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UK diesel car sales fall by nearly a third in October
Sales of diesel cars in the UK fell by nearly a third in October compared with last year, prompting the motor industry to call for help in the Budget. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) wants to see government-backed incentives to encourage people to buy low emission diesel vehicles. Overall vehicle sales fell by more than 12%, marking the seventh consecutive month of declines. The SMMT blamed a drop in business and consumer confidence for the fall. So far this year, new vehicle registrations are down by 4.6%.
Police lorry catches 4,000 dangerous drivers
More than 4,000 drivers in England have been caught committing offences over the last two years, following a special operation using a lorry, police say. Since April 2015, officers from 28 forces have used an unmarked lorry to film examples of dangerous driving. One man in the East Midlands was seen steering with his knees while eating lunch and using his mobile phone. Highways England, which funded the vehicle, said it would continue to use the HGV to catch offenders. The position of the cab in the lorry allowed police to see inside vehicles on motorways and busy A roads.
Voluntary living wage rate rise to boost 150,000 UK staff
More than 150,000 workers whose firms are signed up to the voluntary living wage rate are set to get a pay rise.
The voluntary rate, promoted by the Living Wage Foundation campaign group, is to rise by 30p an hour to £8.75. For those living in London, the rate will rise by 45p to £10.20 an hour. About 3,600 firms are signed up to the scheme, including Ikea and Google. It is separate from the government’s compulsory National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW). The National Living Wage, which was introduced in April last year for workers aged 25 and above, is currently set at £7.50 an hour. Those under 25, are still paid the lower National Minimum Wage.
Government urged to plug insurance black hole over self-driving cars
Insurance laws will be overhauled to ensure all parties are covered in any accident involving autonomous vehicles, the government has said, in a move that paves the way for self-driving cars to be on UK roads by 2021. Questions over liability have been seen as a stumbling block in the development of autonomous vehicles. The issue is seen as being particularly acute during any transition period for the technology, when cars will not be fully autonomous and drivers will remain legally in charge of a vehicle even when cars are on autopilot. Insurers have warned that confusion over responsibility could leave drivers without cover for their own losses in the event of an accident.
Boost for small businesses as Philip Hammond scraps rates rise
The chancellor will attempt to show that the Conservatives are on the side of small businesses in his budget this month with expected changes to business rates and VAT charges. Philip Hammond is due to announce that the planned 3.9 per cent rise in business rates that kicks in next spring will be scrapped after lobbying from the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce and British Retail Consortium. Business rates, which generate £30 billion a year, have long been a corporate bugbear because they are linked with property values and are indexed to the retail prices index of inflation, which hit a five-year high of 3.9 per cent.
Driving with your pet in the car could land you a £5,000 fine
Drivers are being warned that they could face fines of up to £5,000 if they drive with their pet in the car. New research from uSwitch.com has revealed that 69 per cent of drivers say they travel with their pet in the car with them A fifth of whom said they were unaware of the law around driving with animals, admitting to not securing their pet with a safety restraint. Failure to do so violates rule 57 of the Highway Code which reads, “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
Self-driving cars ‘will transform the lives of the elderly’: Transport Secretary says new vehicles will allow old people to retain their freedom
The lives of elderly and the disabled will be transformed by self-driving cars, the Transport Secretary will claim today. The first autonomous cars are expected to be on Britain’s roads by 2021. In a speech in London, Chris Grayling will promote the benefits of this new mode of transport to the economy and to society. The government has estimated that driverless cars could be worth £28 billion to the economy by 2035. It has also been claimed automated cars will make the roads safer, with 85 per cent of accidents last year caused by human error. It is hoped this will help push down premiums.