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Chancellor George Osborne is to defend his handling of the economy ahead of a Commons vote to approve his Budget. He will confirm he has dropped planned cuts to disability benefits – and praise Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as work and pensions secretary over what he called “indefensible” changes. The chancellor is under pressure to explain how he will cover the £4.4bn gap in the Budget left by the rethink. Labour said Mr Osborne should resign and the Budget should be withdrawn.
The UK’s inflation rate remained at 0.3% in February, the same as the previous month.
Rising food prices, especially for vegetables, helped keep the Consumer Prices Index unchanged, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Annual inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target for two years, and last year it was zero. The Bank said last month that it expected inflation to stay below 1% this year.
Fraudsters beware: the days of dodgy car insurance claims are numbered. Technology has you in its sights.
Like everything from watches to refrigerators, cars are fast becoming internet-connected and laden with sensors monitoring their every move. A “black box” can be found in millions of cars globally, now that more and more drivers are choosing so-called telematics insurance policies. And these devices, that monitor speed, acceleration, braking, cornering – all aspects of our driving – are helping insurance companies weed out fraudulent “crash for cash” and personal injury claims, potentially saving the industry billions in losses every year.
Ed Miliband is to set out his case for why the UK should stay in the EU, in his first major intervention in the referendum debate. The former Labour leader will argue that social justice and progressive change can only be achieved by staying in a reformed EU. And he will accuse Leave campaigners of wanting a “free-market, low-regulated, race-to-the-bottom offshore Britain”. Those campaigning to leave the EU say the UK would be stronger outside it.
The government’s apprenticeships drive is failing to deliver for young people in England – with enrolments flatlining among under-25s, a commission says. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission says apprenticeship starts for under-25s rose by 4% from 2010-14 , compared with 17% for over-25s. And most training courses taken were not a step up from the apprentice’s previous level of study, it added. No 10 said it was committed to getting more young people into apprenticeships.
The Daily Telegraph
Commuters in the UK now spend five days a year in traffic jams, with drivers in Belfast battling with the most congested roads, according to a study. Analysis of journey times for the TomTom Traffic Index found that drivers in the UK’s 25 most congested towns and cities waste an average of 127 hours a year stuck in traffic. Congestion was four per cent worse than 2014, with the problem increasing in 17 of the 25 towns and cities in the report. Experts calculated that congestion across the UK has grown 14 per cent over the past five years, while in the rest of Europe the problem has eased by 3 per cent.
Britain’s manufacturing sector remains mired in recession following months of weak demand from foreign customers and depressed demand at home. The CBI industrial trends survey found that factory output fell over the three months to March at the fastest pace since September 2009, marking a steep decline in the sector dating back to last summer.
The depressed state of manufacturing comes after the turmoil that hit the steel industry last year, which triggered factory closures and layoffs across north-east England and Wales.
The Daily Express
AERO-engine giant Rolls-Royce is to create hundreds of jobs at its Derby factory as Britain’s UK manufacturing sector looks to bounce back from its biggest drop in output since 2009.The company will add 350 new roles to its 8,000-strong civil aerospace workforce there to meet a sharp increase in production of its newest XWB engine for the Airbus A350 wide-body jet. Chief executive Warren East is due to announce the jobs boost at a meeting today with MPs at which he will signal its commitment to UK manufacturing amid concerns that work could be moved overseas.
The Daily Mirror
Speeding offences have soared in the past two years as it was revealed Britain’s oldest driver caught for breaking the limit is 103 years old. And Freedom of Information data from 27 police forces for LV= car insurance also revealed Britain’s oldest speeder – an unnamed 103-year-old motorist in Wales. The driver was caught by North Wales police doing 36mph in a 30mph zone and other forces reported catching oldie speeders well into their 90s.