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NewspaperUpdate5The Financial Times

Driverless cars may lead to more crashes, says UK insurance group

Driverless car technology may give consumers a “false sense of security” that leads to an increase in the number of accidents in the short term, a leading insurance trade body has cautioned. The warning from the Association of British Insurers goes against conventional wisdom in the car industry that self-driving cars will lead to fewer collisions because the cars do not get distracted.

James Dalton, an ABI director, said there “is a danger some accidents could be caused by motorists thinking they can stop paying attention to the road before the technology is sufficiently advanced”.

Legislation is planned that will allow cars to drive themselves on motorways in 2018, while full autonomy could be permitted as early as 2021 in the UK and parts of Europe.

The Daily Telegraph

The Apprenticeship levy sends ‘chilling effect’ through business, BCC warns

Employers are resizing successful training schemes to cope with the burden of an apprenticeship levy that has sent a “chilling effect” through business, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The business lobby group warned that Britain’s skills shortage could get worse unless the Government clarified the terms of the new scheme as quickly as possible. “Business are telling us that uncertainty around the apprenticeship levy is having an impact on them, both on their profits and on their training offers,” said Adam Marshall, acting director-general of the BCC.

The Guardian

Driverless cars will be ‘seismic challenge’ for insurance firms

Driverless cars are expected to prevent the vast majority of crashes and hugely reduce the cost of insuring a car, according to industry experts.

The Swedish carmaker’s boss, Håkan Samuelsson, will cite US government research predicting that driverless cars will lead to an 80% fall in the number of car crashes by 2035.  Even when an accident cannot be avoided, the impact speed will also drop due to automatic crash avoidance systems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Premiums in the 14 largest car markets in the world are set to drop by $20bn (£13.5bn) by 2020 alone, according to their projections.

Employers taking ‘drastic steps’ to cope with national living wage

The creation of the National Living Wage was the headline announcement of the budget in July 2015. The chancellor George Osborne set a rate of £7.20 per hour for all workers aged 25 and older, which came into force on April 1, 2016.

He also set a target of £9 per hour by 2020. One month on, there are concerns that the National Living Wage may be affecting job creation and employment. Prior to April, the Office of Budget Responsibility predicted that the increase in wage costs to businesses would lead to 60,000 workers losing their jobs and four million fewer working hours per week in the UK.

The impact on businesses could also be significant. According to research conducted by insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, just under 60,000 businesses are already in a “dire financial state” and will be “stretched to breaking point” by the living wage. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries are cited as those most affected as they tend to rely on lower paid labour.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 06/05/2016