bretton, neglected to pay £342.40 to 1 worker
  • D K Forecourts Ltd, trading as Texaco Garage, Caerphilly, neglected to pay £156.00 to 1 worker
  • D K Forecourts Ltd, trading as Pavilion Garage, Pontypool, neglected to pay £151.44 to 1 worker
  • Steve Efthimiou, trading as Mr Clutch, Luton, neglected to pay £135.24 to 1 worker
  • Mark Gosling, trading as Regency Autos, Penarth, neglected to pay £116.76 to 1 worker



Supermarkets gaining market share says AA

The AA has praised the supermarkets for keeping fuel prices low and says their policy has helped them win market share from other fuel retailers.

In its latest monthly fuel price update it says average unleaded petrol prices fell for the fourth month in a row, dropping from 111.16ppl in mid-September to 109.21ppl in mid-October, compared with a peak of 117.28ppl on June 22.

Diesel began to edge up slightly from 11.41ppl to 110.96ppl, but the AA says retailers have cut their margins on diesel. It points to the current 2ppl differential with petrol, which reflects the differential at the wholesale level, compared with a 5ppl differential at retail level in the winter when the wholesale differential was only 3ppl.

The report adds: “Strong competition among supermarkets has helped to keep the lid on prices. The Big Four have now put significant price distance (an average 2p a litre on both petrol and diesel) between them and their non-supermarket rivals.”

AA president Edmund King commented: “Supermarkets have done a good job this summer in keeping the pressure on pump prices and, so far, they don’t seem ready to ease up. There again, with UK petrol sales depressed and fuel a clear advantage over low-cost supermarkets, the battle to keep forecourts busy is intense.

“Drivers have responded by keeping supermarket petrol sales steady between April and June this year, down only 0.2% compared to minus 4.8% for non-supermarket retailers.”


New MOT system is ‘deliberately basic’, DVSA tells garage owners

Almost 4M tests have been processed since the old MOT system was switched off last month – See more at:

The DVSA’s trade manager for the MOT modernisation project, Ian Marsh delivered an update on the new MOT testing service at an event arranged by the Independent Garage Association (IGA) in Newbury last week.

The new MOT system, dubbed ‘MOT Comp 2′, was designed to replace the old computer system after the ATOS contract came to end.

Marsh described the old system as an overly complicated design with more than 120 reports – of which only 14 were ever used by anyone.

He explained that this time around, the DVSA are building something that testers want and said that new testing service is “deliberately basic”.




Using more than 1 billion miles of driving behaviour data, Wunelli, has revealed the most frequent braking black spots across the UK created by speed cameras, based on motorists braking excessively just before speed cameras to avoid being caught.

Around 80% of all the UK speed cameras investigated had hard braking activity, with braking increasing six fold on average at these locations. Wunelli defines a hard braking event as a change in speed of 6.5+ mph over a 1-second time period, which is enough to propel a bag on the passenger seat into the footwell.

Wunelli’s key findings relating to speeding:

• 80% of the UK speed cameras investigated are creating braking black spots

• Motorists hard braking activity increases on average by 689% at these locations

• Women exceed the speed limit 12% less than men and hard brake 11% less

• Motorists are most likely to speed at 5:59 am and least likely to speed at 5:16 pm

• Motorists driving in 30 mph zones are found to be speeding 12% of the time and at least 18% over the speed limit

• Motorists in Caithness speed 36% of the time, whilst motorists in Greater London only speed 8% of the time

• A 30% reduction in speeding is achieved by those provided with feedback via personal dashboards or smartphone devices

The Wunelli analysis also identified that drivers of 4WD gold estate cars are typically the safest drivers as determined by fewest speeding, braking and claims events.



A new report published by Moody’s has stated that the VW emissions crisis highlights serious corporate governance problems at Volkswagen, and that while the ongoing management reshuffle is positive, the high turnover creates risks.

Yasmina Serghini-Douvin, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s said, ‘VW’s emissions crisis has brought to light serious corporate governance issues within the company that we view as a credit negative. These deficiencies include ineffective internal controls to uncover improper activity and poor risk management by VW’s management and supervisory boards. The emission crisis might cause lasting damage to VW’s once-solid reputation with adverse effects on its future earnings and cash flows.’

‘The management shake-up will empower VW’s brands and improve regional coordination across the organisation. These changes should also help address the company’s organisational complexity, which we have viewed as a long-standing credit negative. However, a turnover of this magnitude creates risks, and additional changes following the conclusion of an internal investigation may put added stress on the quality and depth of the senior management team.’

Overview of report:

• Emissions crisis points to serious shortfalls in oversight. These deficiencies include ineffective internal controls to uncover improper activity and poor risk management by VW’s management and supervisory boards. Sweeping governance reforms could limit the damage to VW’s once-solid reputation, which threatens to hurt earnings and cash flows.

• Management changes are positive to date, but high turnover creates risks. In our view, the management shake-up will empower VW’s brands and improve regional coordination. For example, key production functions will be de-centralised at both a brand- and regional-level, in an effort to enhance the company’s agility. The management changes could also help address the company’s organisational complexity, which we have viewed as a long-standing credit negative. However, given the magnitude of the changes, we think it will take time for the new management framework to take shape and become an integral part of the company’s corporate culture. There may be further changes following the conclusion of the internal investigation, which could put additional stress on the quality and depth of the senior management bench.

• Lack of independent voices persists on supervisory board. The relative lack of independent voices on the supervisory board is a governance weakness for VW because it can result in less diversity of opinion and weaker management supervision than in other large, rated diversified global corporations. Of the 10 supervisory board members who represent shareholders, there is only one independent director.

• Three controlling shareholders to determine extent of corporate governance reforms. VW’s relatively complex corporate governance structure is dominated by three controlling shareholders: Porsche Automobil Holdings SE (which is wholly-owned by the founding Porsche/Piëch families), the state of Lower Saxony and Qatar Investment Holdings. These parties play the most active roles in VW’s governance. In the past, we have viewed the ownership as a potential source of stability for creditors, allowing the company to take a longer-term view on strategy and operations. But their interests may not always be totally aligned with each other or those of the company’s creditors and are therefore a source of potential conflict.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 28/10/2015