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News RoundupBack

UK inflation rate at highest level since September 2013

The UK’s inflation rate rose last month to its highest since September 2013, official figures show. Inflation now stands at 2.7% – up from 2.3% in March – and above the Bank of England’s 2% target. The main reason was higher air fares, which rose because of the later date of Easter this year compared with 2016. Rising prices for clothing, vehicle excise duty and electricity also played a part, but a fall in the price of petrol and diesel slightly offset this.

Retail sales in April beat forecasts with a 2.3% rise

Retail sales in April jumped 2.3% from the previous month and by 4% compared with April last year. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sales rose thanks to Easter falling later this year. The year-on-year jump was far higher than expected and was helped by warmer weather, according to retailers. Sterling jumped on news of the April rebound, which followed ONS data in March showing that sales suffered their biggest fall in seven years.

The Financial Times

Uber engineer barred from work on key self-driving car technology

A judge in San Francisco has banned the top engineer on Uber’s self-driving car programme from any work on a type of laser sensor known as Lidar, but stopped short of a harsher injunction, a move that will come as a relief to the embattled ride-hailing company. Uber is being sued by Waymo, the self-driving vehicles unit of Alphabet, over allegations that its former employee Anthony Levandowski stole trade secrets that were later used by Uber.

One in three people ready to ditch cars for apps

One in three people say the ability to book a taxi or minicab through their smartphone is an alternative to owning a car, in a sign of the potential upheaval vehicle manufacturers are facing to their business models. Carmakers are grappling with the prospect of falling vehicle ownership in large cities, where parking costs and congestion make traditional ownership less attractive than in rural areas. Ride-sharing and on-demand taxi apps were considered a viable alternative to ownership by 34 per cent of people, up from 29 per cent a year earlier, in a global Capgemini survey of 8,000 people in eight countries.

The Daily Telegraph

Diesel cars pump out 50 per cent more toxic emissions than they should, major report finds

Diesel cars are pumping out 50 per cent more toxic emissions than they should be if all were complying with pollution laws, researchers have found. In Europe the failure to meet emissions standards could be leading to the deaths of 11,500 people every year, the new report by the University of York and the International Council on Clean Transportation. Between 2008 and 2015 Volkswagen rigged diesel cars so they could pass stringent environmental tests while emitting dangerous levels of pollution. But until now it was unclear if other car companies had fitted similar ‘defeat devices.’

Petrol cars will vanish in eight years says US report

No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we know it for a century. This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries. Prof Seba’s premise is that people will stop driving altogether. They will switch en masse to self-drive electric vehicles (EVs) that are ten times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1m miles.

The Times

Unemployment to rise as Brexit takes its toll

The number of people in work is forecast to fall next year for the first time in nearly a decade as Brexit takes its toll on the economy. The EY Item Club expects a slowdown in the consumer sector to result in companies such as retailers, which have been hard hit by higher inflation since the referendum, cutting jobs. The number of people in employment will fall by 0.1% in 2018, the consultancy predicts. It would be the first decline since 2009. As companies cut jobs and the working population continues to grow, EY expects the unemployment rate to rise to 5.4% next year and to 5.8% the year after, up from the present rate of 4.7%.

London’s best addresses to come with air quality alert

Estate agents have said that pollution has become an increasingly important consideration for buyers, so much so that property listings may adapt to inform people of the air quality in their neighbourhood. “I don’t think it will be long before it is compulsory to display pollution information on listings,” Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said.

Scientists have blamed air pollution for the premature deaths of more than 40,000 people a year in the UK. In London in particular, air quality is among the worst in Europe. One of Sadiq Khan’s key pledges upon becoming mayor was to significantly reduce emissions in the capital. He has planned an “ultra low emission zone” for 2020, in which the most polluting vehicles will have to pay an extra fee on top of the congestion charge to enter central London. Unlike the congestion charge, it would apply at off peak times as well as during the busiest hours.

The Daily Mail

The revolutionary electric car battery that can be fully recharged in just FIVE minutes

Israeli nanotech firm StoreDot has unveiled a radical ‘ultra-fast-charge’ battery it claims can bring an electric car to full charge in just five minutes – and power it for up to 300 miles. At the CUBE Tech Fair in Berlin, StoreDot demonstrated a proof of concept of the technology it says is a ‘radical improvement over the traditional lithium ion battery structure.’ The FlashBattery combines organic compounds with nano-materials to slash charging time down to a fraction of that achieved by current

methods, and the firm says it will be available in the next three years.

The Sun

Is it illegal to eat and drive, to drive barefoot, in flip flops or to sleep in your car? UK driving rules explained

UK driving laws can be a complicated matter – and many get muddled between legitimate regulations and motoring myths. Here’s everything you need to know about avoiding penalties while on the road…


Posted by Sue Robinson on 19/05/2017