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FTThe Financial Times

Carmakers urged to clear the air on emissions lobbying

Carmakers are not being sufficiently transparent about their lobbying efforts in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, a situation that leading investors claim poses potential risks for shareholders. Following the VW test-rigging revelations, which surfaced in September, 19 investors — with more than £600bn in assets in total under management — wrote to 10 of the biggest manufacturers, asking for information on how car companies had been lobbying policymakers on emissions standards.

The Daily Telegraph

Business rates set to deliver record-breaking £23.5bn to council coffers next year

Councils across England are forecasting a record-breaking £23.5bn income from business rates, just days after the Confederation of British Industry warned that the system risks undermining the economic recovery. Figures released by the government today showed the amount raised by rates will increase by £400m in 2016/17, which local government minister Marcus Jones attributed to a rise in the number of new businesses across the country. But the CBI said on Monday that the burden of rates payments, coupled with the apprenticeship levy and the living wage, could cripple companies over the next five years.

The Guardian

UK wage growth slows as employment rises

A first UK interest rate rise since the financial crash appears to be even further away after official figures showed that wages growth last year dipped to 1.9%. Wages growth, which is watched carefully by the Bank of England for signs of inflation, lost momentum in December from a high of 3.3% last summer as the global slowdown in trade and turmoil on world stock markets hit the previously buoyant UK economy.

Labour ‘would create 100,000 apprenticeships’ pledge

Labour will create 100,000 apprentice placements if it wins May’s assembly elections, the first minister will say on Monday. Carwyn Jones will make the announcement during a visit to the Airbus plant in Broughton, Flintshire.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies AM, described the pledge as “fantasy economics”.

Last month, Plaid Cymru said it would create 50,000 placements. The apprenticeships being announced by Mr Jones would be open to all age groups, but there will be a specific focus on 16 to 18-year-olds, he will say.

The Times

Danger as hard shoulder is lost from 500 miles of motorway

The removal of hard shoulders from almost 500 miles of motorway is posing “significant risks” to motorists and leading to a steep rise in driving offences, according to the police. Senior traffic officers said that a move to “all-lane running” on the most congested motorways should be scrapped in its present form because it was unsafe for drivers who broke down.

Private sector workers set to gain most from new living wage

The introduction of the national living wage will have a considerably bigger impact on private sector employees than on those in the public sector, research suggests. Nearly a quarter of private sector workers, more than double the proportion in the public sector, will qualify for the new wage, according to findings from the Social Market Foundation, a think tank. The living wage will start at £7.20 an hour in April before rising to about £9 by 2020.


Volkswagen managers were notified about diesel probe in May 2014

A high-ranking employee warned senior Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) managers in May 2014 that U.S. regulators might examine car engine software as part of an investigation into pollution levels, two sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday. The warning came in the form of a letter, which was sent more than a year before the German carmaker’s public admission that its cars had been equipped with software to manipulate emission test results, the sources said, raising questions about how much senior managers knew about the scandal.



Posted by Sue Robinson on 19/02/2016