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The government should ignore calls to limit future increases to the national living wage, a think-tank said. The living wage of £7.20 per hour was introduced in April, benefitting more than a million staff aged 25 and over. Some business organisations have been lobbying the government to restrain future increases in the hourly rate. But the Resolution Foundation said that women, the young and older workers were most likely to lose out if future rises are limited.
Ford is to cut the level of investment and will halve the production of its new generation of petrol engines at its factory in Bridgend.
The American car firm said it would reduce from a planned £181m to £100m. It did not plan job losses among the 1,850 workforce and said it still had a “substantial commitment” to the plant. But the Unite union said it was “deeply concerning and must raise serious questions over Ford’s long term commitment to Bridgend”. Production on the engines is due to start in 2018, with plans to build 250,000 new engines.
Volkswagen buys 16.6% stake in US truck company Navistar
Volkswagen has agreed a deal to buy a 16.6% stake in US truck-maker Navistar.
The agreement gives the German car manufacturer a foothold in the US truck market and Navistar a source for new engines for its fleet of vehicles. Volkswagen will pay $15.76 (£11.76) for each of 16.2 million new company shares – 12% above Friday’s closing price. The deal is also creating a joint venture for procurement, which will help Navistar reach synergies of at least $500m (£373m) over five years.
The UK is to begin preliminary talks with Australia about the outline of a future free trade deal between them.
Officials will meet twice a year to discuss the parameters of what both sides said they hoped would be an “ambitious and comprehensive” deal. Australia has been earmarked by the UK as its first post-Brexit trade partner. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and his counterpart Steven Ciobo said they shared a “strong political commitment” to trade liberalisation.
Keith Vaz quits as Home Affairs Committee chairman
Labour MP Keith Vaz has stepped down as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. It follows newspaper claims he paid for the services of two male sex workers. He said: “It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever. I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain chair. ” Another Labour MP will now be elected to replace him, with Conservative MP Tim Loughton taking over as interim chairman. Speaking after Mr Vaz had informed committee colleagues of his intention to resign, Mr Loughton said a new chairman should be in place in October.
Older drivers ‘no more dangerous’ than other motorists
Elderly drivers are no more dangerous behind the wheel than motorists as a whole — and far safer than young men — according to research presented at the British Science Festival in Swansea. More stringent tests to take old drivers off the road will increase ill health and depression among those forced to stop driving, without making the roads any safer, said Charles Musselwhite of Swansea University. The accident death rate per million drivers is twice as high for 75-year-olds as for 45-year-olds — the latter often regarded as the safest age group on the road — and the serious injury rate is 1.5 times as high. But that is because old people are much frailer and therefore likely to die or suffer serious injury in an accident. Data collected by UK police at collision scenes suggest that older people are particularly likely to cause accidents when turning right across traffic, because they fail to see vehicles coming toward them or to judge their speed accurately.
Google is creating sensors that will enable its driverless cars to automatically detect police vehicles in the area, documents have indicated. Self-driving cars will be installed with technology that can identify approaching police cars and trigger an alert so that Google’s vehicles can move out of the way or pull over to be questioned. In a US patent filing, the internet giant has imagined a system that can recognise emergency services’ flashing lights. The sensors would identify red or blue colours, as well as the flashing sequence, to automatically detect police vehicles.
The EU’s ‘never-informed’ car industry commissioner
Antonio Tajani painted a gloomy picture of the effectiveness of the European Commission and its institutional memory.
If everything he said in his testimony given to the European Parliament’s Dieselgate inquiry committee is true, then the EU’s executive branch needs to think hard how it can improve continuity of work whenever a new administration takes place, and whether its internal communication needs a health check. The Italian former EU commissioner for industry (2010-2014) was questioned by MEPs on Monday (5 September). He took pains to say he had no idea that Volkswagen or other carmakers were using cheating software, so-called defeat devices, to pass emission tests.
“I was never informed or given any evidence about the use of defeat devices,” said Tajani. But Tajani was informed about great discrepancies that existed between emissions on the road and those in the labs. Why had the possibility of defeat devices as a cause for those discrepancies never been investigated?
After all, there was already a case in the United States of emissions cheating by trucks in the late 1990s, which caused the EU to adopt stricter rules for trucks.
Robert Bosch GmbH demanded eight years ago that Volkswagen AG indemnify it for using the emissions-cheating defeat device that it helped the automaker create for its diesel engines, U.S. car owners said in a new version of their lawsuit against both companies.
Bosch is accused in the lawsuit of conspiring with VW to develop technology that enabled diesel vehicles to evade pollution-control tests. After seeking legal protection from VW for its use of the device in the U.S., the German auto supplier continued to participate in the conspiracy to hide the cheating from regulators, car owners said in a court filing citing a 2008 letter from Bosch to VW.
“Plaintiffs do not have a full record of what unfolded in response to Bosch’s June 2, 2008, letter,” according to the filing. “However, it is indisputable that Bosch continued to develop and sell to Volkswagen hundreds of thousands of the defeat devices for U.S. vehicles” even after it acknowledged in writing that using the software was illegal in the U.S.