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Chancellor George Osborne has vowed to create a “more outward-looking, global-facing Britain” following the UK vote to leave the European Union. Even closer economic ties between the UK and US are in the “overwhelming interest of both countries”, he has written in the Wall Street Journal. Although the UK is leaving the EU, “we are not quitting the world”, he said. He is due to travel to New York, Singapore and China for talks with major investors in the coming weeks. The UK is the largest trading partner in Europe for the United States, and in turn the US is the largest single destination for UK exports. UK exports to the US totalled £88bn in 2014 – about 17% of total UK exports – and last year the UK was the US’s sixth largest trading partner.
Consumers are bearing the extra cost of living wage
The additional costs of the new National Living Wage have been mainly been passed on to customers in higher prices or absorbed in lower company profits, rather than resulting in job cuts, according to new research. A survey of 500 businesses found that the most common responses by employers so far had been to raise prices or accept lower profits. Just over a third of affected employers said they had raised prices, while a further 29 per cent said they had taken lower profits. Only 14 per cent said they had reacted by using fewer workers or cutting the hours offered to staff, while 8 per cent said they had cut other aspects of remuneration, such as overtime pay.
Cab clocking puts passengers at risk
Customers of Uber and other taxi operators are being put at risk because of an “epidemic” of clocking, with hundreds of millions of miles removed from minicab odometers. Road safety experts say that clocked taxis pose a serious risk to the travelling public. The practice, revealed by an investigation, occurs as drivers look to save on maintenance costs and apparently defraud second-hand car buyers. Nick Lloyd, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “To ensure safe and reliable motoring, manufacturers set very specific mileage service intervals. The high mileage of taxis means it is vital they are serviced to the manufacturer’s schedule to ensure the safety of the vehicle. Any clocking can place the driver, passenger and other road users’ lives at risk.” An investigation by LicensedTransportUncovered.com (LTU) found hundreds of taxis in the northwest of England operating with clocked mileage. Some vehicles went to dealers and were offered for sale at inflated prices.
The UK economy is already showing early signs of stress in the wake of the Brexit vote with a consumer spending and productivity index slipping to multi-year lows last month. Business activity in the second quarter of the year fell to three-year lows, according to Lloyds Bank’s tracker for manufacturing and services, with London emerging as a key casualty of the political and economic uncertainty caused by the referendum. Lloyds said that for the first time since 2012, London saw a decline in growth, causing the capital to tumble down the index to its lowest reading since 2009.
Bank of England considers interest rate cut to tackle Brexit crisis
The Bank of England will consider the first interest rate cut for more than seven years this week, as it seeks to contain the economic fallout from the Brexit vote. Some City economists predict that with consumer confidence battered and businesses nervous about spending and hiring, the Bank will want to shore up sentiment by reducing interest rates further from a record low of 0.5%. The Bank’s governor Mark Carney has dropped heavy hints of a summer rate cut but he and fellow rate setters may want to see more evidence of the Brexit vote’s impact before acting. The nine-member monetary policy committee will announce its decision on Thursday at midday and experts say it has a range of options – including doing nothing for now.
Fuel-powered cars may soon be a thing of the past, according to Sir Richard Branson, who has suggested that within 15 years “every car on the road will be electric”. Speaking at the London ePrix in Battersea Park, part of the 2015-2016 Formula E motorsport series, the Virgin boss detailed what he believes will be a bright future for electric vehicles. The FIA Formula E Championship is a class of auto racing introduced in 2014 that uses only electric-powered cars and it is hoped the event will help propel and improve electric vehicle technology.
Food fuel sales
Shoppers are increasingly heading to the petrol station when they need to top up on groceries or grab a coffee. Forecourt sales now stand at £4billion a year, excluding petrol, according to a report by the Association of Convenience Stores.