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Friday Round upBack


UK interest rates held at 0.5%interest rate image

The Bank of England has held the UK’s main interest rate at 0.5% despite speculation that it would cut rates. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 to leave rates unchanged, but minutes of the meeting showed most members expect the Bank will take some action next month. Sterling rose as high as $1.3480 following the decision before falling back to $1.3312.

Financial markets had priced in an 80% chance of the Bank cutting rates.


Oxford Street to be pedestrianised by 2020

Oxford Street will be pedestrianised by 2020, the mayor of London’s office has said. All traffic including buses and taxis will be banned from the shopping street – one of the most famous in the world – as part of Sadiq Khan’s plans to tackle air pollution.

More than four million people visit Oxford Street each week. City Hall said the project would be rolled out in two stages to reduce disruption on the 1.2-mile street. Cars are already banned on most of Oxford Street between 07:00 and 19:00 every day apart from Sunday.



The Financial Times


MPs criticise UK response to VW emissions scandal vw

The Department for Transport has been heavily criticised by MPs over its response to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, with suggestions that its financial links to the carmaker delayed it from taking action. The Commons Transport Committee said there was a possible “conflict of interests” because the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency, a body within the transport department that approves cars for sale across the EU, has VW’s Skoda brand as a customer. Under European rules, carmakers can choose where to have their vehicles tested and certified. Approval from one authority allows them to sell the car across the EU without further tests.



The Times


Who’s who in Theresa May’s new cabinet

The cabinet 


Theresa May Prime minister may cabinet 2

Philip Hammond Chancellor

Amber Rudd Home secretary

Boris Johnson Foreign secretary

David Davis Brexit secretary

Michael Fallon Defence secretary

Liam Fox International trade

Liz Truss Justice secretary

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the Lords

Jeremy Hunt Health secretary

Justine Greening Education secretary

Chris Grayling Transport secretary

Karen Bradley Culture secretary

Andrea Leadsom environment secretary

Damian Green Work and pensions secretary

Sajid Javid Communities and local government secretary

James Brokenshire Northern Ireland secretary

Alun Cairns Welsh secretary

David Mundell Scottish secretary

Patrick McLoughlin Party chairman

David Lidington Commons leader

Greg Clark Business, energy and industrial strategy secretary

Priti Patel International development

Gavin Williamson Chief whip (attends cabinet)

Ben Gummer Cabinet office minister (attends cabinet)

Jeremy Wright Attorney-general (attends cabinet)

David Gauke Treasury chief secretary (attends cabinet)




George Osborne Former chancellor

Michael Gove Former justice secretary

Nicky Morgan Ex education secretary

John Whittingdale Former culture secretary

Oliver Letwin Former cabinet office minister




Stephen Crabb Former work and pensions secretary

Theresa Villiers Former Northern Ireland secretary

Mark Harper Former chief whip

Baroness Stowell of Beeston Former Lords leader



Delays on roads rise by a third

Motorists are being delayed by 15 minutes for every 100 miles they drive on major roads because of crippling levels of congestion, says an official review. A surge in the number of vehicles using motorways and main A-roads has led to an increase in delays by about a third over the past four years. A report by the Office for Rail and Road found that motorists were on average stuck in traffic for almost nine seconds for every mile travelled on the strategic network, up from just over six and a half seconds in 2011-12.



The Guardian


Halfords reports 4% decline in bicycle sales in three months to 1 July halfords image

Halfords has reported another sharp drop in bicycle sales as Britons prove to be fair-weather cyclists. Its chief executive, Jill McDonald, said the 4% decline in bike sales in the three months to 1 July was “principally weather related” and denied interest in the sport had peaked. “We don’t see that,” she said. “We believe the long-term outlook for cycling is positive.” The fresh slump follows last year’s disappointing performance where cycling sales finished down 0.9% after a disastrous summer.



The Daily Mail


Learner drivers to be tested on how to use a sat nav and turn on the LIGHTS in updated test that targets everyday skills

Learner drivers know they need to master the three-point turn and remember the all-important mantra of ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’. But what about following a sat nav and turning on the heated rear window? These are some of the new skills being added to an updated driving test, as part of a push by the Government to ensure learners can handle real-life driving experiences. The test will no longer include elements such as turning in the road and reversing around a corner to make time for more everyday skills, such as reversing into and out of a space in a car park. In what is being billed as the biggest shake-up since the introduction of a theory test in 1996, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also plans to double the amount of independent driving in the test, from ten to 20 minutes. Candidates will be asked to follow directions on a sat nav and given instructions such as switching on lights or heated windows.



Posted by Paul Carpenter on 15/07/2016