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UK growth forecast raised by British Chambers of CommerceBack



UK growth forecast raised by British Chambers of Commerce 

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has raised its UK growth forecast, but warns it will be among the worst performing G7 economies until 2020.The BCC has raised its GDP forecast for 2018 from 1.1% to 1.4% and in 2019 from 1.3% to 1.5%. Its first forecast for 2020 is for 1.6% growth. The hike is driven by slightly stronger than expected consumer spending. And it says the UK’s export performance is expected to remain robust on the back of strong global growth. But it says with imports also likely to continue to grow, the contribution of net trade to the UK’s GDP growth over the near term is to be limited, “particularly with little evidence of a sterling boost to the UK’s overall net trade position”. And despite the upgrades, UK GDP growth is set to remain well below the historical average throughout the forecast period.


City AM


UK prepares to clinch Brexit transition deal as David Davis heads to Brussels

David Davis will meet with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, today in Brussels as the UK’s Brexit secretary works to secure a transition deal extending Britain’s membership of the Single Market and customs union until the end of 2020.UK negotiators hope to wrap up a deal today, though fears remain that a hardline Franco-German alliance with Ireland could scupper Britain’s plans. London’s Lord Mayor has revealed he is “quietly confident” the government will secure a transitional Brexit deal in the next fortnight to be ready ahead of the one-year marker for the UK leaving the EU. Charles Bowman, who serves as the figurehead for the City of London Corporation’s lobbying efforts, said the government has indicated it will try to reach a pragmatic deal on trade with the EU, as he prepares to take a delegation of British businesses to China to promote the City. “I would be quietly confident that we would get that transition by the end of March,” he said, pointing to Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent Mansion House speech, in which she committed to reaching a trade agreement.



The Times


Driverless buses to arrive at Gatwick

Holidaymakers could be taken to their planes at Gatwick by driverless vehicles under plans for the world’s first autonomous shuttle service. Britain’s second-biggest airport will begin a six-month trial of vehicles this summer as part of efforts to cut costs, improve safety and make airside operations more efficient. The project will initially focus on taking workers between the north and south terminals and no passengers or aircraft will be involved. Gatwick, which handles almost 45 million passengers annually, said that if the trial were successful it could be scaled up to cover passenger buses, baggage tugs and pushback tugs that steer planes away from terminals.


Facebook told to come clean over leaked data of 50m users 

The privacy regulator should be handed stronger powers to investigate technology companies, say MPs after the personal data of millions of Facebook users was leaked. Damian Collins, chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, has accused a British company of lying to parliament about whether it used information from the social network. A whistleblower said that Cambridge Analytica, which specialises in “psychographic profiling” and targeting political campaigns, obtained the Facebook data of 50 million US voters from a British firm which harvested it by offering “personality tests”.


The Financial Times


Exit polls show Putin heading for landslide presidential win 

Russian president Vladimir Putin was expected to have won re-election by a landslide yesterday, in a vote which the Kremlin sought to portray as a celebration of democracy but which was marred by irregularities. According to an exit poll published by the Public Opinion Research Centre, one of the country’s two main Kremlin-backed pollsters, Mr Putin won with 73.9 per cent of the vote. An exit poll by FOM, the second Kremlin-backed pollster, gave him an even higher share of the vote at 76.3 per cent. Mr Putin’s apparent victory, widely expected as his increasingly authoritarian regime has neutralised opposition to his rule, puts him on course to rule Russia longer than anyone since the Soviet-era dictator.


Irish border fears loom over Brexit talks

David Davis, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, will hold urgent talks in Brussels today to try and secure the exit transition deal demanded by business, amid fears of a last-minute row over Ireland. Mr Davis is said by aides to be “confident” of an imminent deal to secure the 21-month transition, but there are fears in London that the talks could be fraught because of tension over the Irish border. The Brexit secretary will hold face-to-face talks with Michel Barnier, his EU opposite number, for the first time since last November, as both sides try to reach a deal to present to EU leaders at a two-day summit starting on Thursday.


Light-touch regulation ‘history’, says FCA chief

The head of the financial watchdog insists his organisation is not soft on financial misconduct after a wave of criticism over how it has handled several high-profile investigations. The Financial Conduct Authority was currently bearing down on the Royal Bank of Scotland to ensure it implements the recommendations of a contentious report into how it treats small business customers, Andrew Bailey, the FCA’s chief executive said. He insisted light-touch regulation was “history”. “That was the prevailing philosophy before the crisis and we have learnt some hard lessons,” he said, “We do now have powers we did not in the past.” Mr Bailey wants to overhaul culture across the City of London, spurred on not only by a spate of breaching rules, such as Libor-rigging and the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, but also questions about culture prompted by the Presidents Club scandal.



The Daily Telegraph


Rolls-Royce looks to develop new ‘batteries using material designed for contact lenses

Rolls-Royce, the engineering giant, is joining the race to build the next generation of energy storage “batteries” using the same material originally designed for hard-wearing contact lenses. The FTSE 100 group said it will work with Superdielectrics, a research company, to use the material to challenge the dominance of traditional batteries. Early studies with the universities of Surrey and Bristol have shown that the new polymer can create a capacitor, or energy storage, which is between 1,000 to 10,000 times more effective than existing materials. This “supercapacitor” could provide the bridge between systems which are quick to charge and quick to release small amounts of energy and those, such as lithium-ion batteries, which are slow to charge but last longer. It could allow electric vehicles, for example to charge up fully within a few minutes and last as long as today’s electric cars.


The Sun


Tax Threat

Two senior Tories have warned the Government may need tax hikes and spending cuts because of the size of the national debt. In a letter to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, veteran Ken Clarke and ex-Cabinet Office minister John Penrose said official figures gave an over-optimistic picture as they did not include private finance initiative contracts. The Treasury insisted: “The Government takes a balanced approach to repairing the public finances and investing in vital services.


Car cost rise 37% for poor

The cost to the poorest families of running a car rose 37 per cent last year. One million households in the poorest ten per cent have a car and spent an average £58.20 a week on it, according to the RAC Foundation. The averages at a quarter of their weekly spend and included £20.40 on buying the vehicle, £14.80 on fuel, £7.60 on insurance and £6.10 on keeping it going. Across all households the weekly total was £99.50 up ten per cent. The foundation said: “Policy makers need to bear in mind any moves that add to the cost of motoring will be most keenly felt by those least able to afford them.”


Daily Mirror

Romania No1 for cheapest car hire deals

Travellers looking for the hottest car rental deals should head to Romania, a survey has found. Romania was No1 in a poll of nations with the cheapest car hire, charging £13.06 per day on average. Spain was second at £13.49 and Malta third at £13.60. The most expensive countries were Japan where a day’s hire is £55.47 on average, followed by Iceland at £46.37 and Switzerland, £43.64.


E-cigs link to liver disease

Vaping may lead to liver disease, research suggests. High levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes caused non-alcohol fatty liver disease in mice in a 12-week study. Scientists found changes in 433 genes associated with fatty liver development and progression. Professor Theordore Friedman, of Los Angeles’ Charles R Drew University, said: “We  conclude that e-cigarettes are not as safe as they have been promoted to consumers.”


Interest rate ‘to be frozen’

The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5% on Thursday. But economists believe we could be set for a hike in May, one more by the end of the year and another in 2019 – taking banking rates to 1.25%. Governor Mark Carney previously warned rates will need to rise “earlier and by a greater degree” to get inflation on target. Official figures show the economy grew by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2017 against an 0.5% forecast.

Posted by Paul Carpenter on 19/03/2018