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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 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.
Who’s who in Theresa May’s new cabinet
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.
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.
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.