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Ministers to launch UK’s post-Brexit economy plan
The government’s plan to boost UK industry ahead of the country leaving the EU is due to be launched later.
The industrial strategy is aimed at lifting growth, which official forecasts suggest will slow due to the UK’s poor productivity performance. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the UK’s decision to leave the EU meant the strategy was “even more important”. A deal with US healthcare giant MSD to open a UK research centre has been announced as part of the strategy.
Councils make £819m from parking charges, says RAC study
English councils generated £819m from parking fees and fines in 2016-17, an increase of 10% on the previous year, a study has suggested. This figure represents income from parking charges and penalty notices with running costs deducted. The RAC Foundation, which carried out the research, said motorists should ask how their council spends the cash. The Local Government Association said parking charge surpluses were spent on “essential transport projects”. Income collected by the 353 English local authorities was up 6% and costs rose 2% compared with 2015-16, when the surplus was £744m. Many of the highest totals were seen in London, with the largest in Westminster, which had a surplus of £73.2m.
Citizens Advice warns about subscription contracts
Many consumers still struggle to get out of unwanted subscriptions such as gym memberships and online streaming services, according to Citizens Advice. Analysis of almost 600 problems reported to the service found that in just three months consumers paid an average of £160 on unwanted services. Sometimes, consumers misunderstood terms and conditions, while some companies made cancellation difficult. The head of the consumer group, Gillian Guy, said firms must “act responsibly”.
Shell to work with carmakers on electric vehicle charging
Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will work with some of the world’s biggest carmakers to offer high-speed charging points for electric vehicles in 10 European countries. The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas group will partner with a charging network operator called Ionity, backed by Ford, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, to provide EV chargers at 80 of its biggest roadside filling stations. The deal is the latest in a series of steps by Shell to find ways of making money from the rise of EVs, in the face of the long-term threat they pose to demand for oil.
Electric cars hampered by fear of charge-point clutter
Councils have been accused of thwarting the shift towards electric cars by refusing to allow roadside chargers to be installed over concerns that they will “clutter” the street. Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, said there had been opposition to the installation of electric charge points in some areas after complaints by residents. He called for tougher planning laws to give charging operators the power to place devices in the street without seeking permission from councils.
Motorists targeted by ‘ghost broker’ insurance fraud
Gardai suspect that hundreds of Irish motorists may be driving without proper insurance after purchasing policies through fraudulent brokers. The fraudsters arranged cheap insurance policies from big companies by providing them with false information. Detectives believe fraudsters, referred to by the industry as ghost brokers, have sold vast quantities of fake policy documents designed to look as if they have been issued by legitimate insurance companies. In other cases, ghost brokers have obtained cheap insurance cover for customers by supplying underwriters with fake no-claims bonuses and false information on insured parties. Aviva has identified 400 policies that it issued to brokers whom it now suspects of involvement in serious fraud.
CBI survey finds optimism is low in consumer services sector
Optimism among companies in the dominant consumer services sector is falling as sales slide and costs jump sharply, the CBI has warned. The business lobby group said that morale in consumer services, which include hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure, had deteriorated for the second quarter in a row to its lowest level since November 2011. While a third of companies surveyed said that they were less optimistic about the business situation than they had been three months earlier, only 11 per cent were more positive about their prospects — a balance of -21 per cent.
When will driverless cars arrive in the UK, are they safe and how do the self-driving vehicles work?
Driverless cars could allow us to read, watch films, and relax as we are ferried to our destination. Here, we take a look at self-driving vehicles and examine how they work and when they will arrive in the UK. The Modern Transport Bill outlines steps that are being taken to ensure the UK is at the forefront of driverless car technology.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed in January that the cars would soon be tested on Britain’s roads.
And in April it was announced that 100 plucky motorists will take a prototype driverless car on a test run around a two-mile circuit over three weeks near London’s O2 Arena. It has now emerged that driverless lorries could also soon be on Britain’s motorways after ministers announced an £8.1 million fund for trials. The plans will allow computer-controlled vehicles to be driven in a “platoon” just yards apart from each other, which the Government hope will save money and reduce pollution.