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The recent record-breaking run for the UK’s FTSE 100 share index showed no signs of ending, as the index opened higher. After closing at a record high of 7,210.05 on Friday, the FTSE 100 rose a further 19.47 points to 7,229.52. Mining shares were among the biggest gainers, with Anglo American up 2.5% and Glencore 2% higher. In monthly terms, house prices jumped by 1.7 percent in December, the strongest increase since March.
BMW has told the BBC that it is “absolutely” committed to a new plant in Mexico despite Donald Trump’s hostility to imported cars. The president-elect has threatened to impose a “border” tax on firms that make cars in Mexico for the US market. BMW is spending $1bn on a plant in Mexico, while other firms are investing in the US or moving production back. On Sunday Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a $1bn (£816m) plan to produce three Jeep models in the US.
British law firm Harcus Sinclair UK said on Monday it was launching legal action in Britain against German carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), seeking compensation for British drivers affected by the diesel emissions scandal. The German carmaker is involved in lawsuits in several countries and is racing to resolve criminal and civil allegations with the United States’ Department of Justice after it said it cheated diesel emissions tests. In Britain, Europe’s second biggest autos market, 1.2 million cars are affected and the law firm, which is being supported by Slater and Gordon, said it would take its case to the High Court and seek compensation for consumers.
UK house price growth picks up speed again – Halifax
Growth in British house prices picked up speed for the second month in a row in December and a shortage of homes on the market is expected to support prices in 2017, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday. In the three months to December, house prices were 6.5 percent higher compared with the same period a year earlier, up from growth of 6.0 percent in the three months to November, Halifax said.
UK taxpayers are facing a £24bn bill for decommissioning oil and gasfields in the North Sea — threatening to wipe out remaining tax revenues from an industry that has been among the Treasury’s most reliable cash cows for the past four decades. The projections, based on analysis of the latest industry plans for plugging wells and dismantling platforms and pipelines, is 50 per cent higher than the official Treasury forecast for a public liability of £16bn. Oil companies are forecast to spend £53bn from 2017 winding down North Sea operations and almost half is expected to be recouped from the Treasury through tax relief, according to Wood Mackenzie, the energy research group that conducted the analysis.
London property downturn sees Berkeley target Birmingham
Luxury London housebuilder Berkeley Group is looking to the English provinces as a source of future growth as the market for high-end properties in the capital undergoes a downturn. It has opened a new division in Birmingham — its first venture outside London and the south-east in more than a decade — as the Brexit vote and tougher property taxes cool prices of luxury London homes. The new division is a departure from the group’s strategy since 2005 of focusing purely on London and the south-east.
As an important milestone looms on the road to driverless cars, many auto industry executives are worried the technology is still not good enough to pass it. Futuristic concept cars and space-age interiors that are still years from reality provided much of the glitz at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But the much nearer term move to hands-off-the-wheel driving is already focusing the minds of the industry’s leaders. “There are still some problems to be solved,” said Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan and Renault, a sceptic about whether driverless technology is up to the task.
Theresa May to shift focus away from Cameron’s ‘Big Society’
Theresa May will on Monday attempt to break from David Cameron’s “Big Society” by promising to shift the government’s focus from the very poorest to struggling working families, vowing to use “the power of government” to achieve her aims. Mrs May wants to show that she has a political purpose beyond Brexit and will launch a series of domestic initiatives.
UK regulators are concerned that banks may fail to meet a 2019 deadline for separating retail money from riskier investment banking activity, under rules aimed at preventing a re-run of the financial crisis. The Prudential Regulation Authority, part of the Bank of England, has written to banks’ senior management to gain assurance that their plans to comply with so-called ringfencing rules can be achieved by the deadline, according to two people familiar with the process.
Drivers will waste an extra 12 hours a year on average in traffic delays by 2030 because of the rapidly rising population, a study has concluded. Extra delays caused by an additional 5.5 million people will cost the average household £600 a year in lost working time, additional fuel and the higher cost of delivering goods. The overall annual cost to England’s economy of the extra congestion will be £9 billion, according to the report by Population Matters, a charity that campaigns to reduce the environmental impact of population growth.
State press regulator ‘has major flaws’
The new press regulator Impress has no guaranteed funding and does not represent enough newspapers, the media industry will argue this week as it mounts a legal challenge. The News Media Association (NMA), which represents hundreds of newspapers and magazines, will lodge a judicial review against the decision by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP) to approve Impress as a regulator last November. The move could delay any decision on press regulation for months.
Drivers will be fined automatically if litter is thrown from their vehicle even if a passenger is to blame, under government plans to clean up roads. Fines for littering could also rise from £75 to £125 in England under a new strategy being drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Ministers want litter thrown from cars to be treated in the same way as speeding, with the registered keeper held responsible unless someone else comes forward to admit the offence.
The prime Minister has given her clearest signal yet that Britain will leave the single market when it departs from the European Union. Theresa May said she was not interested in keeping “bits of membership of the EU” and indicated that regaining control of immigration policy in the Brexit negotiations would be a priority.
M&S boosted by Christmas clothing sales guardian
Marks & Spencer is expected to defy the high street gloom by announcing its first increase in clothing sales in Christmas for six years. Supermarkets Morrissons and Tesco are expected to have weathered the storm but groups exposed to a tough clothing market and a steep decline in high street shoppers have suffered.
British companies are grappling with higher costs and bracing for further pressure in the months ahead as the start of Brexit talks threatens to drag the pound down further and ramp up the price of imports to the UK. Reports from the manufacturing and construction sectors on Mondaypoint to a sharp rise in the prices paid for materials by firms in Britain and worries that their profit margins will be squeezed as they decide how much of those higher costs they can pass on to customers. A research by the Federation of Master Builders found 70% of the 232 UK construction companies it polled had recorded an increase in material prices owing to the pound’s fall since the Brexit vote.
Diesel technology is set to be a thing of the past, UK car industry executives believe. The plan is to invest in the technology needed for battery electricals vehicles over the next five years, according to 93 per cent of executives while 62 per cent felt that diesel is losing importance for manufacturers.
Online retail booms as high street struggles
The internet is fast becoming the destination of choice for shoppers, heaping pressure on traditional bricks and mortar retailers who are struggling to keep up with their online-only rivals, analysts have warned ahead of week in which a string of some of the UK’s most prominent shops will report crucial Christmas trading figures. Sales growth at online-only fashion seller Boohoo is expected to total nearly 40pc in the four months to the end of December, while City analysts have pencilled in an increase of more than a quarter at Asos, as more consumers turned to the internet, and away from the high street, for their Christmas shopping. High street footfall continued to disappoint over the holiday season, falling 7pc on Boxing day and 6pc in the two days before Christmas, with shopping malls the worst affected, according to HSBC.
Jaguar Land Rover cars smashed through the half a million sales barrier for the first time last year, fuelled by surging demand for the new Jaguar F-Pace 4X4. Transactions jumped by a fifth to 583,313 in 2016, equivalent to more than one vehicle a minute, as the Warwickshire car-maker enjoyed its best period since falling under the ownership of Tata. Jaguar Land Rover has enjoyed seven successive years of growth since being bought by the Indian conglomerate in 2008. Tata has set an annual sales target of one million cars.