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New business in Britain’s dominant services sector rose to a seven-month high in September, the latest indication that the UK has rebounded quickly from the shock of June’s Brexit vote.
The new Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed overall activity in the sector was higher than most analysts expected — although it was down slightly at 52.6 in September from 52.9 in August, when it staged the biggest one-month gain in the survey’s 20-year history. The services sector, which accounts for almost 80 per cent of the UK economy, has been the focus of economic concerns post-referendum.
Source: Financial Times
Investors get tax break for driverless cars
Managers of enterprise investment scheme (EIS) funds, which give investors an incentive to finance early-stage companies by offering generous tax breaks, are funding tech start-ups specialising in driverless cars.
“This is a utopian future to some extent, but also when you think about some of the tech around this — it already exists,” said Tom Bradley, partner at EIS fund manager Oxford Capital. The Oxford-based investment company said it is already speaking with companies involved in developing the algorithms needed for self-driving cars.
Source: Financial Times
Nissan seeks telematics van sales boost
Nissan is to install driver-monitoring technology in its vans across Europe, as it aims to capitalise on the region’s booming deliveries market and seeks to close the gap on larger rivals. The Japanese carmaker will announce a deal with Telogis, a telematics provider, to install software that tracks vehicles’ performance and location in real time. Nissan is hoping this will help increase van sales and boost its share of the EU light commercial vehicles market, where it trails behind the likes of Ford.
Demand for deliveries is increasing across Europe as more consumers order goods online. Also, several European cities have banned heavily polluting vehicles, including lorries, from city centres, as part of efforts to improve air quality, leaving an opening for smaller vans.
Source: The Financial Times
British car owners are still not persuaded that CO2 is the main criterion by which they should choose a new car.
A survey by the National Franchised Dealers Association found that 31 per cent of drivers viewed emissions as an important factor when buying a car. That is down from 34 per cent when the same survey was done in January at the height of the VW scandal.
“Emission levels” trailed behind “cheap running costs” as the most important factor for consumers, cited by 66 per cent of the 1,000 respondents. Interest in emissions was also behind “low number of miles per gallon”, even though low emissions and fuel economy usually go hand-in-hand.
Source: The Times
UK air pollution linked to car accidents
Air pollution is bad for the lungs but research in Britain now suggests it is also causing more car accidents. In one area covering west London, as many as four extra traffic accidents a day could be triggered by a spike in dirty air levels, according to a study by Lutz Sager, an environmental economist at the London School of Economics.
His working paper on the link between pollution and accidents focuses on pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, a gas from diesel cars and other vehicles that has been a problem in London and other UK urban areas for many years. The research suggests that even a small rise in the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide — just 1 microgramme per cubic metre — is enough to increase the average number of accidents each day by 2 per cent, with cities suffering the biggest effects.
Driving tests often feature in lists of life’s most scary experiences. But probably not in Mexico, because drivers do not have to take one. This is one of the bizarre facts revealed by a new infographic, which charts how wildly tests differ around the world. At the other end of the scale Japan and Finland are some of the most difficult countries in which to undertake a driving test.
In Japan people must take a practical and theory test along with an aptitude test, which tests vision colour blindness, hearing and physical fitness.
In Denmark students can be asked to perform figure of eights and reverse slaloms. In Finland, students must have had 18 hours of practical lessons and could be asked to demonstrate their skid control in icy weather and their ability to drive at night.
Source: The Daily Mail
The hazards of driving under the influence (of happiness): Motorists have no idea how their mood can affect them
You wouldn’t dream of drink-driving, but how about getting behind the wheel while intoxicated with joy? Happiness and other emotions can lead to us speeding, jumping red lights and daydreaming, triggering near-misses and accidents, experts have warned. Yet around half of motorists have no idea their mood can affect their ability to drive. A survey of 2,000 British drivers found that only 49% believed driving when emotional was potentially dangerous.
The results also suggested about 3.2million have had an accident or near-miss as a result of emotional driving and another 4.5million have committed a traffic offence.
Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said: ‘If you’re giddy with joy, you’re likely to be self-absorbed, which may impair your concentration. When feeling happy, your heart rate could increase from a standard 60 beats per minute to 100.’
Source: The Daily Mail