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Rate rise impact ‘modest’ for homeowners, says Nationwide
The impact of a small rise in interest rates is likely to be modest for most UK households, according to mortgage lender Nationwide. The Bank of England has been widely tipped to increase rates for the first time in a decade on Thursday. If rates do go up from 0.25% to 0.5%, the effect will be smaller than in the past because more homeowners are on fixed mortgages, Nationwide said. It comes as house prices rose by 0.2% in October, according to Nationwide. The average price of a house in the UK rose by £284 to £211,085. Annual house price growth edged up to 2.5% from 2.3% in September.
Bank of England believes Brexit could cost 75,000 finance jobs
The Bank of England believes that up to 75,000 jobs could be lost in financial services following Britain’s departure from the European Union. I understand senior figures at the Bank are using the number as a “reasonable scenario”, particularly if there is no specific UK-EU financial services deal. The number could change depending on the UK’s post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU. But the bank still expects substantial job losses. Many jobs will move to the continent.
Manufacturers need confidence boost in the budget, says CBI
Optimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers has deteriorated for the first time in more than a year, the CBI has warned. As the business lobby group demanded reforms to business rates to shore up confidence, it said that companies were facing challenges including rising prices, pressure on profit margins and labour shortages. Despite continued growth in new orders, it said that capacity pressures were “biting hard”, with the proportion of small manufacturers working below production capacity falling to its lowest level in 28 years. The number of businesses reporting that labour shortages were inhibiting investment rose to its highest level since 1988.
Wake up to a 5p tax on your coffee cup to boost recycling
A tax on disposable coffee cups is to be considered by the government to reduce the 2.5 billion of them thrown away each year. Thérèse Coffey, the environment minister, said that she was “open to the idea” and would ask a government and industry working group to examine it. A 5p charge on coffee cups was first proposed by the Liberal Democrats after it emerged last year that only one in 400 was being recycled. Most paper recycling facilities reject cups because of the difficulty of separating the plastic inner lining from the paper. Dr Coffey told the Commons environmental audit committee that a group of experts from waste companies, retailers and government would consider the benefits of a charge.
Driverless car technology could leave users asleep at the wheel, warns Google
Google was forced to pull the plug on early self-driving car experiments after its test drivers fell asleep or applied makeup at the wheel, the tech giant has revealed. In early experiments with at its self-driving car division, Google found test drivers in cars equipped to perform advanced driver assistance falling asleep at the wheel while at 55mph on a motorway. The findings led Google to drop its highway driving assist feature in 2013, instead moving to research safer, fully-automated driverless cars, according to TechCrunch. The company’s autonomous car division Waymo said drivers who were filmed using semi-autonomous cars in on the road testing took to doing makeup, hunting for cables and electronic devices and even sleeping, rather than keeping an eye on the road ahead.
Britain’s roads are worse than ever, say frustrated motorists: Six in ten believe motorways are more congested than a year ago
Six in 10 motorists complain motorways are more congested than a year ago, according to a report. With official figures showing traffic has hit record levels, motorists say they journeys are becoming more arduous and time consuming. As well as a general increase in traffic, many drivers blame lorries overtaking other lorries, and drivers who hog the middle lanes. Among urban drivers the ever expanding network of bus lanes and cycle lanes are blamed for worsening congestion.