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Reshuffle: Theresa May expected to appoint new Tory chairman
Theresa May is expected to appoint a new Conservative Party chairman when she reshuffles her top team later. Patrick McLoughlin, a minister as far back as the Thatcher government, is set to be replaced having overseen the general election campaign that ended with the Tories losing their majority. Several new faces are expected to be appointed to the ministerial lineup.
Firms may face upfront VAT after Brexit
The chair of the Treasury select committee has written to HMRC seeking clarification on what proposed new VAT rules will mean for companies. Legislation that plans to change how imports from EU countries will be treated after Brexit has been drafted. The Customs Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday. It could force tens of thousands of firms to pay VAT upfront in cash to HMRC.
UK house price growth slowed in 2017, says Halifax
House prices grew much more slowly in 2017 than in the previous year, the UK’s largest mortgage lender has reported. The Halifax said prices rose by 2.7% in 2017 – compared with a 6.5% increase in 2016. On a calendar year basis, that is the lowest rise since 2012. The slowdown was driven by a squeeze on real wage growth and continuing uncertainty over the economy, it said. At the end of the year the average house price across the UK was £225,021.
Britain’s consumers spend less for fourth straight month
Consumer spending fell for the fourth consecutive month in December, rounding off the weakest annual performance for household expenditure since 2012, according to analysis based on debit and credit card payments. Visa’s UK consumer spending index, which is compiled by data company IHS Markit, shows that households’ expenditure was 1 per cent lower, after adjusting for inflation, in December 2017 than in the same month a year earlier. The index is based on total spending on Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards, which account for £1 in every £3 spent in the UK. Over 2017 as a whole, consumers spent 0.3 per cent less in real terms than they did in 2016, according to Visa — the first year-on-year decline in spending since 2012.
Electric cars ‘could save’ Ellesmere Port factory
Ministers have been asked to come up with plans to secure the future of the Vauxhall car plant at Ellesmere Port and to promote it as a factory in the vanguard of the electric vehicle revolution. The future of the Cheshire factory, home of the Vauxhall Astra, has been in doubt since it, along with the rest of the Opel Vauxhall assets in Europe owned by General Motors, was sold to Groupe PSA, the Peugeot and Citroën carmaker. Ellesmere Port’s prospects worsened in the autumn when PSA cut a shift and laid off 400 workers, about a quarter of the labour force.
Scotland’s busiest bridge set for months of delays
Motorists have been warned to expect delays of up to 20 minutes on the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow during three months of roadworks. The bridge is the busiest in Scotland and carries 150,000 vehicles a day. Traffic restrictions will be in place on the eastbound carriageway, including a 40mph speed limit. Peter McCann of Scotland TranServ, said delays were expected at peak times and asked motorists to consider using public transport. “The Kingston Bridge and its approaches are now 50 years old and require regular maintenance,” he said. “Narrowing the lanes will allow our contractors to work as quickly and safely as possible, while maximising the traffic flow.”