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UK inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 0.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). A sharp increase in air fares, due to the earlier timing of Easter, was the main reason behind the rise from February’s rate of 0.3%, the ONS said. Inflation is now at its highest level since December 2014, but it remains below the Bank of England’s 2% target. The Bank has said that it expects inflation to stay below 1% this year.
Government leaflets promoting EU membership are an “insult” to voters and will persuade more people to vote to leave, say pro-exit Tory MPs. Ex-Tory ministers John Redwood and Owen Paterson accused ministers of misusing £9m in public money to fund booklets. But Europe minister David Lidington said the government had a duty to set out its position and give voters the “facts” ahead of the vote on 23 June. The government’s leaflets are being sent to every home in the UK.
Road workers will be issued with police-style body cameras after receiving abusive threats from motorists. Labourers working on a £1.3 million cycle lane near Wivenhoe in Essex have faced rising levels of violence from drivers, including one who brandished a knuckleduster. Motorists appear to have grown increasingly frustrated after being given a 5.7-mile diversion for months while the road is upgraded. To protect the workers, the council has handed out body cameras. It is hoped that the small devices worn on the chest will act as a deterrent, with signs warning drivers that CCTV is installed in the area.
Volkswagen is hoping to return to the bond market as early as May, people familiar with the matter said, aiming to raise billions of euros to replace the costly bank loan it has been relying on in the wake of its emissions test cheating scandal. Europe’s biggest carmaker has been effectively shut out of the unsecured bond market since September, when it admitted to rigging U.S. diesel emissions tests. With the publication of its annual results on April 28, however, Volkswagen (VW) hopes to provide some clarity on costs.
The Daily Telegraph
Consumer spending growth slowed to just 1.6 per cent in March, its lowest level in two years, as consumers reined in purchases in nearly all categories. The figure marked the third successive month of a spending slump and dragged down overall growth for the first three months of the year to 2.8 per cent – the worst performance in seven quarters.
According to the latest data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, women’s clothing spend fell 1.2 per cent in March and family clothing flatlined at 0 per cent, as a wet and windy start to the month discouraged shoppers from updating their wardrobes for spring.
The Daily Express
Diesel motorists were forced to pay MORE for fuel than petrol drivers, even though wholesale costs were actually less in recent weeks, FairFuelUK found. Retail prices have been marked up from wholesale prices at a rate that is double the increase on petrol, according to the campaign group. At the end of last week, diesel at the pump was on average 10.45p a litre more expensive than wholesale costs, whereas petrol prices were only 5.86p more costly. Some retailers were found to be hiking diesel prices by as much as 12p a litre above wholesale costs.
The impact of paying workers the new Government calculated rate could close the country’s last local stores, who are already feeling the squeeze from competitive supermarkets and online competition. The warning has come from a trade magazine which found 46 per cent of retailers polled are worried about the new wage which came into force on April 1. It has pushed up pay for over-25s to £7.20 an hour – an increase of seven per cent on the current national minimum wage.
Ford has announced that it has tested an autonomous car on desert roads in the US that needed no headlights to make its way at night.