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The Daily Mail
Car buyers are being hit with hidden charges and penalty fees after being lured to take out loans by commission-hungry salesmen. Sales of new and used cars are at a record high, spurred on by a glut of cheap ‘forecourt finance’ deals, including 0 per cent loans. Nearly eight in ten of the 1.2 million new cars bought in the 12 months to the end of August were via dealer finance — an increase of 10 per cent compared to a year ago.
The Financial Times
Big Tobacco is no stranger to a fight. In a London courtroom this week, industry lawyers will battle to preserve the last vestige of branding for products that date back to Queen Victoria’s reign. Imperial Tobacco Group Plc and Philip Morris International Inc. are among cigarette producers set to argue at a six-day hearing starting Thursday that the government will infringe their intellectual property rights through rules for so-called plain packaging. The legislation is set to take effect in May, forcing them to sell their cigarettes in austere brown packs, with corporate logos replaced by graphic images of diseases blamed on smoking.
The chancellor’s apprenticeship levy will force companies to cut wages, the government’s independent fiscal watchdog has warned. Speaking to the Treasury select committee yesterday, members of the Office for Budget Responsibility said that the levy was effectively a payroll tax and would result in companies trimming some wages rather than taking a hit to profitability.
A big majority of employers are positive on the new higher minimum wage coming from next April, but most have done little to prepare for its impact. A survey of more than 1,000 employers conducted on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found more than nine in ten (93 per cent) thought the new national living wage was “a good idea”. A similar number said it would help them boost staff productivity, while more than eight in ten said it would boost morale and make staff more loyal. The national living wage is a new minimum wage for over-25s, which is being phased-in from next April. It will initially be set around £7.20 an hour, but will rise each year towards a target of 60 per cent of median earnings by the end of this parliament, which should be well in excess of £9.
The Daily Telegraph
Volkswagen has been suspended from the index of socially responsible investments after it was found to have cheated on emissions tests. FTSE Russell, the London Stock Exchange’s index provider, has removed the German carmaker from its FTSE4Good list and barred its re-entry for at least two years. “The company is deemed to have misled government agencies and consumers over vehicle emissions through the application of software designed to circumvent test requirements,” FTSE Russell said. The index maker said its decision was based on an assessment of the significance of the crisis, how Volkswagen responded and the extent to which the controversy impacts the wider industry.
Petrol could drop below £1 a litre, the RAC has said, predicting that the tumbling oil price will bring significant discounts on forecourts in time for Christmas. The RAC said there should be a 3p drop for petrol and 5p for diesel. This would take average prices to around 103p for petrol and 104p for diesel, but experts predicted prices would be lower at many forecourts. RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “We expect Britain’s supermarkets and cheapest fuel retailers to be selling petrol at £1 a litre or less in time for Christmas.
“These retailers consistently tend to be 3p to 5p a litre cheaper than the UK average price. We are still some way off the average price of unleaded reaching the £1 a litre mark but this will be a big step in the right direction.”
Tesco and Asda announced on Tuesday that they had cut petrol and diesel prices by 2p a litre, while Sainsbury’s said it would reduce its prices by “up to 2p”.
The Daily Express
MPS have rejected a move to lower the voting age to 16 for the forthcoming in-or-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership. They overturned a recent decision by the House of Lords that would have given the franchise to hundreds of thousands of teenagers for the historic poll on the country’s European future promised by David Cameron.
In the vote, MPs rejected a Lords amendment to the European Union Referendum Bill which would have lowered the voting age by 303 to 253, a majority of 50.