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UK retail sales volumes rose in April were 1.3% higher in the month compared with March and 4.3% higher than a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The ONS significantly revised March’s retail sales figures, showing retail sales fell by just 0.5% rather than 1.3%, as first estimated.
More than 234,000 Vauxhall Zafiras have been recalled for a second time over an engine problem that has caused some cars to burst into flames. Vauxhall said it was taking “preventative action” after originally recalling the Zafira B in December. In November, the London Fire Brigade said it had attended 71 fires in Zafiras – not including arson attacks – since 2013, compared with just 38 in the previous four years.
The Daily Mirror
The Financial Times
The number of EU nationals working in the UK climbed to a record 2.1m. they now make up 6.8% of the workforce, up from 4.8 per cent three years ago and 2.6 per cent a decade ago. The number of EU workers was 224,000 than a year ago. The employment rate hit a record 74.2 per cent and unemployment held steady at 5.1 per cent, the lowest since before the recession.
Driverless cars could become a standard feature of motor insurance policies under measures announced yesterday. The British government is keen to encourage driverless cars as a way to cutting congestion, boosting the economy and improving safety. Insurance is a potential problem, the modern transportation bill will extend compulsory cover to accidents where the car itself, rather than the driver is at fault.
Volkswagen has conceded that its pay policy for top executives “requires change” as pressure mounts from shareholders for an overhaul of the German carmaker’s corporate governance following the emissions scandal. The decision of VW’s supervisory executive to pay 12 current and former executives a total of €63.2m was strongly criticised by investors. The news strategy will be unveiled this summer.
Some of the world’s biggest oil companies, such as Chevron, ConocoPhilips and Statoil, have secured licenses to drill for oil off the coast of Norway, as they are targeting new resources to make up for losses elsewhere. Tord Lien, Norway’s energy minister, said: “The Barents Sea offers great new opportunities. The potential is huge”.
The Daily Telegraph
One of the Bank of England’s most senior officials, Andy Haldane, admitted that pensions are so complex even he cannot make “the remotest sense of them”. The main issue as claimed by several reports is that both personal and workplace pensions seem to be too confusing. Six in ten people do not feel they know enough about pensions to decide how to save.
Britain’s small businesses are spending an estimated 33 hours a month on business administration a Federation of Small Businesses report reveals. The FSB has criticised the Government for failing to make good on its promise to reduce the burden of administration on smaller companies. According to the FSB research more than half of the 1,685 small businesses polled said that their company’s growth was held back by the burden of red tape.
In spite of the record high in the first quarter, experts said modest jobs growth and a steady unemployment rate suggested the market could be ‘cooling off’. Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose by 2 per cent in the quarter to March compared with a year earlier. Regular pay without bonuses rose 2.1 per cent in the quarter to March, down from 2.2 per cent in February.
The president of Mitsubishi Motors is to step down to take responsibility for the Japanese carmaker’s test-fixing scandal. The scandal that has engulfed Mitsubishi has widened, as fellow Japanese carmaker Suzuki said it had found discrepancies in its fuel economy testing. Suzuki shares went down 15% at one stage on Wednesday and they closed 9.4% lower. One month ago Mitsubishi admitted using fuel-economy testing methods that breached Japanese regulations for 25 years.