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FTThe Financial Times

FCA tests new powers with antitrust probes

Watchdog investigates several companies as penalties hit record levels

A “significant number” of financial companies are facing an antitrust investigation by the UK’s markets watchdog, in its first test of broad new powers.

Survey shows post-election uptick in business confidence

Business confidence has improved since the decisive general election result in May but is still well below the peak of a year ago, a survey has found

Businesses are reporting a worsening of skills shortage and a reluctance to make long-term investment plans, according to the poll by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Grant Thornton, the professional services firm.

Suzuki hits high as Loeb discloses fund holds stake

Shares in Suzuki motor sped to record highs yesterday after Daniel Loeb, the US activist investor, disclosed that his fund had bought a stake in the Japanese carmaker

In its quarterly letter to investors, Third Point— the hedge fund run by Mr Loeb— said it was encouraged by signs of a possible end to Suzuki’s long-running spat with Volkswagen that has “paralysed the company”. The fund did not disclose the size of its stake.

Battle begins to revitalise empty high streets

Councils set to be offered powers to decide trading hours for local retailers

Struggling high street retailers are to be boosted in their battle to compete with online rivals and out-of-town retail parks under government plans to allow local councils to decide where to allow longer Sunday opening hours.

Whitehall’s digital chief quits unexpectedly

Departure deals blow to modernisation drive and is second big loss in week

(It might affect Government plans to cut costs by moving services online)


The Times

Price of diesel drops 5p in a month

The cost of filling a diesel car has dropped by almost £3 in a month amid an escalating forecourt price war, according to research.

A study by the RAC found that the average price of diesel fell by 5p a litre in July, providing a boost to families embarking on their summer holidays.

Factories ‘suffer drag’ of heavyweight pound

The strong pound has continued to hammer manufacturers with export orders falling for a fourth month running.

Export target will be missed by 14 years, warn UK bosses

A government target to double the value of British exports by 2020 will be missed by a margin of 14 years, a business group has warned.

Britons ripped off over rental car damage

Tens of thousands of British holidaymakers a year say they have been falsely accused of damaging rental cars in Europe.

Carry on up the Khyber

Royal Enfield motorcycles, first built in this country in 1901 and a stalwart on Indian roads since the Fifties, are enjoying a comeback in Britain, with the second store opening by Royal Enfield UK in Mitcham, Surrey.

Bank’s attempt at clarity is ‘seriously bad idea’

Plans by the Bank of England to release its economic update and committee meeting minutes alongside the interest rate decision run the risk of damaging leaks, market confusion and stifling debate, former rate-setters and leading economists have warned.

Productivity ‘is the key to economic growth’

Business investment and spending by consumers will fuel healthy economic growth, but only if productivity growth returns, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has claimed.

Inflation ‘on the rise’

Expectations for inflation have risen to their highest level since November, according to new data that could ease the way for an interest rate rise.

Engine of the economy slows

Activity in Britain’s services sector slipped last month and hiring slowed, raising questions about the pace of the recovery.

The sector, which includes banks, restaurants and retailers, accounts for three quarters of Britain’s output and has been the economy’s engine of growth.

Retailers attack ‘chaotic’ Sunday trading changes

Local councils could use new powers to relax Sunday trade laws to “pick off” retailers they don’t like and promote certain streets and developments to the detriment of others, a leading retail lobby group has claimed.


The Daily Express

Insurance tax hike unfair, say drivers

Nearly nine in ten motorists believe that a planned tax hike which will push up the cost of insurance policies is “unfair” and will encourage uninsured driving, according to research by the AA.


The Guardian

Nokia’s mapping business sold to German car giants

Audi, BMW and Daimler unite to acquire Here unit

New generation ready for driverless revolution

Three German carmkers have put their rivalries aside by teaming up to acquire a €2.8bn (£2bn) mapping business from Nokia as they attempt to avoid being outsmarted by technology groups in the race to cash in on the driverless car revolution.

Technology giants in drive to change motoring

The Here deal represents Audi, BMW and Daimler’s fightback against a tech sector encroaching on carmakers’ territory. But they are taking on businesses that have considerable cash resources and are not encumbered by the need to develop conventional vehicles at the same time.


The Daily Telegraph

Men miles worse with directions

The lengths that stubborn male drivers go to in order to avoid accepting help with directions has been revealed by researchers: 18 wasted miles every year.

Pendragon in fast lane ahead of the auto market

Pendragon, Britain’s largest new and used car dealer, has outperformed the UK’s booming auto market in the first half of the year.

The owner of dealer franchises including Stratstone and Evan Halshaw said sales of new cars rose by 14.3pc to £1.1bn in the six months to the end of June, double the rate of increase across the wider industry.


The Daily Mail

Car loans sales boom

Drivers are being offered cheap rates of as low as 3.5 pc on personal loans up to £20,000

Car sales typically soar in September when new registration plates come out.

In preparation for the launch of the 65 numberplate, Sainsbury’s Bank is offering car customers borrowing between £7,500 and £19,999 at a rate of 3.5 pc if they repay the debt within three years. It’s 3.6 pc for those who need up to five years to pay it back.

Skoda getting serious after all the jokes

Czech carmaker speeds to a million sales

There are few firms that have been the butt of more jokes. So the launch next month of a high-end Skoda, costing almost £40,000, is sure to cause much merriment.

But the Czech car maker, which started life as a bicycle repair shop in 1895, has come a long way since it was a byword for unreliability and poor workmanship.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 07/08/2015