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Pound’s strong run continues with push above $1.43
The pound has continued its recent strong run against the dollar pushing firmly above $1.43. It is the seventh session in a row that the pound has made gains against the US currency. The strong run means that, among the G10 group of rich nations, the UK has the best-performing currency this year. Traders say the prospect of higher UK interest rates has made the pound more attractive while the dollar has been hit by fears of trade disputes. The pound started the week with a gain of almost a cent to $1.4323, while against the euro it was 0.2% higher at €1.1569. Following the vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 the pound sank, hitting $1.2068 in January of last year.
Wage growth fails to overtake inflation again
Wages in the three months to February were unchanged from the three months to January, official figures show. Average earnings increased by 2.8%, which was weaker than forecast but still the highest since September 2015. The ONS said when wages are compared with their new measure of inflation which includes housing costs (CPIH), average weekly earnings increased by 0.2% compared with a year earlier. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was around 2.9%.
Police use unmarked HGV to catch dangerous drivers
Police forces in Wales are using an unmarked HGV to catch dangerous drivers. The Operation Tramline lorry started being used in England three years ago and will now also tour Wales. The speed of the police HGV is not limited and it has also been fitted with flashing lights. Police say being higher up in a truck cab gives officers a “different perspective” to spot and record video of potentially dangerous drivers.
Brexit: Welsh Government continuity bill referred to Supreme Court
The UK Government has confirmed that it will refer the Welsh Government’s Brexit law to the highest court in the country. Judges in the Supreme Court will decide if the Continuity Bill can become law. It was passed by AMs in March to hand Welsh ministers EU powers in devolved areas after Brexit. Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has said that the action was aimed at giving legal clarity and was not a challenge to the Welsh Government’s authority. Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government would defend its bill “to the full”.
Britain’s electric car aspirations lag way behind Asia’s headstart
Industrial strategy is back on the UK political agenda: a House of Commons debate is scheduled for Wednesday, almost exactly a year after business secretary Greg Clark announced the first six technologies to be supported by the government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. One of those technologies is batteries and Mr Clark has put in place a £246m support programme for the sector, with the main focus on batteries for electric cars. Part of the government’s motivation is to ensure that the British motor industry is not damaged as it makes the transition to electric cars. Last week’s announcement of job losses at Jaguar Land Rover, caused by the collapse in diesel car sales, was a reminder of the industry’s dependence on old technologies. Concern over the future of the car industry is understandable, but there are some questions about the battery programme that should be aired this week, relating not just to batteries but to the industrial strategy as a whole.
Vauxhall to ‘terminate’ entire dealership network as sales plunge
Vauxhall is terminating the contracts of all its 326 dealerships in Britain as the company battles to deal with plunging sales and a changing market. The marque is ending all dealer contracts in the UK – a move also happening with sister brand Opel across Europe – as the entire sales network is reorganised. Some 1600 dealers across the pan-European network will be given two years’ notice from April 30 that the manufacturer is ending its relationship with them, and proposing a new contract with about two thirds of them. About 12,000 staff are employed in franchisees’ UK dealerships but Stephen Norman, Vauxhall’s UK boss, insisted that staff would not lose their jobs as a “direct result” of Vauxhall’s decision to refranchise the network.
It could soon be impossible to get away with using your phone while driving
NEW traffic cameras could soon be installed in the UK which could automatically catch and fine drivers using their mobile shown while behind the wheel of their car without them even knowing. Drivers in the Britain can land £200 fines and six penalty points for offences. New traffic cameras which automatically catch out drivers using their phone while driving could make their way to the UK. New technology that is due to hit motorways in Australia before 2021 and could make its way to the UK, could radically clamp down on offences. Currently the burden of catching motorists out is down to police officers in cars and on foot. Technology in the UK is not yet sophisticated enough to be able to detect motorists using their phones.