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Rate rise chances dim as inflation falls
The chances of an interest rate rise this year have receded after Consumer Price Inflation fell to 2.4% in April – its lowest level since March 2017. The fall from 2.5% in March was partly due to the timing of Easter, which meant a seasonal rise in air fares was not included in April this year. The pound fell about half a cent against the dollar after the figures were released before rising to $1.3368. Analysts now question the prospect of any rate rises this year.
No increase in cycling in Wales despite active travel law
The numbers of people walking and cycling to work has not increased in the five years since a law aimed at encouraging the practice was passed. A new report from AMs blames a lack of leadership in councils and the Welsh Government for the lack of progress that followed the Active Travel Act becoming law in 2013. Figures also show fewer children are going to school on foot or by bike. The Welsh Government said it would consider the report.
Trump administration launches vehicle import probe
President Donald Trump has ordered a national security probe into vehicle imports, which could bring new tariffs. Mr Trump said the US car industry was “critical to our strength as a nation” and ordered the Department of Commerce to investigate. The probe rests on 1960s legislation which lets the president restrict imports if they threaten national security. It is the latest move in Mr Trump’s America First trade agenda. The president tweeted earlier on Wednesday about “big news” for the country’s autoworkers.
Ministers talk to teaching unions about cash for training
Negotiations are taking place with teaching unions on how they can access cash to train staff, the Welsh Government has told BBC Wales. It comes after the headteachers union said it was a “disgrace” £4m had gone from school budgets in Wales to pay the UK Government’s apprenticeship levy. Welsh minister Eluned Morgan confirmed the talks but called the tax “unfair” on councils and schools in Wales. UK ministers said Wales shared levy proceeds and decided how to spend them. But ministers in Cardiff said the money was “largely offset” by other cuts.
Car dealer tactics stall electric car sales
“Dismissive” car dealers are a major barrier to boosting sales of electric vehicles (EVs) according to a new study. Researchers, who posed as car shoppers in Scandinavia and Iceland found that sales personnel strongly pushed petrol and diesel powered cars. Around 77% of dealerships that sold EV brands didn’t discuss their existence with the potential customers. Government signals are a key reason for these attitudes say the authors. In this study, the researchers visited 126 car dealerships across 15 cities in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. The team also interviewed over 250 industry experts across the region. Of the 126 dealers visited, only 8.8% of the encounters that the shopper has left them preferring an EV option over a petrol or diesel car.
Uber to offer drivers and couriers medical cover in Europe
Uber will offer drivers and couriers in Europe medical cover, health benefits after accidents and one-off maternity payments from next month, as the ride-hailing company tries to shake off its reputation for indifference towards the self-employed workers who use the platform. The changes, expected to come at a cost of millions of dollars, will impact 150,000 people and are the most significant attempt by the ride-hailing company to address criticisms that it exploits low-paid “driver partners” and couriers. Uber had already offered opt-in insurance in the UK and there is an optional scheme in the US, but this is the first full scale rollout of a benefits scheme.
Jaguar sales rise but diesel troubles hit profits
Falling demand for diesel cars and increased investment has dented profits at Jaguar Land Rover. Car sales rose 1.7 per cent to 614,309 in the year to the end of March, a slowdown from 16 per cent growth the year before, as trading in its key markets in the UK and Europe went into reverse. Uncertainty around the future of diesel vehicles and Brexit pushed down sales in the UK by 12.8 per cent and in Europe by 5.3 per cent. JLR produces most of its vehicles in the UK with diesel engines and the industry has been critical of the government’s “demonisation of diesel”.
British family car that drives itself but won’t cost the earth: Nissan launches £31,000 vehicle that steers and brakes automatically in the UK
An affordable British-built self-driving family car that can steer and brake by itself has been launched in the UK. The £31,327 Nissan Qashqai SUV is fitted with the sort of technology that until now has been the preserve of vehicles such as top of the range BMWs and Mercedes. With Nissan’s ProPilot system, the car can steer, accelerate and brake automatically using data supplied by a camera on its windscreen and radar behind the badge on its front grille.
Millions of drivers risk up to £10,000 fines and driving for common tyre offence
New research has revealed that UK drivers are taking risks with their car tyres which could land them in trouble. According to new research, more than one in five (21 per cent) – equivalent to around eight million – motorists are driving on dangerous tyres. The investigation by Confused.com involved spot checks of more than 1,000 vehicles in 10 cities around the country. At least one tyre on a fifth of the cars surveyed had one tyre with tread below 3mm, which is the level when manufacturers would recommend you change your tyres. However, a total of three per cent of cars – equivalent of 1.4 million motorists – had one tyre which was below the legal limit of 1.6mm. Drivers can be fined £2,500 for every illegal tyre and also land three penalty points. Motorists only need to accrue 12 penalty points to receive a driving ban and motorists the have only been on the road for two years or less only need to receive six to be banned. It also significantly increases the chances of people having accidents.