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Young jobseekers frustrated by work experience catch 22 – A survey of 18,000 employers has confirmed with hard data what frustrated young jobseekers have long suspected: they cannot get a job without experience and they cannot get experience without a job. Two-thirds of employers say work experience is a critical factor when they recruit, compared with about half who say the same for qualifications. Yet 80 per cent do not offer any work experience placements to schools and one-fifth say nothing could persuade them to, according to the survey by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, a government funded organisation.
Browne urges end to extra North Sea oil tax after plunge in price of crude – Lord Browne has urged ministers to scrap a supplementary tax on North Sea oil and gas revenues. The former BP chief warned that a plunge in crude prices had done “permanent harm” to the region’s ageing fields. His comments heap pressure on chancellor George Osborne to use the Budget to roll back the 30 per cent levy, which has raised billions for the exchequer but risks burdening fields already made uneconomic by oil’s collapse.
Look, no hands, Capital test for robot cars – London has started trials to demonstrate the potential of driverless cars, with the government promising a review of road regulations by 2017 to allow for the innovation. Ministers showed some of the vehicles in Greenwich, southeast London, yesterday, with Vince Cable, business secretary, hailing Britain’s position at the “forefront of innovation” in the rapidly advancing technology.
Fiat Chief says attack by activists spur mergers – Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has predicted that carmakers reluctant to consolidate will be forced to reconsider their stance as they come under attack from activist investors. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Marchionne warned that his rivals could not continue to avoid having a serious debate about mergers. His comments came as four hedge funds launched a campaign to win a seat on General Motors’ board for Harry Wilson, a key figure in the restructuring of the US car industry, in a an effort to force the carmaker to spend $8bn on share buybacks.
Ban on smoking in cars – From October 1, it will be illegal in England to smoke in cars carrying children. The new law was passed by MPs yesterday with 342 voting in favour and just 74 against.
Drivers to pay £100 for being in wrong lane – Motorists face £100 fines and penalty points for ignoring red X signs showing closed lanes on a new generation of “Smart” motorways. The move foms part of a campaign led by the Highways Agency to alert drivers o the operation of the motorways and comes as the AA claimed that the system was unsafe, with back-seat passengers more likely to be killed in motorway accidents.
Engage in climate debate, Shell chief tells oil industry – The chief executive of Shell will use a speech tonight to criticise the “aloof” oil industry for ailing to acknowledge climate change and will tell hundreds of his counterparts to engage in the debate. Ben van Beurden is expected to say that industry “must take a critical look” at itself for staying silent on the issue or for resorting to the well-worn argument that environmental policies will cost jobs.
Petrol to stay low for a year, says Shell chief – Petrol prices will remain low for the rest of the year, the head of one of the world’s largest oil companies will pledge tonight. Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, is expected to predict in a speech in London that petrol prices will remain at their six-year low as the global oil market stays volatile for the rest of the year. However, he will add that prices are bound to rise again eventually, due to “rising demand and the need for new supplies”.
A long journey to sell the driverless car – Trials of driverless cars have started but the public appear wary of the new project. As automated vehicles were shown off at Greenwich in south London, a survey revealed that 48 per cent of people would be unwilling to be a passenger in a driverless car. The poll also showed that 43 per cent would not trust a car to drive safely without a driver and 16 per cent were “horrified” by the whole concept. In addition, 35 per cent expected in the introduction of driverless cars to push up their insurance premiums.
Less is more for the ubiquitous Ford Focus. But you knew that – Despite its challengers – and there are many – the Ford Focus is still ubiquitous on British roads today. Look back 20 years and that honour was held by its big brother, the Ford Mondeo, which was made famous by Tony Blair, Mondeo Man and some ideas about Middle England that now seem slightly misguided.
India’s growth is outpacing China’s. What happens next affects us all – So India has passed China in the global growth league, with GDP up at 7.5 per cent annual rate in the final quarter of last year vis-à-vis China at 7.4 per cent. This has happened once before, when briefly in 1999 India put on a growth spurt, but the general pattern of the past two decades has been for China to outpace India.
Falling fuel price fails to raise 2-3% forecast for G20. Uncertainty and lack of jobs offset windfall gains – Lower oil prices will do little to spur global growth in the next two years as the world economy is buffeted by events in the euro-zone, China and Russia, the credit-rating agency Moody’s has warned. The claim came as oil prices continued to fall yesterday to below $55 (£36.10) after a brief rally last week and as top industry analysts predicted the value of crude would fall a lot further before any sustained improvement.
Shell boss launched counterattack against ‘naïve’ critics of fossil fuels – The head of Shell has launched a stinging attack on increasingly vocal critics who want fossil fuels to be let in the ground, accusing them of peddling naïve and impractical solutions to climate change. Ben van Beurden urged fellow industry leaders meeting in London to be more assertive in debates over the future of energy.