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RMIReport1Reports & Statistics

Title:                Devolution: the next five years and beyond

Department:     House of Commons: Communities and Local Government Committee


The Government has announced a ‘devolution revolution’, transferring powers and opportunities to local government through a series of ‘devolution deals’. The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill gives statutory authority to deals and enables some of the specific reforms the Government wishes to make, such as introducing directly elected mayors for combined authorities. This inquiry set out to examine the contents of the Bill and, in particular, whether Greater Manchester’s deal is a model for other areas, but its scope quickly widened to a review of the way in which devolution in England is proceeding.

Committee state that they have identified various aspects of the current approach that we recommend are refined and improved now. Otherwise, the policy risks being rushed and appearing driven by a purely political timetable. We see a role for scrutiny by select committees of the secondary legislation enacting deals and the Government’s annual report on devolution, required by the Bill.

Full report:

Title:                Weekly road fuel prices

Department:     DECC

Full report:

Press releases

Latest forecast for the UK economy

Press release – UK Stakeholder – National Institute of Economic Research and Social Research

Prospects for the UK economy

  • Economy to grow 2.3 per cent in 2016 and 2.7 per cent in 2017.
  • Inflation rate of just 0.3 per cent this year and 1.3 per cent in 2017, reaching 2.1 per cent in 2018.
  • Bank Rate now expected to remain ½ per cent until the second half of 2016.
  • Chancellor forecast to miss the primary target of the Fiscal Mandate by a slim margin.

The central outlook for the UK economy is little changed. Despite financial market turbulence since the start of the year, our modal GDP forecasts for this year and next are broadly the same as those we published just three months ago. A near-term slowdown in export growth, predominantly a result of weaker demand from emerging markets, is offset by an acceleration of domestic demand as falling oil prices and a marginal loosening of policy act to bolster consumer spending. Growth accelerates again in 2017 as the improving external environment strengthens export demand.

Continued commodity price falls, the depreciation of sterling and weaker than expected data outturns have led us to soften the profile for consumer prices, which will grow by an average of just 0.3 per cent in 2016. However, there are signs that underlying inflationary pressure is holding up more robustly and as the influence of temporary factors wanes we expect inflation to recover to 1.3 per cent in 2017. After this there is a marginal overshoot of the Bank of England’s inflation target, before price growth returns to 2 per cent in 2020.

A key judgement for our forecast is the timing and pace of monetary tightening. We have pushed back the point at which we think the Monetary Policy Committee is most likely to begin raising Bank Rate to the second half of 2016, based on recent communications by committee members and the timing of the UK’s impending referendum on membership of the European Union. However, there remain a number of factors which indicate that commencing with interest rate rises soon would not be inconsistent with meeting the MPC’s remit over the medium term.

Full release:

Parliamentary debates

Automotive Industry: Evolving Technologies

House of Commons – Oral Answers – Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

John Pugh  (Southport) (LD):  What steps the Government are taking to ensure that the British automotive industry is able to develop and benefit from evolving technologies. [903369]

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade (Sajid Javid):  The UK automotive industry is already a great success, but we want to make sure that it stays at the cutting edge. We are committing almost £l billion to help develop next-generation technologies. This will make the UK the go-to location for connected and autonomous vehicles, for example, and it will facilitate automotive research and development.

John Pugh:  I thank the Secretary of State for his response. We read yesterday of his enthusiasm for driverless cars, but what specific encouragement and incentive will he provide for the more mature and greener technology of hydrogen fuel cells?

Sajid Javid:  I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised the issue of driverless cars. Britain already leads in that area, and yesterday I announced some £20 million of awards. Green energy and greener cars are also important. That is why, in the spending review recently, we announced more funding for research from Government.

  1. [903390]  Mr Philip Hollobone  (Kettering) (Con):  Will the Secretary of State confirm that since 2013, when the Prime Minister announced his intention to hold a referendum on our EU membership, foreign direct investment in the British automotive industry and new technologies has been at record levels, because foreign companies are confident that British cars will be well made, whether we are in the EU or outside?

Sajid Javid:  Actually, I can confirm to my hon. Friend that not only has foreign investment continued across British industry, including the car industry, but the auto industry has just had a record year, with more than £64 billion of turnover and 80% of cars being exported.

[ Interruption . ]

Mr Speaker:  Order. Dr Hunt, you were not taught to behave like that at your very expensive public school.

Geraint Davies  (Swansea West) (Lab/Co-op):  That was a very funny joke, Mr Speaker.

The Environmental Protection Agency in America is suing Volkswagen for installing defeat devices that cheat emissions testing in millions of cars. What work is the Secretary of State doing with manufacturers in Britain to ensure that such devices are not installed, so that we can look forward to a future of greener cars where all cars are properly tested at MOT and the public are safe in the knowledge that more and more people will not die unnecessarily from pollution?

Sajid Javid:  That is a good question. It should be very clear to all companies that if they engage in such cheating or bad practices, the Government will crack down hard on them. We will work with our colleagues in the European Commission and elsewhere to make sure that all rules are applied. We in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are working on introducing real emissions testing, with the Department for Transport and colleagues in the European Union.

Michael Fabricant  (Lichfield) (Con):  In the mid-’90s, I stood up in this Chamber and said that some day, there would be self-drive cars, and everyone thought I was mad. I am reliably told that by 2020, autonomous-drive cars will be available in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Much of that work is being undertaken in Paddington by Nissan. When will my right hon. Friend visit Nissan and other British manufacturers, such as Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota, if he has not already done so, to talk to them about autonomous-drive cars?

Sajid Javid:  I have had a lot of thoughts about my hon. Friend, but madness was not one of them.

I agree with my hon. Friend about the new technology of driverless cars, in which Britain is a world leader. Yesterday at MIRA, a world-class facility in Nuneaton, we announced £20 million of funding. That will fund some eight research and development projects in areas across the country, including in the midlands, and 14 feasibility studies. With work like that, his dream of a driverless car to carry him wherever he wants to go will come true by 2020.



Posted by Sue Robinson on 05/02/2016