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UK inflation rate falls slightly
The inflation rate dropped to 3% in December from November’s six-year high of 3.1% – the first fall since June. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said growth in food prices slowed during the month and airline fares rose less strongly than a year earlier. However, the ONS said it was too early to say whether the fall was the start of a long-term reduction in the rate. The Bank of England has said it thinks inflation peaked at the end of 2017 and will fall back to 2% this year.
Ford to boost investment in electric cars by 2022
Ford says it will boost its investment in electric vehicles to $11bn (£8bn) in the next five years, more than doubling a previous commitment. Chairman Bill Ford said the car maker would have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its range by 2022. It comes as countries around the world put more pressure on car makers to rein in carbon emissions. General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen have already outlined ambitious plans to offer more electric vehicles. Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday, Mr Ford said the focus would be on electrifying existing Ford models without naming any specific cars. He said the firm would offer 16 fully electric vehicles by 2022 and 24 plug-in hybrids.
Debt fears for poorer households
A third of the lowest-income households in Britain have loans and credit card debts that outstrip the assets they hold, research has found. This debt can become a problem to repay, even if the total amount borrowed is relatively low. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysed official figures to estimate the extent of unmanageable debt. Unsecured borrowing, such as loans, overdrafts and credit cards, has been rising by nearly 10% a year in the UK.
Thousands of Carillion workers left in limbo
As many as 1,400 apprentices could be caught up in the collapse of Carillion and 19,500 workers around the country are facing an uncertain future because the liquidation of the company effectively terminates their employment contracts. The Construction Industry Training Board said that with the impending demise of Carillion having been foreseen by the industry in the days since Christmas, it had moved to secure government support for apprentices affected by the collapse. The training board said that it would work with the Department for Education, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and its network of colleges to secure training places or continuing apprenticeships for the young workers involved.
Jessica’s Law: Drivers to be tested for cocaine under new regulations as authorities respond to Boxing Day horror crash that shattered Home and Away actress’s family
NSW drivers will now be tested for cocaine as authorities work to curb the state’s horror road toll which has seen 17 people die this year after 392 people were killed last year, an eight-year high. Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced a raft of tough new measures, including doubling the number of roadside drug tests by 2020, increasing penalties for drug drivers and looking to reduce the risk posed by people taking prescription drugs.
War on diesel actually made Brits use MORE of the fuel last year – and here’s why
ATTACKING diesel in a bid to slash toxic pollution has INCREASED demand for the fuel. Brits filled up with 238million litres more diesel in 2017 as they were put off splashing out on new, more efficient diesel cars, according to the AA. Government policies to introduce a £500 diesel tax and extra city centre charges stopped Brits from buying the latest tech that would help save the environment. Diesel car sales fell by 17 per cent last year as drivers stayed in their older, dirtier cars – and the same is expected to happen in 2018.