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The Financial Times

Councils voice pay and job concerns over apprenticeship drive


The government’s apprenticeship drive will force councils to recruit tens of thousands of trainees each year despite having reduced staff numbers by 40 per cent since 2010, local authority leaders have warned.

All public sector employers have been given an annual target that 2.3 per cent of an employers’ workforce should be apprentices. The Local Government Association, which is demanding an exemption from this obligation, said that to meet it, councils would have to create 33,000 apprenticeships each year.


The Times

Osborne aims to build a way to kickstart the UK economy

George Osborne is to accelerate the spending of billions of pounds on new roads, railways and housing in an effort to keep the economy from stagnating. Better connections between northern cities, including work on the longest road tunnel in Europe, and high-speed trains between Manchester and Leeds account for £300 million of the spending to be announced in the budget tomorrow. The chancellor will also throw the government’s support behind Crossrail 2, promising to legislate for the new north-south line through the capital. London commuters, however, face fare rises as Mr Osborne promises to fund only half of the £160 million development costs.


The Daily Telegraph

George Osborne urged by Cabinet colleague to freeze fuel duty

George Osborne is being urged by a Cabinet colleague to freeze fuel duty in his Budget this week amid concerns that the move would alienating motorists. The Telegraph understands that Robert Halfon, the minister without portfolio who campaigns on behalf of blue-collar Tories, has warned against hiking fuel duty to help balance the books. The Chancellor is considering raising fuel duty in line with inflation for the first time since 2011, adding the equivalent of 0.75p to the cost of a litre of diesel or petrol.

Nearly half a million drivers choose ‘black box’ car insurance – but average premiums still rise

There has been a  40pc increase in “black box” telematics car insurance policies over the past year, figures show.

The insurance policies, which reward careful drivers with lower premiums, now number 455,000, according to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA). The policies are particularly useful for young drivers who tend to be offered higher premiums.


The Guardian

Fired employee says Volkswagen deleted documents about emissions tests

Volkswagen deleted documents and obstructed justice after the US Environmental Protection Agency accused the company of cheating on emissions tests, a former employee alleged in a lawsuit. Daniel Donovan says in a whistleblower case that he was wrongfully fired on 6 December 2015 after refusing to participate in the deletions and reporting them to a supervisor. The lawsuit says the evidence deletion continued for three days after the 18 September allegations from the EPA and despite a hold order from the Justice Department. The accusations came to light on Monday as European investors in Volkswagen filed a multibillion-euro suit against the carmaker for what they see as breaches of its capital markets duty in the emissions scandal.


The Evening Standard

London ‘the world’s most gridlocked city’

London is the worst city in the world for traffic jams, a survey has found. The capital fared worse than more than 100 major cities in new analysis of its road network. A study by traffic analyst INRIX found the average London driver spends 101 hours each year sitting in gridlock. Traffic in London was found to be worse than New York, Paris and Rome.  It is the second year in a row that London was found to be the worst city in the world for traffic.

Driverless cars to be tested on UK motorways in 2017

The government’s latest budget will include new measures and incentives to support the growth of autonomous car technology in the UK. Unveiling the budget on Wednesday, chancellor George Osborne will announce that driverless cars will be tested on UK motorways as soon as next year.

Posted by Lois Hardy on 15/03/2016