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UK inflation rate falls to 0.3%
The UK’s inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell to 0.3% in April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The fall, from March’s rate of 0.5%, is the first since September.
“Falls in air fares and prices for clothing, vehicles and social housing rent” were the main reasons for the drop in the rate, the ONS said. The Bank of England said last week that it expected inflation to increase in the second half of the year. By far the largest downward effect came from air transport, with prices falling by 14.2%, compared with a rise of 4.5% between the same two months last year.
The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee voted last week to keep interest rates unchanged at a record seven-year low of 0.5%. The Bank is not expected to raise rates until at least next year.
UK unemployment falls by 2,000
UK unemployment fell to 1.69 million between January and March, down 2,000 from the previous quarter, official figures show. The jobless rate remained at 5.1%, the Office for National Statistics said.
There were 31.58 million people in work, up 44,000 from the previous quarter, and the employment rate hit a record high of 74.2%. Average earnings including bonuses rose 2% from a year earlier, up from 1.9% in the three months to February.
The Financial Times
Driverless cars pass insurance book
Driverless cars could become a standard feature of motor insurance policies under measures announced in the Queen’s Speech.
The British government is keen to encourage driverless cars as a way to cutting congestion, boosting the economy and improving safety. Insurance is a potential problem, the modern transportation bill will extend compulsory cover to accidents where the car itself, rather than the driver is at fault.
The Daily Telegraph
Home energy storage is the driving force of the future, claims Tesla trailblazer
The concept behind these batteries in homes – which working together as working are known as a “distributed grid”- is that they will store up cheap electricity generated when demand is lower, then discharge it at peak times when energy from the traditional network supplied mainly by large power stations is expensive.
These batteries also known as “behind the meter” storage, would reduce households’ electricity costs by optimizing the time they receive power, but they could also cut further bills by selling excess power back to the network at times of high-demand.
Test scandals ousts Mitsubishi chief
The president of Mitsubishi Motors is to step down to take responsibility for the Japanese carmaker’s test-fixing scandal. The scandal that has engulfed Mitsubishi has widened, as fellow Japanese carmaker Suzuki said it had found discrepancies in its fuel economy testing.
Suzuki shares went down 15% at one stage on Wednesday and they closed 9.4% lower. A month ago Mitsubishi admitted using fuel-economy testing methods that breached Japanese regulations for 25 years.
The driving licence you keep on your smartphone
The photo card driving licence came a step closer to being replaced with a digital version on smartphones yesterday. Officials at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency unveiled a prototype on Twitter.
The licence would work as a ‘pass’ in the Wallet app on iPhone, it would be an ‘add-on’ for now rather than a replacement.