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Pensions: Automatic saving to start at 18 under new plans
Every worker aged 18 or over will begin saving into a workplace pension unless they opt out, under government plans to extend its automatic enrolment scheme. At present, the scheme means employers must enrol staff aged 22 and over and earning above £10,000 into a pension. Ministers hope to reduce the minimum age to 18 in the mid-2020s, and say it will affect about 900,000 young people. The system has been credited with ensuring more prepare for older age, but it means extra costs for employers. It has been introduced gradually since October 2012.
Ministers meet to thrash out Brexit end deal
Theresa May and her senior ministers are to formally discuss for the first time what the UK’s long-term relationship with the EU should be. The EU has agreed that Brexit negotiations can now move on to discussing the UK and the EU’s future relationship. Until now they have only been discussing “divorce” issues like how much money the UK owes. Not everyone agrees how closely aligned the UK should stay to EU trade rules.
Car leasing groups switch focus to used vehicles
Auto-leasing companies, which have been the engine behind a surge in new car sales in the UK in recent years, are shifting into the second-hand market as they try to take advantage of a glut of used vehicles. Growth in the new car market has been boosted by car-leasing deals, which provide finance for about three-quarters of new car sales in the UK, but industry experts are worried that used vehicles will flood the market when long-term leases come to an end. Arval, LeasePlan and Lex Autolease are among the biggest companies that buy new cars from manufacturers and provide capital for personal contract hires, which are long-term rental contracts.
Car bursts into flames after driver puts petrol in the wrong hole
A driver’s ‘Smart’ car burst into flames on a filling station forecourt after she put petrol into the wrong hole. Julie Nicklin, 54, was trapped inside her vehicle as it became a fireball when she mistakenly poured the fuel into the car’s interior through a detachable cap on one side of the car – not the one containing its fuel tank. The mother-of-two ignited the fuel as she turned the ignition key. The 2005 Fortwo Pulse instantly exploded and trapped her inside, while it caused other motorists on the forecourt to run for cover.
Driver pass rates ‘could explain rural road deaths’
Learner drivers in the west of Ireland are more likely to pass their driving test and this may help to explain the higher numbers of deaths on rural roads, a study has revealed. A Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport review of the Irish driver testing service found consistently above-average pass rates in the west of the country since 2010. The study showed significant increases in success rates at test centres in the west, northwest and southwest compared with those in the three eastern regions covering Leinster, Tipperary and Waterford. None of 18 test centres in the west and northwest had pass rates below the national average of 54 per cent in 2015. Only two of the nine centres in the southwest — Cork and Shannon — had below-average pass rates. The report expressed concern that the findings could indicate a correlation between test success and road safety, given the higher number of deaths on rural roads.
Road deaths and accidents increase after speed limits cut
More deaths have been recorded in new 20mph zones in Somerset than before the speed limit was lowered. Bath and North East Somerset council said that it could not afford to reverse the speed limit change, which cost £871,000 to bring in on 13 new zones a year ago, even though the rate of people being killed or seriously injured had gone up in seven zones. The council said that the findings were part of a national trend and suggested that people were “less diligent” when walking and crossing roads in the zones because they thought they were safer. Residents accused the council of not being prepared to find the money to stop people being hurt or killed.
RAC warns drivers against end of week getaway to avoid Christmas traffic
Motorists are advised to avoid making their festive getaway on Friday because of a potentially chaotic combination of people driving home for Christmas, shoppers and last-day commuters on the roads. The RAC says there will be up to 1.25 million leisure journeys on top of people driving for work on 22 December. Last year’s peak was at about 5pm on the Friday before Christmas (22 December), when there were more than 300 traffic jams, according to the transportation analytics company Inrix. There are fears there could be similar buildups this year, on what the RAC has dubbed “frantic Friday”.
Find out if your car is a target for thieves – experts advise taking care if it’s on this list
Drivers have been warned which cars are the biggest targets for thieves who are using modern technology such as relay boxes. The list of cars comes as sales of old-fashioned steering locks, which act as a visible deterrent to thieves, are increasing. Research by the German Automotive Club revealed the most likely models of major manufacturers to be stolen in the UK. It comes as West Midlands Police issued pictures of one of the first “relay crimes” to be caught on camera – where thieves can steal a car using relay boxes without needing keys. If your car appears on the list below, experts have advised taking extra care.
The list of most at risk cars: