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Crackdown on high-interest lending announced by FCA
The rent-to-own sector faces a cap on prices similar to limits on the cost of payday loans, but the financial regulator will not impose an immediate similar restriction on overdrafts. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has spent nearly two years studying borrowing at high interest rates. It has now outlined a package of plans for rent-to-own, doorstep lending and catalogue shopping. High-cost credit is used by three million people in the UK.
Brexit: Time is running out, big business warns May
A group of major European companies has warned the Prime Minister they may cut investment without more clarity over the terms of Britain’s EU exit. Business leaders, including from BP, BMW, Nestle, and Vodafone, told Theresa May that “time is running out”. In a statement after the Downing Street meeting, they said that a trade deal with the EU must be “frictionless as with a customs union”. Downing Street said that the meeting had been “open and productive”. The industry leaders warned that “uncertainty causes less investment.”
UK car production accelerates 5% in April
British car plants have seen a 4 per cent fall in output so far this year amid falling sales at home, in spite of a small production rise during April. UK car production in April rose by 5.2 per cent to 127,952 cars, but over the first four months remains down 3.9 per cent at 568,378, caused by a sharp fall in UK sales and falling exports, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Thursday. The small boost last month was compared to a sharp fall in April a year ago, which was caused by a large drop in sales as well as the timing of the Easter bank holiday.
Oil majors plug into electric vehicle technology
BP’s $20m investment last week in StoreDot, the Israeli developer of ultra-fast-charging batteries, was small change in comparison with the billions of dollars poured into oil and gas each year by the UK energy group. But it added to a series of recent deals by BP and its rivals aimed at giving them a position in the electric vehicle (EV) technology, which many analysts believe will eventually push global oil demand into decline. “They are trying to figure out what can replace the best cash cow in the world, which is a very hard problem,” said Olaf Sakkers, partner at Maniv Mobility, an Israeli venture capital group specialising in transportation technology. As well as investing in StoreDot, BP agreed a partnership in May with NIO Capital, a Chinese private equity group, to invest in “advanced mobility” technology in China. This followed its January acquisition of a stake in FreeWire, a US company developing rapid-charging infrastructure for EVs.
Parents’ desperate plea for tougher punishments for drivers using phones
The family of a toddler left brain-damaged after a road accident are calling for tougher sentences for those found guilty of causing serious injury whilst driving. Kai Khetani, who was two years old at the time of the accident in 2016, was crossing the road with his grandfather in northwest London when a vehicle ran a red light and hit them. Currently, there is a five-year maximum sentence for an individual found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The Khetani family’s local MP, Conservative Bob Blackman, has backed the family’s calls for tougher sentencing. The Harrow East MP said: “I want the family to feel justice has been served, given the circumstances and life-changing injuries inflicted upon the young boy.” Last year, the government agreed to increase maximum sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving to life behind bars. But neither this, nor bigger fines for drivers caught using handheld phones, seems to be stopping people from taking risks behind the wheel. In March 2017, the Department for Transport doubled spot fines for drivers caught using handheld mobile phones – it’s now £200 and six penalty points. But government figures reveal that since then, more than 26,000 motorists have been caught on their phones – 500 of these were drivers who had only had their licence for two years or less.
NEW DRIVER LAWS: With one week to go, make sure you’re prepared
This year a series of changes to driving rules in the UK become law, so it’s important to know what you need to do. Some, like rules around MOTs, changed this month, while others come into place on June 4. Here’s some information to help you prepare for the new legal requirements for motorists.
How a pothole could cost you nearly two month’s wages: Damage to cars results in some repairs costing £3,800
All motorists hate potholes. But some will loathe them more than others when they see the size of the repair bill for damages they cause. In the most extreme cases recorded in the last two months, some drivers are having to fork out nearly twice the average national monthly wage to get their cars repaired following an encounter with a crater in the road. Online car maintenance expert MotorEasy said claims for axle and suspension repairs are increasing, and one case came to a total value of more than £3,800. According to the latest data, the average monthly earning in the UK is £2,060. And according to MotorEasy, which provides extended vehicle warranties for around 30,000 customers, one owner of a Range Rover Sport who had clattered through a pothole was handed a bill amounting to £3,863. They weren’t the only one being presented with repair invoice for thousands.