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A leading Scottish National Party politician, Alyn Smith MEP, says there is a recognition in Brussels that “Scotland is looking for something different” in relations with the EU. “Brussels people do know there is a plurality of interests in the UK,” he told the BBC in a phone interview. “It’s not a separate track, but… we reserve the right to do what we need to do, to speak to whoever we need to.”
But he acknowledged that the UK could overrule Scottish wishes over Brexit. Scotland does not have veto power to block UK withdrawal from the EU.
UK borrowing falls to lowest level since 2008
The UK government borrowed £25.6bn in the three months to the end of June, £2.3bn less than it did during the same period last year, and the lowest level since 2008. However the total amount owed continued to rise, reaching £1,621bn. That amounts to 84% of the value generated by the UK economy – otherwise known as gross domestic product (GDP). The measurement, which includes some forecasting, does not reflect the impact of the Brexit vote on 23 June. The monthly borrowing figure for June was £7.8bn
Not using your driverless car? Then send it out to work
Tesla cars of the future will be sent out to work as self-driving taxis rather than sit unused on their owners’ driveways, the company’s chief executive has said. With a few taps on a smartphone app, the electric cars would be instructed to join a fleet of Tesla taxis, earning money for their owners while they are at work or on holiday. The system, which is some years away, would help to slash the cost of car ownership, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, said in his treatise Master Plan, Part Deux, released yesterday. A fleet of driverless taxis would be possible only after autonomous driving technology was ten times safer than a human motorist, he added. Next year Tesla will unveil an urban transport vehicle — possibly a variation on a bus — that will carry passengers wherever they need to go.
An early interest rate cut to a record low designed to boost the economy in the wake of Brexit is not needed, according to one of the Bank of England’s leading monetary policy makers. Kristin Forbes, an economist who has been an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) that sets the base interest rate since 2014, writes in an article in the Daily Telegraph that “‘keep calm and carry on’ is a good motto to live by” for rate setters. This is not 2008. Then markets were collapsing, the financial system stopped functioning and the global economy was entering a recession,” she says. “This is not a Lehman moment”. Her comments come in the wake of the shock decision by the MPC to hold rates at a record low of 0.5 per cent at its July meeting last week, despite apparent hints from Bank of England governor and committee chairman Mark Carney that borrowing costs would be slashed.