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Nissan builds on loyalty at Sunderland plant
Since the first Bluebird rolled off the production line in July 1986, the Nissan plant in Sunderland has grown from a £50m assembly operation into the UK’s biggest car production site. Now a £3.7bn investment employing 6,800 people, it is also north-east England’s biggest private sector employer, offering relatively good pay and secure work in an area with the UK’s highest regional unemployment.
Tories face new rebellion over Sunday trading proposals
The Tory leadership is facing a fresh rebellion by its MPs over plans to extend Sunday opening hours for retailers which come before parliament on Wednesday. The proposals, which give local authorities unprecedented powers over shops’ weekend hours, are also opposed by Labour, meaning the government could be heading for a defeat in the House of Commons. The row comes at a difficult time for David Cameron and George Osborne with the Conservative party deeply split over the EU referendum in June. Many other challenging decisions — for example over Heathrow and pension tax reform — have been shelved to allow the government to focus on the referendum.
BoE remedies funds to keep banks going if UK votes Out
The Bank of England is preparing to protect British banks against running out of funds in the event of a Brexit vote by flooding them with money in the latest sign of the authorities’ nervousness surround the EU referendum. The central bank has announced it will give commercial banks three exceptional opportunities, just before and after the June 23 poll, to borrow as much money as they like to offset any threat of a bank run and prevent a repeat of the financial crisis chaos in 2007 and 2008.
Calls to streamline national insurance payments
The rise of part-time jobs and self-employment has rendered the UK’s national insurance regime “no longer fit for purpose”, an independent tax body has warned. The Office of Tax Simplification has recommended that NI contributions be calculated on a yearly rather than monthly or weekly basis, aligning them more closely with income tax.
European prosecutors broaden investigations into Volkswagen
European prosecutors tightened the screw on Volkswagen on Tuesday as the fallout from the emissions scandal spread. As France announced it had opened a formal probe into “aggravated fraud” at Europe’s largest carmaker by sales, German prosecutors said they had more than doubled the number of VW employees under investigation.
Analysts have estimated the emissions scandal could cost VW as much as $50bn in fines, lawsuits and other expenses.
Driverless lorries to be trialled in UK
Driverless lorries are to be trialled in the UK, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm in his Budget speech this month. The Department for Transport said the UK would “lead the way” in testing driverless “HGV platoons”.
The technology enables vehicles to move in a group, using less fuel, it said. The Times reported trials would take place on the M6 in Cumbria later in 2016, with vehicles in convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry. The tests would take place on a quiet stretch of the motorway, it said. The paper said the plans could result in platoons of up to 10 computer-controlled lorries being driven metres apart from each other. It said the chancellor was preparing to fund the trials as part of plans to speed up lorry deliveries and cut congestion.
The Daily Telegraph
UK manufacturing has hit bottom, says EEF
The manufacturing industry’s six year slide into negative territory may have a bottomed out as early signs of positive output growth emerge for the next quarter. Industry trade group EEF said that “rays of light” have begun to cut through the gloom which in 2015 caused the UK’s manufactured output and orders to hit their lowest point in six years. But the EEF has warned that “risks remain high” for the embattled sector, especially for industries exposed to the ongoing oil price rout.
Pollution targets pose new test for Volkswagen
Volkswagen suffered a fresh blow yesterday when it was claimed that the German carmaker could be fined €1 billion for falling short of new pollution targets. Researchers warned that VW was likely to face higher penalties than any other manufacturer under stringent European rules drawn up to cut carbon dioxide emissions by the end of the decade
Tax on diesel is the highest for a decade
The proportion of tax in the price of diesel is the highest level in more than a decade according to a new study. A dip in pump prices has resulted in 74 per cent of the amount paid by motorists ending up with the Treasury according to the RAC Foundation.
Leaving Europe ‘would create a skill shortage’
Britain will face a skills shortage if it leaves the European Union because employers will not be able to replace migrant workers quickly, a recruitment company has warned.
Best ever February for Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover reported its best ever February, with overall sales up 31 per cent on a year ago, including an 84 per cent rise in the UK.
Volkswagen may cut jobs to pay for emissions scandal
Volkswagen may have to cut jobs in the US and Europe, depending on how much it is fined for manipulating diesel emissions tests, a company official has told workers at its German headquarters. The US Department of Justice is suing VW for up to $46bn (£32.3bn) for breaching US environmental laws. There is still no fix for nearly 600,000 cars affected in the US almost six months after the scandal erupted.
The Daily Mail
Self-driving Merc that overtakes on its own: New E-Class model uses inbuilt radar to complete manoeuvre and steer itself – but law will need to be changed before British drivers can use it
Next time you see a Mercedes overtaking you on the motorway, you might want to check who is actually driving it.
The German car giant’s hi-tech new E-Class can pass other vehicles and steer around bends all by itself.
It is even capable of performing such feats at speeds well above the UK’s maximum 70mph limit – although it can also be programmed to slam on the brakes if there is a risk of exceeding the speed limit.
The Daily Mirror
Workers could lose jobs and overtime pay after introduction of living wage
British workers getting a pay rise from the living wage may find their overtime pay docked or even lose their jobs, a recruitment company has warned. From April 2016, British workers aged 25 or over must be paid at least £7.20 an hour .
But James Hick, managing director at recruiters Manpower Group, said: “The National Living Wage will have a huge influence on retailers and leisure companies, and firms are still grappling with how the changes will affect them.