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The Financial Times
An increase in fuel duty would hold back Britain’s economic recovery by penalising consumers and industry, motoring groups have said. George Osborne is expected to raise the duty — currently 57.95p a litre on petrol and diesel — in line with inflation. It would be the first increase since 2011 and would add 0.75p to the cost. Although it would raise more than £2bn for the Treasury, motoring groups say it would hit consumers and increase industry’s costs.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “If you can keep tax down, it does mean people have got a little more money in their pockets to spend, and it means industry isn’t spending as much on deliveries to the high street, as 98 per cent of goods are delivered on the road.”
Britain’s apprenticeship system is reinforcing gender inequalities in the workforce by funnelling young women into low-paid sectors, a charity has said. Women account for 94 per cent of childcare apprentices but just under 4 per cent of engineering apprentices, according to government data analysed by the Young Women’s Trust. Male apprentices outnumber their female colleagues by 56 to one in construction and 74 to one in plumbing.
A surge in hybrid and electric cars is driving business in dealerships as owners of alternatively-fuelled vehicles are more anxious about who is maintaining them. Last year more than 72,000 new green cars were sold in Britain and the country is moving to levels at which they will represent one in every 25 new registrations. Research by the National Franchised Dealers Association shows 62 per cent of owners of alternative-fuel vehicles go back to the showroom where they bought the car for servicing. That is significantly ahead of the figures for conventionally-fuelled vehicles: half of their owners go to independent “under-the-arches” garages, while 40 per cent remain loyal to dealerships and the remainder work with chains such as Halfords.
“The need for accurate and knowledgeable servicing around more complex cars and transmission systems is paramount and we expect more consumers [of green cars] to use franchise dealers,” said the association’s director, Sue Robinson.
It could be the vehicle that finally takes the electric car mainstream: on-the-road for less than £10,000 with weekly running costs of a tenner. The danger is that the new Mahindra e2o may get judged for the sins of its predecessor, the much-lampooned G-Wiz. Reports in the international automotive press suggest that Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian industrial giant, is ready to launch its low-cost e2o electric car in the London market in spring.
The number of drivers choosing Big Brother-style technology to reduce their car insurance has soared by 40 per cent in 12 months, figures show. Insurers usually offer to cut premiums for motorists who agree to install telematics systems because they give information about driving habits and make it easier to find out who was to blame in the event of a crash.
The Daily Mail
Insurers have seen a 39 per cent increase the number of drivers opting for black box ‘spy in the cab’ devices to cut premiums. Drivers, particularly the young, can save over £1,000 a year if they are willing to allow their insurer spy on how they drive. The number of live devices on the road rose by 39 per cent in 2015 – 132,000 – to 455,000, according to the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA).
The food and drink industry is facing an “image crisis” which could worsen the skills gap firms are facing, it has been warned. At the start of national apprenticeship week, the sector said it was being “ignored” by young people starting off in a career despite its status in the economy. The industry was facing a generational “time-bomb”, with more than a third of its 400,000 strong workforce due to retire by 2020, including a large number of managers and engineers.