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Queen’s Speech 2017: May promises ‘humility’
Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to work with “humility and resolve” as the government prepares to outline its legislative programme later. Brexit is expected to dominate the Queen’s Speech, which will cover a two-year period instead of one. It is also expected to include measures on domestic violence and car insurance.
The Conservatives are still trying to agree terms with the Democratic Unionists to secure their support for Mrs May’s minority government. It means some manifesto pledges are likely to be scaled back or scrapped.
Ford to move US production of Focus to China
Ford is to move US production of its new Ford Focus car to China in 2019, despite having faced pressure to keep manufacturing jobs in America. The carmaker said the decision would not lead to layoffs in the US. But the move marks another change to its plans for producing the new Focus. The firm in January scrapped plans to move US production to a new $1.6bn (£1.3bn) plant in Mexico after criticism from Donald Trump. Currently, Ford makes its Focus cars in Michigan, Germany and in China.
Bank of England governor says it’s too early to raise interest rates
Mark Carney has outlined his opposition to a rise in interest rates as pressure for an increase builds at the Bank of England. The Bank’s governor told a City audience “now is not yet the time” to raise borrowing costs to combat Brexit-linked inflationary pressures. His main concern was the potential impact on business sentiment and consumers, as wage growth lags the pace of price increases – driven up by higher import costs since the collapse in sterling’s value after last year’s EU referendum.
Empty stores rise as retailers focus on prime sites
UK retailers are becoming concentrated in fewer, “prime” locations as online shopping saps demand for premises and the number of empty shops rises. A study by estate agency Colliers has found that rents for the top tier of retail property rose 1.8 per cent in the year to April, the biggest increase since 2008. But it also found that the proportion of all shops that have been empty for more than two years had risen by a fifth, to about one in 28. For the first time since 2012, the percentage of the country’s top 420 shopping areas where rents are falling increased — from 5 to 12 per cent.
More motorists over 65 flouting drink-drive law
More over-65s are getting caught drink-driving while the number of teenage motorists convicted of the crime is falling. The anti-drink-drive message appears to have got through to the younger generation while older motorists appear resistant. Bad habits built up over years — including a belief that they can still drive when inebriated — are thought to be behind the high number of convictions among the older age group. Ten years ago, for every motorist aged over 65 found guilty of drink-driving five teenagers were convicted. In the latest figures the numbers are almost equal.
Drivers in London face first pay-as-you-go road charge
Britain’s first pay-per-mile road charging system could be introduced under radical plans to cut the number of car journeys on the country’s busiest roads. A wide-ranging strategy to be outlined by the London mayor today will consider charging vehicles based on distance travelled in the capital, to push people on to public transport. The plan is also likely to include even higher charges for the most polluting vehicles to encourage a rapid shift towards zero-emission cars. It would be the first pay-as-you-go road pricing system in the UK and represents a significant step for transport policy. It could replace the existing £11.50 congestion charge, which is a single flat rate fee for entering central London irrespective of time spent or miles travelled.
Gritters deployed as Britain’s roads melt in heatwave
Gritters were deployed to shore up failing roads as temperatures on the surface reached 104F (40C), causing them to melt. Cambridgeshire County Council took the decision to deploy the vehicles after motorists complained that their tyres had started ‘ripping the tarmac off the roads.’