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The decision means that Parliament must vote before the UK government begins the Article 50 process of leaving the EU.
Speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales will rise by up to 50% after a review of sentencing guidelines for magistrates’ courts. A driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, could be fined 150% of their weekly income. Animal cruelty captured on camera will see a harsher sentence, with the most serious offenders sent to prison. But the least serious cases of TV licence payment evasion will no longer result in a fine. The Sentencing Council said it wanted to ensure a “clear increase in penalty” as the seriousness of offending increases.
The government has kept its promise to support the growth of Nissan’s Sunderland car plant but has cut potential funding for other business projects in the north-east of England. The north-east’s Local Enterprise Partnership is believed to have bid for about £150m of the £556m the government allocated to the north of England in the Autumn Statement. However, it has been awarded only £49.7m, of which the lion’s share of £42.2m has been earmarked for just one project: the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), next to Nissan’s factory.
Ministers face mounting opposition over changes to business rates that could push thousands of rural companies to breaking point. MPs and town halls called for a rethink of the overhaul. Riding schools, kennels, stud farms and vineyards are expected to be among those facing the steepest rises. Rates will fall for 920,000 businesses and remain the same for another 420,000, but are expected to increase for 510,000. Experts warned that countryside businesses would be hit hard.
Green energy experts have called on the Scottish government to consider banning diesel and petrol vehicles. As the SNP administration prepares this week to give details of its new energy policy — covering electricity, heating and transport — a report by Scotland’s future energy task force says that there is a need to increase targets on reducing carbon emissions and introduce incentives and regulation to ensure a quicker adoption of new standards.
The cost of diesel has reached its highest level in more than two years, after both petrol and diesel prices rose for the fourth month in a row. UK drivers are paying an average of 122.1p per litre for diesel. The last time motorists faced prices this high was in December 2014. Meanwhile petrol prices are 119.7p per litre now – the highest level since September 2015, according to the figures from motoring research charity, RAC Foundation.
A growing number of car owners say the cost of parking makes them see red and they believe greedy councils target them to raise money through parking fines. More than half of drivers would abandon their cars if public transport was better and cheaper, said the latest RAC report on motoring. Nearly one in five of the 1,714 motorists surveyed said parking costs are one of their top four concerns, a 50 per cent increase one in eight who said this in 2015.