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Volkswagen board to discuss fallout from emissions scandal
Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet in Wolfsburg on Monday morning to discuss the widening emissions scandal, as union representatives gear up for a fight to protect workers from looming cost cuts.
The German carmaker faces a hefty financial burden after admitting to manipulating tests for both nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide pollution from its cars.
Low interest rates hand Osborne option to scale back cuts
Continuing low interest rates have handed George Osborne a windfall ahead of this month’s spending review, leading to expectations that the UK chancellor will use some of the cash to scale back £20bn of planned cuts.
Tory MPs and Whitehall mandarins have told the Financial Times they expect Mr Osborne to announce this month that lower-than-expected costs of servicing government debt mean he no longer has to cut so deep to achieve his planned budget surplus by the end of the decade.
CBI downgrades UK growth forecasts over global economy worries
The CBI has downgraded its forecasts for UK growth for this year and next, although it said the national economy remained resilient in the face of wider fears for global expansion.
The employers’ group now expects growth in 2015 to be 2.4 per cent, rather than 2.6 per cent, and in 2016 2.6 per cent, rather than 2.8 per cent.
UK’s minimum wage plan could hurt employment, OECD warns
George Osborne’s plan to increase the minimum wage risks undermining the UK government’s success in pushing down unemployment, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned.
The Paris-based club of mostly rich nations lifted its growth forecasts for the British economy slightly in its twice-yearly “Economic Outlook”, but cautioned that the chancellor’s minimum wage policy could hurt competitiveness and cause job losses.
Retailers spurn Black Friday
British retailers are attempting to scale back Black Friday offers after the US import disrupted last year’s Christmas sales and hit profitability. Asda, the UK arm of Walmart, and one of the biggest proponents of Black Friday in the UK during the past few years, is leading the volte-face. It said that, instead of a one-off day of sales, it would invest £26m in special offers across November and December, in the areas where customers demanded savings, such as luxury food, small gifts and toys
George Osborne’s national living wage is a ‘con job’, says Tim Farron
George Osborne’s ‘national living wage’ is a “con job” that will leave people at least £8,700 worse off by 2020 than they would have been under the ‘real’ living wage, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has claimed.
Mr Farron said that research carried out by his party meant the living wage, as defined by the Government, was “utter fantasy”. The Government’s new national minimum wage of £7.20 an hour from April 2016 is a key plank of their “high wage, low welfare” economic policy. It has been used to justify controversial cuts to tax credits that could slash £1,300 from three million household budgets.
VW offers US customers $1,000 vouchers as gesture of goodwill
Volkswagen has offered those US customers caught up in the diesel emissions cheating scandal $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers. The car manufacturer is offering the money as a gesture of goodwill to 482,000 US owners of the faulty cars.
It is also offering free roadside assistance to those who have owned their cars for three years. Volkswagen said its Audi luxury brand would launch a similar program on Friday.
UK unemployment falls to 1.75m
The UK unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3% in the three months to September, new figures show.
It was the lowest jobless rate since the second quarter of 2008, the Office for National Statistics said. The number of people out of work fell by 103,000 between July and September to 1.75 million.
Volkswagen emissions scandal hits Porsche profits
Profits at Porsche, which owns a controlling stake in Volkswagen, have plunged in the wake of the emissions scandal at the VW car group. Porsche’s pre-tax profit more than halved to €1.19bn (£841m) for the nine months to 30 September.
Porsche warned last month that profits would be hit by the revelations, which affect 11 million VW group vehicles.
The company said it now expected to make a net profit of between €800m and €1.8bn this year. That will be significantly lower than the €3.03bn profit Porsche posted for 2014.
Hopes of Black Friday deals dampen October sales, says BRC
Britain’s retailers experienced a drop in sales last month, according to industry figures that suggest shoppers are putting off spending in anticipation of the discounts on Black Friday at the end of November.
The British Retail Consortium also said that with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year fewer people went shopping on that key day for the sector. Retail sales in October were down 0.2% on a like-for-like basis compared with the same month last year, according to the BRC’s monthly retail sales monitor. The drop marked a change in fortunes after a sharp 2.6% rise in annual sales in September – although those figures were distorted by the timing of the end of summer bank holiday.
Ten-month wait for some models in Volkswagen emissions programme
Work to fix some Volkswagen models affected by the diesel emissions scandal will not begin for another 10 months, the firm’s UK boss has confirmed. Paul Willis, managing director of Volkswagen’s UK divisions, warned remedial action on cars with 1.6-litre EA189 engines will only begin from the end of September 2016. VW admitted in September that it fitted sophisticated software designed to cheat emissions tests for nitrogen oxides in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK. Mr Willis wrote to Louise Ellman, chair of the House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee, to outline the timetable for fixing affected vehicles.