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UK retail sales rose by more than expected in November, as shops offered promotions at the end of the month in the run up to Black Friday. Sales volumes increased by 1.7% in November from the month before, the Office for National Statistics said. Compared with the same month last year, sales were up by 5%.
The European Parliament has voted to set up a committee to investigate the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
The committee will investigate whether regulators failed to prevent the car industry from cheating emissions tests designed to reduce pollution. The executive branch of the EU, the European Commission, which will be scrutinised as part of the probe, said it would work with the committee. The parliamentary inquiry could last for up to a year
The Financial Times
From the North York Moors in the north to Exmoor in the south-west, dozens of new licences have been awarded to companies to frack for shale gas across England, as ministers look to replicate the US shale boom in the UK.
Officials at the Oil & Gas Authority on Thursday granted new fracking licences to 14 companies to explore in 124 different areas, prompting protests from green campaigners and predictions from ministers of a thriving shale industry for decades to come.
UK factories are expected to end the year in recession despite a slight pick-up in activity this month, according to a closely watched industry survey. Manufacturing orders hit a three-month high in December, helped by better exports, but companies still believe that output will fall over the coming quarter, the CBI’s monthly industrial trends survey found. The order book balance rose to -7 this month from -11 last month, beating expectations for -10, but the forward outlook remained close to its four-year low at -5.
Subsidies to buy low-emission cars have been cut by ministers who have changed the way they are distributing the next £400 million of sweeteners to persuade motorists to go electric. Announcing that it is to extend the cash subsidies for plug-in hybrids or full-electric vehicles to March 2018, the government said that it aimed to treble the take-up from 50,000 over the past four years to another 100,000 in the next two years.