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UK inflation at highest since April 2012
The UK’s key inflation rate climbed to 3% in September from 2.9% in August, its highest for more than five years. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) was last at 3% in April 2012, but has been driven higher by increases in transport and food prices. The increase in inflation raises the likelihood of an increase in interest rates next month. The figures are significant because state pension payments from April 2018 will rise in line with September’s CPI. Business rates will go up by September’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) of 3.9%. The fall in the pound since last year’s Brexit vote has helped to push up inflation.
Daimler recalls 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK
About 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars are being recalled by Daimler in the UK over a potential airbag safety issue.
The firm’s safety recall covers more than a million vehicles worldwide, including 495,000 in the US. The recall is not related to the exploding Takata airbag scandal, and there have been no fatalities. The problem affects certain A, B, C, and E-Class models, together with CLA, GLA and GLC vehicles, built between November 2011 and July 2017. The fix for the airbag issue takes only an hour to perform.
Vauxhall: Union calls for support to protect jobs
The government should give “a clear signal” that it will support the automotive industry through Brexit to protect jobs at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, the Unite union says. The union is calling for reassurance from the plant’s French owners, PSA Group, that they will continue to invest in the facility. But Unite said the government also needed to provide more certainty. PSA Group has announced 400 job losses in Ellesmere Port due to falling sales.
Race on to spend old £1 coins as deadline looms
The old round £1 coin is now officially withdrawn, but shoppers will still be able to spend them in some shops.
With up to 450 million estimated to be still in the public’s hands, many retailers have said they will continue to accept them for a limited period. Businesses can refuse to take them from Monday when they will no longer be legal tender. The round coin, launched in April 1983, is replaced by the new 12-sided coin that entered circulation in March. Some supermarkets and other stores said they would give shoppers some grace. The Entertainer toyshop chain, which said it would continue to accept round £1 coins until Christmas. Iceland and Poundland have said they will continue to accept the old round pound until 31 October, while Tesco has said it will continue accepting the old-style coins for a week after the 15 October deadline.
Crimewatch axed by BBC after 33 years
Crimewatch, one of the BBC’s longest-running shows, is being axed after 33 years, The Sun newspaper has revealed. The programme, which asks viewers for help to track down criminals, is hosted by Jeremy Vine and Tina Daheley. The BBC said in a statement: “We are incredibly proud of Crimewatch and the great work it has done over the years. “This move will also allow us to create room for new innovative programmes in peak time on BBC One.” Daytime show Crimewatch Roadshow will continue.
Brexit talks must speed up, Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker say
British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker talk during an EU summit group photo in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to hold her first talks with EU leaders and will tell them that the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc is irreversible. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)[/caption]
Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed to “accelerate” Brexit negotiations – but there was no sign of a breakthrough after their working dinner. A joint statement said the Brussels talks – which came before EU member states meet to assess progress – were “constructive and friendly”. The UK’s financial settlement with the EU continues to be a sticking point. The EU will not discuss trade until this has been settled.
Daimler plans revamp to prepare for electric vehicles
Daimler announced on Monday it was preparing to revamp the company’s structure to better prepare it for the future of electric vehicles, by legally separating its cars business from its underperforming trucks unit in an attempt to unlock value in both. Analysts say the move by the German group would be the first time a big car manufacturer has properly restructured its business for the new era of shared, electric and self-driving vehicles. The Stuttgart-based parent of Mercedes-Benz will take its “first steps” to restructure, by investing more than €100m to create two new legal entities, one to house Cars & Vans and another for Trucks & Buses.
Palladium hits $1,000 for first time since 2001
The palladium price broke through the $1,000 mark on Monday for the first time since 2001, as a backlash against diesel cars in Europe buoys demand for a metal used in petrol-based vehicles. Hurdling the $1,000 level took the palladium price further beyond its sister metal platinum, which is mostly used in diesel-based cars. The palladium price last month rose above platinum for the first time in almost two decades. The silvery white material, which comes largely from mines in South Africa and Russia, is proving a beneficiary of a wager that consumers will move from diesel to gasoline cars because of an emissions scandal centred around Volkswagen that has damaged the reputation of diesel.
Data protection fines loom over ‘unprepared’ UK companies, warns Institute of Directors
Companies remain worryingly unprepared for new data protection rules that will impose huge fines on organisations that mishandle the personal data of customers, users, employees and associates, the Institute of Directors has warned. The general data protection regulation is huge in scope. It is an attempt to introduce unified rules across the European Union about how organisations create, capture, store and share personal information for the first time since the 1990s’ global explosion of digital data. When it comes into force next May, it will give ordinary citizens easier access to the data that companies hold about them and will make organisations obtain the consent of people they collect information about.
Slavery in the UK is ‘far greater than Home Office estimate’
A Home Office estimate that there are 13,000 modern slaves living in the UK is way short of the mark, with the true number in the tens of thousands, the anti-slavery commissioner has claimed Kevin Hyland said that the 13,000 figure, published by the Home Office in 2014, did not mirror his research into the crime. “I deem this far too modest,” Mr Hyland said in a statement. The commissioner urged the government to reform the National Referral Mechanism, which was introduced in 2009 and helps the Home Office and the Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit to identify victims
Levy takes toll on efforts to train apprentices, Close Brothers Asset Finance survey finds
Apprenticeships are still the solution to Britain’s skills shortage, according to a survey, despite official figures that show a sharp fall in the number of new schemes since the government introduced a levy. More than eight in ten of small businesses polled by Close Brothers Asset Finance said that apprentices were the best way to narrow the skills gap, yet more than a fifth blamed costs for not having a scheme of their own. While, at 58 per cent, more than half of businesses felt that they were not suited to having a scheme, the majority, 76 per cent, felt that enrolling in an apprenticeship was a viable alternative to university.
World petrol demand ‘likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise’
World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted. UK-based Wood Mackenzie said it expected the take-up of electric vehicles to cut gasoline demand significantly, particularly beyond 2025 as the battery-powered cars go mainstream. Combined with car manufacturers forced by regulations to produce models that run further on the same amount of oil, a new report by the analysts suggests global gasoline demand is likely to peak by 2030. The UK and France have recently said they will phase out sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. China, the world’s biggest car market, is mulling a similar move, which would have a significant impact on oil demand. Of the 96m barrels of oil consumed globally each day, 60m are used for transport, which Wood Mackenzie predicts will stall by 2030.
Diesel fumes harm children while they are in the womb! Pregnant women exposed to sooty particles in exhaust emissions are more likely to have babies with a greater ‘biological age’
Diesel fumes start to harm children while they are still in the womb, research suggests. Pregnant women exposed to sooty particles in exhaust emissions are more likely to have babies with damaged DNA, scientists found. They said babies exposed to pollution in the womb had a greater ‘biological age’ as soon as they were born. Blood samples taken from the placenta and umbilical cord at birth showed signs of damage to the chromosomes, a problem thought to be linked to shorter life expectancy. The researchers, from Hasselt University in Belgium, found that exposure to pollution in the second trimester – between the fourth and sixth months of pregnancy when the foetus grows rapidly – had the biggest impact on the baby. The UK is notoriously bad at controlling air pollution, with 37 British cities persistently displaying ‘illegal’ levels of air pollution – which has seen the Government repeatedly hauled into court.