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UK unemployment fell by 16,000 to 1.62 million in the three months to October, according to the Office for National Statistics. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.8% in the same period. Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses rose by 2.6% in the year to October – slightly higher than the previous month. The UK has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union.
The US government has proposed a rule which would require all new light vehicles in the US to be able to “talk” to each other to avoid crashes, within as little as five years. The move comes at a time when the federal government is trying to work out a framework of rules to regulate technology that does everything from helping humans drive cars, to technology that fully automates the driving process and removes devices such as steering wheels and gas pedals altogether. Individual states are working out their own regulations to govern a new universe of self-driving or partially self-driving cars as well.
Google’s self-driving car unit is rebranding as Waymo, as it spins out of its experimental X lab to become a standalone unit inside the Alphabet holding company. John Krafcik, chief executive of the division, announced the transition at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, saying that Waymo represented a “new way forward in mobility”.
Waymo has ambitions to apply its self-driving technology to car-sharing, trucking, logistics and public transport, as well as personal-use vehicles built and sold in partnership with existing vehicle makers.
Lords call for protection for EU nationals living in the UK
Ministers should provide an immediate “unilateral undertaking” to protect the citizenship rights of EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit, a Lords committee has urged. In a new report, a cross-party group of peers argues that a failure to do so would have “severe” consequences for EU citizens in Britain, who would become subject to national immigration laws of “Byzantine” complexity. It concludes that giving Europeans a firm message on their future before the end of Brexit negotiations is the only “morally right” action. While David Davis, Brexit secretary, has promised a “generous settlement” for the 3m EU migrants in Britain, the government has not given many details.
‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ loans to be liable for inheritance tax
Plans to impose inheritance tax on the properties of wealthy foreigners have been extended to include the “bank of Mum and Dad”. Thousands of international families are likely to be hit by the unexpected imposition of inheritance tax on loans used to fund purchases of UK property, experts said.
House prices across the UK stagnated in October and fell in London, according to figures published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics. The average UK price was £217,000 in October, unchanged from September and 6.9 per cent higher than a year earlier..
Civil service complains at demands for post-Brexit budget plans
Civil servants across Whitehall are complaining that they are being asked to draw up departmental plans for 2019 before there is any clear picture of Britain’s Brexit deal. The Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu), led by David Davis, has sent out a commission to permanent secretaries asking them to explain what the impact of Brexit will be on their staff numbers, budgets and resourcing.
General Motors has delivered its first Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to three customers in Fremont, California, home to rival electric automaker Tesla’s assembly plant. This allows the Detroit automaker to claim first place in the race to deliver an electric car that can run for more than 200 miles on a charge and has a starting price below $40,000. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised its entry in this new segment, the Model 3, will go into production in July.
The rogue practice of removing vital pollution filters from the exhausts of diesel vehicles has suffered a blow with the Advertising Standards Agency for the first time banning an advert for the service. However the number of filterless cars on UK roads, pumping out high levels of toxic particles, remains unknown and air pollution campaigners say the government must investigate and then crack down on the shady practice.
Prince Michael of Kent today called for a fresh approach to combat “disastrous and out of control” road congestion in London. He said “chaotic” scenes across the capital on a daily basis were “hugely damaging” to the economy and causing “immense frustration and anger”. The founder of the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Awards and RAC president said he has been inundated with “distress” calls from road users, motor industry and road safety bodies as vital routes had become increasingly gridlocked.
Using your smartphone in hands-free mode while driving is found to be just as distracting as holding the device in your hand, researchers have warned. A new study reveals the reaction time of drivers using either method was more than 40 percent longer than those who refrained altogether. The team believes that the increased brain power needed to hold a conversation over the phone is what alters a driver’s visual scanning pattern – not the device itself.
Oil prices hit a 17-month high yesterday, prompting fears the cost of fuel could rise by 3p a litre before Christmas.
On Monday, Brent crude leapt to $56 a barrel after 11 oil producing countries, including Russia, Mexico and Oman struck a deal to cut output by 558,000 barrels a day. The warning comes just weeks after OPEC – a group of some of the biggest oil producers in the world – agreed a deal to cut production – which threatened hike the cost of the average top-up .
One in seven young drivers has got behind the wheel under the influence of drugs, a poll shows. And nearly as many said they would do it again this Christmas. Two-thirds of the 25 to 34-year-olds had used cannabis, but others took cocaine, heroin or ecstasy. Some even admitted to driving under the influence of a cocktail of drugs. The survey found around half of adults would not report a partner, relative of friend for drug or drink-driving.