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Top A-level grades edge upwards
The proportion of top A-level grades has risen this year, as teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland find out their results. A* and A grades were awarded to 26.3% of entries – up by 0.5 percentage points compared with last year. In the 13 subjects changed to depend solely on final exams, there was a slight decrease – but boys did better. The number of university places allocated has fallen – with tens of thousands of places still available. The Ucas university admissions body says that 416,000 places have so far been confirmed – down 2% on last year.
Hundreds of companies failing to pay minimum wage
The government has named 360 businesses which have failed to pay either the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW). Among them are well-known names like Debenhams, Subway, Lloyds Pharmacy and St Mirren Football Club. More than 15,500 workers had to be paid back nearly one million pounds.
But that may represent just the tip of the iceberg: The Office for National Statistics has calculated that 362,000 jobs did not pay the NMW in April 2016. The biggest offenders were employers in hairdressing, hospitality and retail.
Brexit: UK looks to keep visa-free travel from EU
The government plans to keep visa-free travel to the UK for EU visitors after Brexit, the BBC understands.
But if visitors from EU countries wanted to work, study or settle in the UK they would have to apply for permission, under the proposals. EU citizens are currently free to live and work in the UK without a permit. The Home Office says managing migration is about access to work and benefits as much as the ability to control entry at a physical border.
Electric vehicles finally living up to green claims
Electric cars are twice as green as they were five years ago because of an increase in wind and solar farms and the closure of coal-fired power stations, a study has found. Owners of battery-powered vehicles can feel particularly virtuous in summer as greenhouse gas emissions fall by almost half compared with winter. A Tesla Model S still has higher CO2 emissions in winter than the most fuel-efficient petrol cars, but in summer it has a clear advantage, according to research by Imperial College London. Electric car emissions depend on the source of the electricity used to charge their batteries.
White van man will have nothing to whine about
The uncertain prospect of electric driverless vehicles whining around our cities cleared a little yesterday with the launch of a fleet of emission-free delivery vans by DHL. Deutsche Post DHL unveiled its first working e-van in its collaboration with Ford. The misleadingly-named Street Scooter Work is, in fact, a Transit van retrofitted with electric motors, batteries and powertrain to a customised DHL design. Each vehicle, it is claimed, can reduce five tonnes of CO2 emission and save 1,900 litres of diesel a year. With a plan to get 2,500 such vans into operation, it could lead to fuel savings for DHL of 4.75 million litres.
Fiat Chrysler joins alliance on road to self-driving cars
A partnership between BMW, Intel and automotive technology groups Delphi and Continental to develop systems for self-driving cars has a new member with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) signing up to the group. FCA had previously been working on autonomous cars on its own but joining the group will help the business reduce costs and hopefully accelerate their development.
Car dealer Lookers warns slump in new vehicle sales set to accelerate
Sales of new cars will continue to decline for the rest of the year as economic uncertainty caused by Brexit weighs on consumers, according to one of the industry’s biggest players. Andy Bruce, chief executive of car dealer group Lookers, hinted that current industry forecasts for a near-4pc drop on last year’s record UK 2.7m car sales could be optimistic. “There has been a mist around the macro-economic picture,” said Mr Bruce. “That mist will lift when we get some clarity around what Brexit will look like but until then sales in the second half will be down.”
UK car buyers turn to second-hand vehicles
The British car market is coming under increasing pressure as consumers turn away from buying new models after a squeeze on earnings, favouring second-hand cars instead. Figures show the number of used cars bought using finance increased by 7% in June compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Finance and Leasing Association, which represents about 86% of borrowing against vehicles in the UK. There was an 8% drop in lending extended for new vehicles, in a move that could alleviate concerns over a credit bubble in motor finance.
We’re being forced to hike premiums by £250, say car insurers: Companies warn of rise unless ministers reverse change to compensation rules
Drivers face rises of up to £250 in car insurance premiums unless ministers reverse a change to compensation rules, industry bosses warned last night. The rules on pay-outs for victims of serious accidents were altered in February after heavy lobbying from law firms looking to boost their income. Insurers must now hand over more cash to people who suffer serious injuries – and have been forced to increase premiums to pay for it. Car insurer Admiral yesterday said this would cost the average motorist up to £60 more a year – with young drivers facing a £250 increase.
Staycations and modern fittings help drive caravan boom: Number being built rises by 14% this year
Caravan holidays are often associated with rainy summers, board games and walking to the outdoor toilets in the middle of the night. But caravans and motorhomes are making a comeback thanks to the rise in staycations and a rather more luxurious experience. The British touring caravan industry made 13.7 per cent more caravans in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, while the number of motorhomes made increased by 11.3 per cent, according to the National Caravan Council (NCC).
Mercedes announces toxic diesel trade-in scheme with £2,000 off a new, cleaner model
MERCEDES has revealed the details of its dirty diesel trade-in scheme offering buyers a cut-price deal on a new model. UK drivers can net £2,000 off a new Euro 6 diesel, pure electric or plug-in hybrid when they trade in their old car. Any diesels made between 1992 and 2010 are eligible for trade-in as long as you’ve owned the car – regardless of brand – for longer than six months. The scheme runs until December 31 while registration and estimated delivery of the new model must be between August 2 2017 and March 31 2018. It mirrors a similar scheme introduced last week by BMW with VW expected to follow suit, too.
Saucy car registrations set to be a thing of the past as the DVLA outlaws a number of offensive combinations
CAR registration bosses have outlawed a number of offensive combinations from the new 67 number plate out next month. They include OR67 ASM, DO67 GER, and BA67 ARD, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).The arrival of the ‘67’ number plate in September presents a range of possibilities for offensive words to the creative motorist, said Auto Express magazine. So the DVLA has vetoed a raft of combinations before they appear. Number plates such as DO67 GER (dogger), BA67 ARD (bastard), OR67 ASM (orgasm) and DO67 SHT (dogshit) are examples of banned combinations.
Your next car could be made from WOOD as carmakers look to replace steel to slash weight and emissions
CAR designers could turn to wood in a bid to make cars lighter, stronger and cheaper. A material made from wood pulp is FIVE times stronger than steel but weighs 80 per cent less, according to researchers in Japan. And a leading supplier to Toyota is working alongside the boffins at Kyoto University to experiment with plastics that feature wood pulp. A prototype version of a car using these revolutionary cellulose nanofibres is due to be completed by 2020. The processing method developed is much cheaper than other similar projects potentially making the material commercially viable in the not too distant future. It’s currently around four times more expensive than steel and other alloys used but experts believe the price gap could be halved by 2030.