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Britain’s households and companies resisted the urge to borrow and spend in July as the vote for Brexit created a new mood of caution among home buyers, purchasers of vehicles and corporate treasures. At the same time as the Bank of England’s borrowing data for July showed a new reluctance to splash out, there were tentative signs yesterday that the central bank’s interest rate cut in early August had been effective in persuading some consumers to reject saving and instead spend money before prices of imported goods go up. The combined economic evidence suggests that Brexit will cool the economy, but the full short-term economic effects of the vote to leave the EU will remain uncertain for some time.
Brexiteers have been cheered in August in retail sales figures by showing consumers still spending money without signs that the EU referendum had any effect on their intentions. But official lending data suggested such optimism was premature, with declines in borrowing for mortgages and new cars.
May rules out early general election
Theresa May has quashed the idea of moving early to capitalise on her party’s huge poll lead over the warring Labour opposition. The PM’s office also ruled out a new vote on EU membership.
Paris bid to end transatlantic trade talks
France has called for Brussels to end talks on the transatlantic trade deal, amid mounting frustration over US demands and popular disenchantment with free trade.
Self-driving cars to honk by emoji
A silicon Valley start-up is exploring emojis as a robotic response to honks and waves exchanged between human road users, sent via digital signage on car roofs.
French economy minister quits before expected presidency bid
Emmanuel Macron, France’s economy minister, has resigned and broken away from his mentor, Francois Hollande, to prepare an expected rival presidential bid.
Global shortage presents dilemma for carmakers
A global shortage of batteries – and factories to make them – threatens to keep the price of electric cars high for the being. Battery costs need to fall significantly before electric cars will be cheap enough to convince consumers to ditch petrol. But carmakers are reluctant to build their own batteries. Except Telsa, which is building its own gigafactory in Nevada, most of the major manufacturers buy batteries from third-party suppliers such as Samsung, Panasonic and LG Chem.
Corbyn on course to win bigger mandate
Jeremy Corbyn is on course to win the Labour leadership contest with an increased mandate thanks to overwhelming backing from the party’s newest supporters.
54,000 pregnant workers forced out
Pregnant women should be protected from redundancy until six months after they return to work to combat “shocking” discrimination, MPs say. The number of expectant mothers forced out of their jobs each year has almost doubled in the past decade from 30,000 in 2005 to 54,000, figures from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show.
New diesel cars are still emitting many times the official limit for polluting nitrogen oxides when driven on the road, almost a year after the Volkswagen emissions scandal broke. Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Hyundai have all launched diesel models in 2016 with NOx emissions that are far higher than the official lab-based test when driven in real-world conditions, according to tests by Emissions Analytics (EA), a company whose data is used by the manufacturers of most cars sold in Europe.
Ironically, the only new model to meet the limit when on the road was a Volkswagen Tiguan.