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UK inflation will quadruple to about 4% in the second half of next year and cut disposable income, a leading think tank has forecast. The rise in prices will “accelerate rapidly” during 2017 as the fall in sterling is passed on to consumers, according to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR). The revised figure is sharply higher than the 3% it forecast in August. The economy also faces “significant risks” that could restrict growth.
Hammond seeks fiscal headroom to react to any Brexit fallout
Chancellor Philip Hammond is to adopt a new flexible fiscal framework in this month’s Autumn Statement, banishing rigid targets to ensure the government has “headroom” to react if Brexit fallout hits the economy. Mr Hammond told cabinet colleagues on Tuesday to expect only a modest fiscal stimulus, with a programme of new infrastructure spending expected to run to the low billions of pounds a year. But his new fiscal plan, while aimed at achieving a balanced budget in the next parliament, would allow a greater stimulus package to be unleashed if the current robust rate of economic growth starts to falter.
There was, according to the stock market, a clear winner and a loser when Royal Dutch Shell and BP reported third-quarter results on Tuesday. Shares in Shell closed up 3.8 per cent at £21.15 after it announced a rise in profits while BP’s stock fell 4.5 per cent to £4.62 after revealing a sharp drop in earnings. This marked a reversal from the prior quarter when Shell alarmed investors with a plunge in profits while BP’s numbers were more resilient.
Young drivers with ‘risky’ Facebook pages will pay more for insurance
Insurers are to analyse motorists’ Facebook pages to set premiums under plans to screen out the riskiest drivers. The car insurance company Admiral will request permission to access social media sites from today to create a “personality-based” profile of first-time motorists. The service will use an algorithm to search for evidence that drivers are “conscientious” and therefore less likely to be involved in an accident. This includes analysis of writing styles and whether users make extensive use of calendars or accounting apps. The company insisted that the “big data” system — dubbed Firstcarquote — would be used only to provide motorists with discounts of up to 15 per cent. Information would not lead to a rise in premiums, it said.
Half of Heathrow’s 25,000 noise complaints made by the same 10 people
Complaints in just three months over the summer – but around half were made by the same 10 people. The airport, which was last month had plans for a third runway given Government approval, received, on average, 274 complaints each day between the start of July and end of September, according to official statistics. However, its figures also show that, while 1,209 people complained just once about the noise from aircraft passing overhead, three people contacted the airport more than 1,280 times each – or nearly 14 times a day over three months.
A senior Conservative MP has called for self-employed workers in the “gig economy” to be guaranteed the legal minimum wage.
The call came from Ed Vaizey, who until July was the minister for digital industries, and if heeded would require a major change in business models for fast-growing firms relying on self-employed contractors paid on a piecework basis. They include companies such as the taxi app firm Uber, which has 40,000 drivers enrolled on its system in the UK, and delivery giant Hermes, which relies on 10,500 self-employed couriers to deliver parcels for retailers including John Lewis and Next. Neither currently guarantees workers the minimum wage.
On September 15 we exposed the shocking scale of illegal mobile use by motorists and launched a campaign for much tougher deterrents. Within hours, the cause was backed by road safety groups, politicians and families of the scores of victims killed by distracted drivers. Theresa May pledged tough action, saying that using a handheld phone while driving was ‘totally unacceptable’. In a victory for the Mail, it was announced on September 17 that ministers are set to double the punishment for using a phone. Motorists will face a six-point penalty on their licence if they are caught using a mobile at the wheel.
The ‘two strikes’ policy would see them hit the 12-point threshold for an automatic ban after two offences instead of four. Young motorists with less than two years on the road would have their licence revoked if caught once. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he wanted the use of mobiles at the wheel to become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. Nazan Fennell, mother of 13-year-old Hope who was crushed by a driver on his phone, said: ‘It’s a great move forward.’
Post-Brexit trade barriers imposed on the UK car industry if the right deal is not reached would “frankly be disastrous”, a senior executive at Jaguar Land Rover has warned. Hanno Kirner, executive director at JLR, which is owned by Tata Group, based in India, issued the stark warning at a joint Government-industry “Great Britain” event, ahead of the Paris Motor Show.
Mr Kirner was speaking openly for many in the industry, including component makers, who talk privately about the danger of jobs going abroad if membership or strong access to the single market is curtailed after Brexit. He added that tariffs would add to the cost and the complication of integrated cross-border supply chains and would “damage business and British jobs”.
JLR is Britain’s biggest exporter of any kind to China. It employs 42,000 directly, and invests £3.5bn a year in the UK.
BlackBerry will work with Ford to use its software in automated vehicles. BlackBerry has signed a deal to work directly with Ford Motor to expand the carmaker’s use of its QNX secure operating system, the Canadian technology company said on Monday, as Ford develops increasingly automated vehicles. The deal with Ford is the first BlackBerry has done directly with a major automaker, though it currently sells its technology to auto industry suppliers.
The company is betting its future on expanding sales of software products, including to automakers and other manufacturers, after largely ceding the smartphone market to rivals including Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Samsung Electronics. Panasonic Automotive currently uses QNX software in the Sync 3 infotainment console that it supplies to Ford. BlackBerry is hoping the new deal will expand use of BlackBerry’s software in Ford vehicles as the two companies identify other systems where it might be used.
“We can form the basis of the entire vehicle all the way from autonomous drive through to infotainment,” John Wall, the head of BlackBerry’s QNX unit, said in a phone interview.