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FTFinancial Times

Labour uses common ground over EU as membership to reach out to business – Labour is attempting to build bridges with business, as the party urges corporate leaders to do their “patriotic duty” and join the campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union.

German carmakers reshuffle the top– BMW and Volkswagen announced shake-ups to their senior management yesterday. Norbert Reithofer, who has led BMW to enormous success during the past eight years, will step down as chief executive in May to be replaced by Harald Kruger, the company’s production manager. The moves highlight generational transition at the top of the world’s leading carmakers. VW revealed it was poaching Herbert Diess, a top executive at BNW, to lead its underperforming passenger car brand, reigniting speculation about leadership succession at Europe’s biggest carmaker by sales.

The Times

Middle Classes facing ‘catastrophe’ of rate rise – Middle-class families who have benefited from an era of cheap borrowing will suffer the most when interest rates are increased today, the Bank of England warns today… Interest rates have been at a record low of 0.5 per cent since March 2009, but analysts have predicted that the first rise could arrive next October.

Bankers fear danger from stronger dollar – Global policymakers have warned that the rebound in the strength of the dollar could have a profound effect on the world’s economies, as recent gyrations in financial markets underscore how sensitive and fragile they have become.

The Daily Telegraph

Fears grow for Honda plant – Doubts have been raised over the future of Honda’s British plan in Swindon, after it reported a profit of just £1 million on sales of £2 billion. Honda sold 133,600 vehicles in the year to the end of March, a drop of 20 per cent on a year earlier. The carmaker had announced in March the shutdown of one of the two production lines, while industry insiders said Honda was struggling to sell its flagship Civic hatchback and needed new models to ensure the plant’s viability.

Tailback of lawsuits could drive American car industry to a crash – The American motor industry is facing its biggest crisis since the controversial bail-out of 2008, after a series of safety recalls involving faulty airbags and malfunctioning ignition switches have led to at least 34 deaths. General Motors has been singled out for particular condemnation, while problems with Japanese-manufactured airbags have resulted into 8 million cars to be recalled.

Britain pays the highest property taxes in the world – Britons pay the highest property taxes in the developed world, according to analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Independent

Ban on diesel cars is vital, says mayor – Diesel cars must be banned from Paris by 2020 and pedestrian only neighbourhoods created in the city centre, the mayor said yesterday. Driving on streets that have become canyons of pollution could be limited to low-emission cars and lorries. 84 per cent of Parisians see fighting pollution as a priority.

Part-privatisation of £16m vehicle agency scrapped – Plans to part-privatise the agency that tests and approves vehicles for use on Britain’s roads, including new types of cars, buses, motorcycles and fire engines, have been shelved by the Government. The decision to scrap the search for a commercial partner to help run the Vehicle Certification Agency, which collects £16.1m in revenue, came at a late stage: there were four shortlisted bidders, including the British Standards Institute and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which had been locked in talks with the Coalition since the summer.

Daily Mail

Insurers to check drivers’ honesty – A crackdown has been launched against the estimated six million drivers who fail to declare endorsements on their licence when taking out car insurance. The new partnership with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will give motor history details using a driving licence number, as industry spokesman said. The licence-checking system, called MyLicence, involves the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and DVLA supply a data-sharing service to the motor insurance industry.

 

Posted by Sue Robinson on 12/12/2014