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Household squeeze shows signs of easing as wages rise
Wages grew by 2.6% in the three months to January while the rate of unemployment fell, according to new data. The Office for National Statistics said that earnings increased compared with a 2.5% rise in the previous period. It adds to evidence that the squeeze on household income may be coming to an end after inflation fell to 2.7% in February. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked lower to 4.3% from 4.4%.
BMW headquarters searched by police in emissions raid
German prosecutors have raided the headquarters of BMW as part of an investigation into the suspected use of emissions cheating software. About 100 police and law enforcement officials searched the luxury carmaker’s Munich headquarters and a site in Austria, prosecutors said. They opened an investigation last month over suspected fraud. “There is an early suspicion that BMW has used a test bench-related defeat device,” prosecutors said.
Toyota suspends US driverless car tests after fatal Uber accident
Toyota has suspended US tests of driverless cars on public roads following a fatal accident in Arizona involving one of Uber Technologies’ self-driving vehicles. Toyota said it was concerned about the “emotional effect” the incident might have on its test drivers. The carmaker said it did not have a timeline for re-starting the trials. The Arizona accident has revived debate about whether autonomous vehicles are being put into use prematurely.
UK consumer inflation rate eases to 2.7% in February
UK inflation fell by more than expected during February as the post-referendum fall in the pound on consumer prices began to drop out of the figures. Prices were 2.7 per cent higher during the month than they were a year ago, according to data published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics. Analysts expected a reading of 2.8 per cent from 3 per cent in January. In February 2017 the rate of inflation jumped by 0.5 percentage points to 2.3 per cent during the month. This increase reduced the annual change in February 2018, due to a so-called base effect.
UK consumers can’t see the point of complaining
Britons encountered 173 million problems with products and services last year but reported fewer than a third of them, according to an ombudsman’s survey. Consumers ignored 78 million issues last year, an increase of three million from 2016, the Ombudsman Services’ fifth annual Consumer Action Monitor found. Only 29 per cent of consumers believed they could get a problem resolved by raising it, while one in five did not take the complaint further because they had done so previously and achieved nothing. Instead, 40 per cent walked out of a shop or gave up on an online purchase before buying, up from 29 per cent the previous year, while 30 per cent switched providers or spent less.
MOT test 2018 update – What’s changing and why it’s bad news for diesel drivers
THE MOT test is just months away from changing and being updated with new categories, which will mean even more bad news for diesel cars. March was a record month for MOT tests in the UK with almost half a million drivers’ cars needing one. This was due to the influx of cars registered in March of 2015 needing their first MOT test. New cars are only required to have their first test after three years before they are required annually. MOT test rules are changing in the UK from May this year. The changes were announced earlier this year and will see the introduction of three new categories that grade faults introduced amongst other things. Under the new rules, the three new categories will be Dangerous, Minor and Major and they will define how severe a fault with the car is.
Whiplash crackdown to put money back in motorists’ pockets
A CRACKDOWN on ‘easy payday’ whiplash claims has been unveiled by the government. Ministers say new measures offer hope of lower insurance premiums to millions of motorists. Drivers are expected to save £35 a year on average as a result of steps contained in the Civil Liability Bill. It will set fixed amounts of compensation for whiplash claims and ban the practice of seeking or offering to settle the cases without medical evidence. Publishing the Bill, justice secretary David Gauke said: ‘The number of whiplash claims has been too high for too long, and is symptomatic of a wider compensation culture. ‘We are putting this right through this important legislation, ensuring whiplash claims are no longer an easy payday and that money can be put back in the pockets of millions of law-abiding motorists.’ The high number of whiplash claims has contributed to increased insurance premiums, but the measures announced on Tuesday will yield around £1billion in savings, which insurers have pledged to pass on to drivers. Figures show road traffic accident-related personal injury claims are 50 per cent higher than a decade ago, despite a fall in the number of reported accidents.