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News Round UpBack

The Financial Times

Driverless cars may lead to more crashes, says UK insurance group

Driverless car technology may give consumers a “false sense of security” that leads to an increase in the number of accidents in the short term, a leading insurance trade body has cautioned. The warning from the Association of British Insurers goes against conventional wisdom in the car industry that self-driving cars will lead to fewer collisions because the cars do not get distracted. James Dalton, an ABI director, said there “is a danger some accidents could be caused by motorists thinking they can stop paying attention to the road before the technology is sufficiently advanced”.

Driverless car technology is being rolled out in stages. UK legislation is planned that will allow cars to drive themselves on motorways in 2018, while full autonomy could be permitted as early as 2021 in the UK and parts of Europe.


The Times

Cars to steer themselves at top speed on motorways

Motorists will be able to take their hands off the steering wheel on motorways for the first time under reforms designed to herald the introduction of fully driverless cars. Changes to international driving laws — due to be published next month — will allow cars to travel for up to three minutes at high speed without drivers touching the wheel.

United Nations regulations on steering, which are due to be implemented from 2018 on British roads, will let cars operate in driverless mode at up to 81mph.  Experts said that the development effectively paved the way for the mass operation


The Guardian

Employers taking ‘drastic steps’ to cope with national living wage

The creation of the National Living Wage was the headline announcement of the budget in July 2015. The chancellor George Osborne set a rate of £7.20 per hour for all workers aged 25 and older, which came into force on April 1, 2016. He also set a target of £9 per hour by 2020. One month on, there are concerns that the National Living Wage may be affecting job creation and employment. Prior to April, the Office of Budget Responsibility predicted that the increase in wage costs to businesses would lead to 60,000 workers losing their jobs and four million fewer working hours per week in the UK. The impact on businesses could also be significant. According to research conducted by insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, just under 60,000 businesses are already in a “dire financial state” and will be “stretched to breaking point” by the living wage. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries are cited as those most affected as they tend to rely on lower paid labour.


The Daily Telegraph

Workers’ rights will be watered down if Britain leaves EU

Workers’ rights will be watered down if Briton’s vote to leave the European Union, a new legal report published by the Trade Union Congress has claimed.  The analysis by the TUC – which represents 52 unions and 5.8 million workers – claims that complete withdrawal from the single market could pave the way for a government “to make sweeping changes to employment law” – including reducing holiday pay and discrimination protections for pregnant workers. Drawing on an analysis by Michael Ford QC, they claim that even if the UK remained in the single market, but outside the EU, rights such as discrimination compensations and protections for agency workers would be at risk.

The Apprenticeship levy sends ‘chilling effect’ through business, BCC warns

Employers are scaling back successful training schemes to cope with the burden of an apprenticeship levy that has sent a “chilling effect” through business, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The business lobby group warned that Britain’s skills shortage could get worse unless the Government clarified the terms of the new scheme as quickly as possible. “Business are telling us that uncertainty around the apprenticeship levy is having an impact on them, both on their profits and on their training offers,” said Adam Marshall, acting director-general of the BCC.

Posted by Lois Hardy on 03/05/2016