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Year-long pay squeeze comes to an end
Wages rose at an annual rate of 2.9% in the three months to March, faster than inflation for the first time in more than a year, according to official figures. Over the same three-month period, the inflation rate was 2.7%. Inflation started to overtake wages in February last year, squeezing incomes. Figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that unemployment fell by 46,000 to 1.42 million.
Holyrood set to reject Westminster Brexit powers bill
The Scottish Parliament is expected to refuse to give its consent to the UK’s main piece of Brexit legislation. The Scottish and UK governments are at odds over the EU Withdrawal Bill and what it could mean for devolved powers. Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs are expected to back SNP members in rejecting the Westminster bill, saying it would restrict Holyrood’s powers. The Scottish Conservatives will vote against, and have blamed the SNP for the failure to find an agreement. UK and Scottish ministers have said the door is still open to finding a deal, although both sides have admitted they remain some distance apart.
Brexit: ‘Little progress’ in talks since March, says Barnier
Brexit talks have made “little” progress since March, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier said there was a “risk of failure” in two key areas – Northern Ireland, and how the agreement will be governed. He said June’s EU summit was a “key rendezvous” to reach a deal that can be ratified before the UK leaves. And he defended the EU’s stance over the UK’s involvement in the new Galileo sat-nav system.
Tesla’s Elon Musk overhauls management
Tesla’s Elon Musk has announced a “thorough reorganization” amid concerns about the electric carmaker’s production output and mounting losses. In an email to staff, the chief executive said Tesla was “flattening” its management structure and “combining functions where sensible”. Mr Musk also said it was “trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission”. It comes after Tesla posted a record $710m loss in its second quarter. Shares in Tesla fell 2.44%. The carmaker is at a critical juncture as it tries to fix production problems that have slowed the rollout of its Model 3 sedan, a mid-market car seen as key to the company’s success.
Backlash against diesel cars to hit platinum demand, Johnson Matthey says
The growing unpopularity of diesel cars in Europe will further hit demand for platinum this year, according to Johnson Matthey, a maker of autocatalysis using the precious metal. There will be a growing surplus of platinum in 2018 as production of diesel cars in Europe declines by 2 per cent while output from mines in Russia and South Africa remains flat, the company said. Platinum prices have fallen close to their lowest levels in ten years, a casualty of the backlash against diesel cars following the scandal over emissions cheating at Volkswagen.
EU motors ahead with rules for self-driving cars
The EU will draw up rules to govern self-driving cars in an effort to catch up with China and the US, the commission’s transport head will say on Tuesday. Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc will tell the Financial Times’ Future of the Car Summit in London that a new suite of announcements aims “to make Europe a world leader for autonomous mobility systems”. The measures, which will be unveiled in full on Thursday by the commission, will include €450m of investment into road and telecoms networks needed to support driverless cars, and a new collaboration between the EU, member countries and industry to draw up rules applying to the vehicles, she will say. The EU will also create a team of ethical experts to devise answers to some of the questions facing autonomous vehicle programmers, such as how cars should behave in an accident.
Bank of England shows green light for mental health drive
The Bank of England is one of thirty buildings that will be lit up in green to highlight mental health issues at work. Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, said: “Lighting the Bank green and wearing green ribbons during Mental Health Awareness Week says to colleagues, ‘It’s OK . . . We know the issue exists and we stand with you.’ Other buildings being lit up this week by This is Me, the mental health campaign of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, include Mansion House, the National Theatre and Edinburgh Castle.