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FTThe Financial Times

Consumer credit companies shrink after FCA crackdown

More than 1,400 consumer credit companies have left the industry in response to tougher rules imposed by the UK’s financial watchdog. Thousands of businesses, including credit card providers, debt management companies and payday lenders, had to apply to the Financial Conduct Authority to continue to operate after it began regulating the sector in April 2014.

The Times

Chinese driverless cars tests begin, aim to beat Google car

Two driverless cars produced by a Chinese automobile company today began a 2,000-kilometre test drive in a bid to steal a march over US giant Google, which hopes to release its self-driving cars to the public by 2020.

Li Yusheng, engineer-in-chief of Chang’an Automobile Engineering & Research Institute, said the drive will help test their functions in diverse conditions. “The vehicles have performed well in uncomplicated road conditions, such as urban driveways and highways, but they still need the help of a driver to navigate them in places like gas stations and toll booths,” said Li.

‘Unfair’ mark-ups are adding £5 to every tank of diesel

Motorists driving diesel cars are being fleeced by about £5 every time they fill up because pump prices have been kept artificially high, it is claimed. Figures from the campaign group FairFuel UK suggest that an average of 9p a litre has been added to the price of diesel over the past month. The mark-up on diesel is almost twice as high as the premium on petrol, the group claimed, despite the wholesale price of diesel being about 4p a litre lower than the cost of petrol.

Traffic lights get smart to cut M25 jams

A new generation of “smart” junctions will be introduced on Britain’s busiest motorway as part of a wide-ranging plan to cut congestion. Traffic lights controlling access to the M25 will be upgraded to regulate vehicle flows and prevent London’s orbital motorway grinding to a standstill at peak times. For the first time, signals will be linked to those from the local road network that feeds cars and lorries on to the 117-mile motorway, allowing them to respond better to traffic build-ups.

Road workers get cameras to tackle violent motorists

Road workers will be issued with police-style body cameras after receiving abusive threats from motorists. Labourers working on a £1.3 million cycle lane near Wivenhoe in Essex have faced rising levels of violence from drivers, including one who brandished a knuckleduster. Motorists appear to have grown increasingly frustrated after being given a 5.7-mile diversion for months while the road is upgraded. To protect the workers, the council has handed out body cameras. It is hoped that the small devices worn on the chest will act as a deterrent, with signs warning drivers that CCTV is installed in the area.

Volkswagen aiming to return to debt market as early as May

Volkswagen is hoping to return to the bond market as early as May, people familiar with the matter said, aiming to raise billions of euros to replace the costly bank loan it has been relying on in the wake of its emissions test cheating scandal. Europe’s biggest carmaker has been effectively shut out of the unsecured bond market since September, when it admitted to rigging U.S. diesel emissions tests. With the publication of its annual results on April 28, however, Volkswagen (VW) hopes to provide some clarity on costs.


The Daily Telegraph

Inflation rise: the ’13 months’ when savings made money is over

Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) figures show that price inflation was up to 0.5pc in March, a larger than expected rise and the fastest increase in prices since 2014. As a result, any savings account which pays a rate of less than 0.5pc is effectively costing money to save into, as its value is being eroded. There are over 100 savings accounts currently available that pay a rate of 0.5pc or less according to Moneyfacts, including major high street names, building societies and challenger banks.

Jaguar Land Rover to recall over 36,0000 vehicles in China

The Tata Group-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced plans to recall 36,415 faulty automobiles in China from July 1 this year. According to a company statement released in Beijing and Shanghai, the Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Trading (Shanghai) Co. will recall Jaguar XJ and XF models produced between March 29, 2012, and October 6, 2015.

Consumer spending hit a two year low in March as bad weather put people off clothes shopping

Consumer spending growth slowed to just 1.6 per cent in March, its lowest level in two years, as consumers reined in purchases in nearly all categories. The figure marked the third successive month of a spending slump and dragged down overall growth for the first three months of the year to 2.8 per cent – the worst performance in seven quarters.

According to the latest data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, women’s clothing spend fell 1.2 per cent in March and family clothing flatlined at 0 per cent, as a wet and windy start to the month discouraged shoppers from updating their wardrobes for spring.

The Daily Express

Ford trials autonomous car that can ‘see’ in the dark

Ford has announced that it has tested an autonomous car on desert roads in the US that needed no headlights to make its way at night.

Calls for ministers to follow Cameron on tax returns

Pressure is growing on cabinet ministers and senior figures from all parties to publish their tax returns.

George Osborne is the latest politician to say he is considering following David Cameron’s lead in releasing details of his income and all tax paid. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem Tim Farron are both expected to do so but Nigel Farage says he won’t follow suit.

EU referendum: £9m leaflets ‘should reflect both sides

Former defence secretary Liam Fox has written to David Cameron demanding both sides of the EU referendum debate be reflected in the government’s controversial £9.3m campaign leaflets. Mr Fox urged the PM to “correct the imbalance” to include EU Out campaigners’ views. Meanwhile Conservative backbenchers plan to use a vote on the Budget to challenge the leaflet expenditure. The PM says voters should know the government’s case for EU membership.

UK inflation rate rises to 0.5% in March

UK inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 0.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). A sharp increase in air fares, due to the earlier timing of Easter, was the main reason behind the rise from February’s rate of 0.3%, the ONS said. Inflation is now at its highest level since December 2014, but it remains below the Bank of England’s 2% target. The Bank has said that it expects inflation to stay below 1% this year.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 15/04/2016