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Motability boss’s pay ‘unacceptable’ say MP committees
The £1.7m salary paid to the chief executive of the firm which runs the Motability disabled car scheme is “totally unacceptable,” say MPs. The remuneration package of Mike Betts has grown by 78% from £954,000 in 2008. Motability said Mr Bett’s pay was based on a comparison with FTSE 250 firms. The Treasury and Work & Pensions committees found funds of £2.4bn were also being needlessly hoarded. The National Audit Office would look into the issues raised, the government said. “The Secretary of State has stated that Motability provides an extremely valuable service to disabled people but the levels of executive pay and financial reserves are concerning,” a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions added. The Motability scheme arranges cars for disabled people in exchange for some of their state disability allowance – their Personal Independence Payment benefit. Motability Operations – the firm which runs the scheme – is a monopoly which faces no competition.
UK’s clean car goal ‘not ambitious enough’
The government’s ambition to clean up motor vehicles by 2040 is not ambitious enough, a leading energy expert says. Professor Jim Watson, head of the prestigious UK Energy Research Centre, said the target should be at least five years earlier, as in Scotland. The government is currently considering obliging new cars to run on electricity for at least 50 miles by 2040. The government said it would not discuss the issue before it had published its policy which is due soon. But ministers are facing competing pressures on the issue. Some UK car firms are telling ministers their proposed targets are unachievable, while others say the targets can easily be reached.
Britain will face crisis in recruitment, warn City UK and EEF
Two leading business lobby groups have urged the government to reform immigration rules amid growing fears that Britain will lose its competitive edge after Brexit. The demands increase calls from industry bodies for clarification about how immigration policy should be shaped. The City UK, which lobbies for financial and professional services firms, and EEF, an organisation representing manufacturers, have warned Theresa May that Britain’s key industries face a “recruitment crunch” after Britain leaves the European Union. Both groups believe that Brexit will restrict their access to skilled workers from European countries and will deter non-European citizens from applying to work in the UK.
New MOT test rules could result in more road accidents, experts warn
The new MOT exemption for classic cars more than 40 years old could result in more road accidents, experts have warned. Rule changes coming into force today mean that an estimated 300,000 extra vehicles no longer require the annual roadworthiness test. These include popular ‘old bangers’ from the 1970s such as the Ford Cortina, Austin Allegro and the Hillman Avenger. The government has justified the changes on the basis that older cars “are usually maintained in good condition” and are driven rarely and on shorter trips. However, a consultation of more than 2,000 motorists – many of them classic car owners – found that more than 55 per cent were opposed to the new rule. They claimed that older vehicles were made to lower design standards and corrode more easily and that some owners do not keep their cars in good condition.
Classic car owners warned they risk fines as thousands no longer need annual MOT
Classic car owners are at risk of fines, experts have warned, as new MOT rules mean thousands are exempt from the annual test and could overlook problems. Changes which came into force today for cars in England, Scotland and Wales will make it harder for polluting vehicles to pass the test. But the government has also exempted nearly 300,000 cars over 40 years old from MOT testing completely. The change will affect iconic vehicles like E-type Jaguars as well as less well-loved cars including early models of the Austin Allegro and Lada VAZ. Experts are concerned drivers could be caught out if they think they have carte blanche.
ATM rates row goes to appeal court
Supermarkets could be owed as much as £300m because of an ongoing legal wrangle about the business rates paid for cash machines, which threatens to heap additional financial pressure on the struggling industry. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is responsible for administering business rates, issues an initial bill which retailers then check against the size of their shops, often resulting in a refund. But these claims have been put on hold while a case about whether ATMs are part of supermarkets or not is fought through the courts. The Court of Appeal will hear the latest stage of the case later this month. The VOA is arguing that ATMs located both outside and within a shop should be assessed separately for additional business rates, and that retailers should pay the business rates taxes on them in addition to their normal store rates.