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News RoundupBack

Ministers to launch UK’s post-Brexit economy plan

The government’s plan to boost UK industry ahead of the country leaving the EU is due to be launched later.

The industrial strategy is aimed at lifting growth, which official forecasts suggest will slow due to the UK’s poor productivity performance. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the UK’s decision to leave the EU meant the strategy was “even more important”. A deal with US healthcare giant MSD to open a UK research centre has been announced as part of the strategy.

Councils make £819m from parking charges, says RAC study

English councils generated £819m from parking fees and fines in 2016-17, an increase of 10% on the previous year, a study has suggested. This figure represents income from parking charges and penalty notices with running costs deducted. The RAC Foundation, which carried out the research, said motorists should ask how their council spends the cash. The Local Government Association said parking charge surpluses were spent on “essential transport projects”. Income collected by the 353 English local authorities was up 6% and costs rose 2% compared with 2015-16, when the surplus was £744m. Many of the highest totals were seen in London, with the largest in Westminster, which had a surplus of £73.2m.

Free ATMs ‘must be available across UK’

The network that oversees free-to-use cash machines across the UK must ensure there is an even spread of ATMs across the country, an influential MP says. Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Commons Treasury Committee, said any big fall in the number of ATMs would “clearly be of concern”. She has written to the head of the Link network amid debate over an overhaul of the system. There are fears of “ATM deserts” but Link said such worries were misplaced.

UK banks could handle ‘disorderly Brexit’

The UK’s banks could cope if Britain leaves the European Union in a “disorderly Brexit” in 2019, the Bank of England has said. For the first time since the financial crisis, all of the UK’s biggest lenders have passed the Bank’s stress tests. The tests of adverse economic scenarios discover if the banks could continue to lend money to support the UK economy. Bank governor Mark Carney said they would be able to, even in “the unlikely event” of no deal when Brexit happens.

Net migration falls after Brexit vote

Net migration fell by nearly a third to 230,000 in the year to June, new figures show. It is the first time that a full year of data has been available since the UK voted to leave the EU last June. The figure is still short of the Conservatives’ target to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”. Net migration is the difference between people coming to the UK for more than a year, and the number of people leaving the UK for a year or more. In this 12-month period, 572,000 people arrived in the UK, and 342,000 emigrated.

Daily Mail owner DMGT’s shares plunge

Shares in Daily Mail publisher DMGT have fallen by 25% to hit a near five-year low. It came after full-year profit dropped 13% to £226m, and broker Liberum downgraded DMGT from “buy” to “hold” over consumer media concerns. DMGT said it may be “adversely affected by recent disposals and challenging conditions” in some sectors next year. They also warned that advertising market conditions were “likely to remain volatile”.

The Financial Times

Tesla truck will need energy of 4,000 homes to recharge, research claims

One of Europe’s leading energy consultancies has estimated that Tesla’s electric haulage truck will require the same energy as up to 4,000 homes to recharge, calculations that raise questions over the project’s viability.  The US electric carmaker unveiled a battery-powered lorry earlier this month, promising haulage drivers they could add 400 miles of charge in as little as 30 minutes using a new “megacharger” to be made by the company.  John Feddersen, chief executive of Aurora Energy Research, a consultancy set up in 2013 by a group of Oxford university professors, said the power required for the megacharger to fill a battery in that amount of time would be 1,600 kilowatts.

Ministers ‘hell bent on destroying’ UK car industry’s reputation

The UK government is “hell bent on destroying” the reputation of Britain’s car industry by repeatedly penalising diesel technology, the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the trade body, said diesel is being “demonised” by higher taxes, which are driving motorists into petrol cars that emit higher levels of carbon dioxide. “We introduce taxes, charges and Budget measures which ignore technological development, which undermine our industrial capability and which demonise one technology, diesel, despite the benefits it delivers consumers,” he said in a speech on Tuesday evening. “UK automotive is great at technology, and we are damn good at internal combustion engines in particular — just look at Formula One for proof,” he said. “Yet we seem to be hell bent on destroying that reputation.” Ministers unveiled plans in July to ban conventionally powered cars by 2040. The government later clarified that the complicated policy would exclude hybrid technology.

The Times

Smart lights will warn cyclists of potholes ahead

Cyclists will be given warnings of potholes from smart lights that detect imperfections in the road ahead and send out an alert. Trials are being run in Manchester and Dublin using motion sensors that pick up any bumps as well as any evidence of fellow cyclists avoiding particular spots in the road, suggesting a pothole. The information is relayed via Bluetooth to cyclists’ phones and collected in a hub where artificial intelligence is used to create a virtual map of a city’s road conditions. It also monitors surfaces and predicts where potholes will form before they become visible.

Ban on parking spaces in bid to cut air pollution

Parking spaces will be banned from homes and office blocks in parts of London under radical plans to cut the number of journeys made by car. Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, will announce today that hundreds of new office and housing developments are likely to be car free to boost cycling rates and increase the number of people using green public transport. A draft plan setting out housing and transport priorities for the next 25 years will propose banning parking spaces in inner London and other areas with good access to public transport. This could include centres such as Stratford, Croydon, Wimbledon and Wood Green.

Electric cars hampered by fear of charge-point clutter

Councils have been accused of thwarting the shift towards electric cars by refusing to allow roadside chargers to be installed over concerns that they will “clutter” the street. Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, said there had been opposition to the installation of electric charge points in some areas after complaints by residents. He called for tougher planning laws to give charging operators the power to place devices in the street without seeking permission from councils.

CBI survey finds optimism is low in consumer services sector

Optimism among companies in the dominant consumer services sector is falling as sales slide and costs jump sharply, the CBI has warned. The business lobby group said that morale in consumer services, which include hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure, had deteriorated for the second quarter in a row to its lowest level since November 2011. While a third of companies surveyed said that they were less optimistic about the business situation than they had been three months earlier, only 11 per cent were more positive about their prospects — a balance of -21 per cent.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 01/12/2017