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FTThe Financial Times

Fidelity motors ahead with ‘unloved’ car retailers

Car retailers are being targeted by Fidelity’s Alex Wright, the fund group’s value specialist, who says it is one of the most unloved sectors of the UK stock market.

He runs the group’s £2.8bn Special Situations fund, which he inherited in January last year from Sanjeev Shah, the apprentice of Anthony Bolton, the retired high-profile investor.

Mr Wright said he had holdings in four companies that sell both new and used cars: Pendragon, Lookers, Marshall Motor Group and the newly purchased Vertu.

New-car sales are buoyant in the UK, with 164,856 units sold since January. This is a 6.6 per cent rise from January last year, according to the National Franchised Dealers Association.

But the manager said there were various other reasons for his interest in car sellers. Second-hand sales were “growing strongly” and after-sales care was more profitable than selling new cars, he said.

Scots push for extra powers over tax, jobs and welfare

The Scottish government has called for “substantial and serious discussions” with UK ministers on greater powers for Edinburgh, saying draft legislation being debated in Westminster is inadequate and incoherent.

Growth returns to pre-crisis levels for smaller businesses

Small and medium-sized enterprises have recovered from the recession, according to the Enterprise Research Centre, with growth and start-up rates returning to pre-2008 levels.

The ERC, an academic centre, found that by the end of 2014 the number of private sector jobs created since 2008 had exceeded those lost by 400,000.

Electric car sales ready to move out of the slow lane

Cheaper, longer-lasting batteries will banish ‘range anxiety’, says industry

Fear of running out of battery has not held back the smartphone market. But it has crippled electric cars.

Now, however, some carmakers are increasingly confident that their electric vehicles are close to overcoming the dreaded “range anxiety”.

Manufacturers start work on factory of future

BMW has taken the open plan office to a different level. At the carmaker’s Leipzig factory in eastern Germany, a parade of cars fresh off the assembly line passes over the heads of office workers as a constant reminder of the business they are in.

This will be the factory of the future, according to Arup, the London-based engineering consultancy, where boundaries between blue and white-collar employees are being broken down.

Businesses and councils call for rates devolution

Business organisations and councils have called for business rate decisions to be made locally, as the new Conservative government weighs its options on what has become Britain’s most unpopular commercial tax

The Times

New law will define apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are to be defined in law to stop employers from using the term for short or sub-standard training programmes.

Company pensions bill surpasses GDP

The bill for private pensions is now greater than Britain’s entire annual output, according to a report.

The future cost of paying pensions promised to 11 million people in defined benefit schemes has rocketed in the space of a year from £1.7 trillion to £2.1 trillion, compared with a national annual output of £1.8 trillion.

Roadworks are causing cars to overheat

Drivers are being told to switch off their engine in queuing traffic amid fears that a sharp rise in roadworks is putting a strain on cars.

Breakdown crews said motorists should stop the engine if they are stuck for more than a minute, to prevent it overheating.

Remember deflation? It was all so last month

Britain’s brief encounter with deflation lasted only a month as official figures show that prices are climbing again, albeit very slowly.

The consumer price index rose by 0.1 per cent in May, reversing April’s 0.1 per cent decline, the first negative reading in 55 years.

The Daily Telegraph

Wages grow at fastest rate since 2007

Official figures published later this week are likely to show that real wages have grown by their fastest rate since October 2007.

Roadworks hamper one in three car journeys

A third of all journeys by car are being delayed by roadworks after the number of repairs rose by more than a fifth in the past year, a study has found.

Ironically, the problems appear to have been caused by government plans to improve roads by providing local authorities with injections of cash specifically to fix potholes and weather damage, leading to an increase in work up and down the country.

Foreign investment reaches record level

Foreign investment has reached a record high of more than £1 trillion and shows, “Britain is the place to do business,” David Cameron said yesterday.

The Daily Mail

Business tax ‘could close 80,000 shops in two years’

More than 80,000 shops could soon close without a drastic overhaul of business rates, ministers were warned yesterday.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the popularity of online shopping coupled with a growing tax burden means almost two out of three town centre shops could shut by 2017- resulting in the loss of 800,000 jobs.

Upsurge in tax dodge tip-offs

Payments made by HMRC to informants raising the alarm on suspected tax dodgers have hit a record high

Drivers who wind back mileage for a cheap loan

Soaring numbers of motorists are fiddling their car’s mileage to avoid a hefty fine for breaking a loan agreement.

Motor industry insiders say the boom in car clocking is down to an explosion in new vehicles bought through finance deals.

Free car check

Halfords staff will check a car’s battery, bulbs, windscreen wipers, oil levels and air conditioning, as well as top up your screenwash for free.

The service takes about 15 minutes, there is no need to book and it is available until September 21.

Insurance costs

Average car insurance premiums have jumped by 8 pc in one year.


SMEs growing at fastest rate since 2008

Small firms are growing at their fastest rate since 2008 and have regained the ground lost in the Great Recession, with jobs, start-up and growth rates returning to pre-crisis levels, a new report says.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 19/06/2015