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JLR cuts Land Rover production amid diesel uncertainty
Jaguar Land Rover will cut production of some vehicles amid uncertainty over Brexit and changes to taxes on diesel cars. The company will temporarily scale back output of the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models later this year. Last week, JLR said its global sales hit a record in 2017, but that the UK market was “tough”. Vehicle makers have blamed Brexit confusion and a hike in diesel taxation for a general fall in UK car sales. The two Land Rover models are made at the company’s Halewood plant on Merseyside. Output will be reduced in the second quarter of 2018.
Vauxhall: Unite union chief in ‘frank exchange’ with PSA
Talks between Britain’s biggest union and Vauxhall’s French owner PSA Group were “frank” but useful, the sides say. Unite head Len McCluskey was in Paris for a meeting with PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares about the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory. Mr McCluskey wants more investment in Ellesmere to protect jobs. It follows more jobs cuts at Ellesmere this month. In separate statements, the two sides agreed to further talks to establish a “roadmap” for Ellesmere’s future. PSA, which also owns Peugeot and Citroen, said last year that it wants to build the new Astra model at Ellesmere. But that has not eased worries about the plant’s future.
More small businesses get access to Financial Ombudsman
The City regulator wants to widen access to the Financial Ombudsman Service, enabling more firms to act if they feel badly treated by banks. An additional 160,000 small firms would be able to use the service, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says in a consultation document. Currently, only individuals or firm with fewer than 10 staff can use the Ombudsman to settle financial disputes. Under the FCA proposals, firms with up to 50 staff could use the service. Larger businesses will still have to use the courts to settle disputes.
Smaller companies make keeping staff top priority
Small businesses plan to boost investment over the next three months as their confidence begins to recover, new research suggests. Securing and developing skilled staff will be their top priority, a quarterly survey conducted by Bibby Financial Services, a small business lender, has found. Small business owners’ planned expenditure for the first three months of 2018 rose by 14 per cent compared with the final quarter of last year to an average of £88,721 each, Bibby said. More than one in four plan to hire in the first quarter of 2018, while a third plan to invest in staff training and development. A quarter said that they would invest in new equipment or machinery.
Scandal of inadequate apprenticeships
Tens of thousands of apprentices are receiving inadequate training as inspectors struggle to assess a deluge of businesses cashing in on a government scheme. After the Learndirect scandal, figures from the education watchdog Ofsted reveal that nearly half of all registered apprenticeship providers inspected last year were inadequate or required improvement. At the same time, Ofsted has admitted it will struggle to cope with huge increases in the number of companies setting themselves up as training institutions after the introduction of the apprenticeship levy last May. So far 2,000 colleges, private institutions and companies have registered to train apprentices to meet the government’s target of three million apprenticeships by 2020.
Off-peak charging vital for electric car power supply, experts say
The UK energy system will be able to cope with the extra demand caused by the uptake of millions of electric cars, provided drivers shift their charging to off-peak times, according to new research. The number of battery-powered cars on Britain’s roads will grow from around 120,000 today to 10m by 2035 and pass the 17m mark five years later, predicted Aurora Energy Research. If those millions of drivers return home from work and charge their cars immediately during the peak hours of 4-6pm, that would add around 3GW, the equivalent capacity of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, to peak power demand.
Used car secret exposed and it’s more bad news for DIESEL cars
New analysis has revealed a shocking secret about used diesel cars, which suggests that they are three times more likely to breakdown as petrol and more expensive to fix. Used diesel cars are three times as likely to break down as a petrol counterpart and more expensive to fix, reveals new analysis. Analysis of 30,000 faults on 3-8 year old cars across a 12 month period, found that the average diesel engine bills were 20 per cent more expensive than petrol. According to MotorEasy, who conducted the analysis, diesel cars cost, on average, £517 to fix, compared to £433 for a petrol model. One engine fault on a diesel car was reported to cost a whopping £4,030.80 to repair.
Vandals caused £1.9billion damage to cars in the UK last year, a study has found. The number of reported attacks rose ten per cent to 3million, with the average repair bill coming in at £661, said car insurers Admiral.
Tailgating, lane hogging and using mobile phones – Brits breaking the law as traffic cop numbers are slashed
British drivers could be getting away with breaking the law due to a lack of police presence on our roads, a new study has claimed. Research found up to 65 per cent of drivers feel that they can commit traffic offences like tailgating and lane hogging because they aren’t worried about getting caught. Conducted by the AA, around half of the 19,500 motorists surveyed admitted they felt they would get away with plenty of fine-able offences, including using a mobile phone while at the wheel, driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition and not wearing a seatbelt. More than 30 per cent also felt breaking drug and drink driving laws, disobeying road signs, driving without insurance and speeding would go unpunished. According to Press Association, the number of traffic officers has fallen by a third in the last decade, dropping from 3,766 in 2007 to 2,643 in 2017.
Admiral hikes insurance costs for drivers using Hotmail email addresses
Car insurer Admiral last night admitted hiking premiums for drivers applying via Hotmail. The Sun asked about policies using identical details but different mail accounts. Enquiries via Hotmail saw quotes up to £31.36 costlier than those made via Gmail. Admiral said email domains — the part after the “@” — affects how risky it deems motorists. It said: “Certain domain names are associated with more accidents than others.” We found that on comparison website GoCompare, Admiral charged a Hotmail driver £467.04 and a Gmail one £435.68 — £31.36 less. On MoneySuperMarket the £507.21 Hotmail quote was £6.57 dearer than using Gmail. And while Admiral offered a £380.80 premium to a Hotmail user on Confused.com, using Gmail cost £5.60 less.
Brit van drivers ditching junk food and hitting the gym to get fit
Britain’s van drivers are ditching their stereotypical lifestyle in favour of healthy eating and regular trips to the gym, a study has found. Despite the ‘white van man’ being traditionally labelled as junk food-loving and exercise-shy, many are now more likely to be found tucking into a healthy lunch and heading to the gym at the end of the day. In fact, the average van driver will work out twice a week, with more than one in 10 heading to the gym at least five times a week. And instead of grabbing whatever they can on the go, one in seven will make their own packed lunch so they know exactly what they will be eating. One in 10 also claim to eat a very healthy diet of fruit, vegetables and salad while on the road. A spokesman for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which commissioned the study, said: “This research seems to show that nowadays, van drivers are leading a much healthier lifestyle than you might expect.