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Brexit bill will remove right to sue Government
Britons will lose their right to sue the Government for breaking the law under Brexit plans that could allow ministers to escape censure over air pollution.
Legislation to ban individuals and companies from bringing compensation claims against Whitehall after Brexit is being drawn up. Swathes of the law covering areas such as the environment, workers’ rights and business regulation will no longer be subject to financial redress through the courts. Since a European Court ruling in 1991, citizens have been able to sue member states for damages if their rights were infringed by the failure of a country to implement EU law. At least one group is preparing a case on the issue and lawyers say thousands of children and adults living in areas with high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution may be eligible to sue. Government figures show that NO2 pollution, primarily from diesel traffic, is linked to 23,500 premature deaths and rising cases of asthma among children. Since 2010 London and several other cities have failed to meet EU standards on NO2 levels.
Modern slaves are everywhere: car washes, factories and farms
A parallel society exists in modern Britain in which a “sub-current of vulnerable people” are routinely exploited as modern slaves by ruthless gangs, the National Crime Agency said yesterday. Will Kerr, the director of vulnerabilities at the NCA, said it was abhorrent that the practice was thriving in many areas of Britain, where slavery was ostensibly abolished more than 200 years ago. Victims of exploitation were often hiding in plain sight, Mr Kerr said. They could be next door neighbours secretly trafficked into servitude, the chatty women working at the nail bar, the men washing cars at the local garage. He called on members of the public to look for the signs of modern slavery and urged them to report concerns to police.
Britain ‘faces rocky ride’ as spending falls
The financial services sector is poised for a sharp slowdown as rising inflation and Brexit uncertainty lead to falls in everything from mortgage lending to new car sales, according to the UK’s leading consumer spending survey. The EY Item Club is forecasting a drop in the rate of loan growth and even for it go into reverse next year, with mortgage lending expected to fall by £8 billion year-on-year in 2018 on the back of a 0.2 per cent decline this year in real household disposable incomes, the first annual drop since 2013. The forecasting group, which uses the Treasury’s own model, said it expected business lending to remain flat at £424 billion but that consumer borrowing would continue to rise as, with inflation peaking at 3 per cent in the second half of this year and incomes falling, households compensate for the erosion of their spending power with more debt. The total consumer debt pile is expected to grow from £204 billion to £206 billion next year and continue to expand to hit £218 billion by 2020.
Carmakers put brakes on in dismal first half
The UK’s manufacturing sector has failed to benefit from the fall in the pound, according to official figures that show the output stagnating in June. Growth in manufacturing was flat in June compared with may, resulting in a 0.6 per cent decline in the second quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics. The manufacturing sector has contracted by 2.2 per cent since the end of last year. Car’s production recorded the largest quarterly fall since April 2009 (5.8 per cent).
Electric cars take Glencore down new road
Glencore is to drop its longstanding reluctance to build its own mines from scratch in the face of a looming rush for electric battery materials. The FTSE 100 mining and trading group posted a sharp increase in profits yesterday, boosted by rising commodity prices. Among the biggest drivers were copper, cobalt and zinc — all commodities that are key for electric vehicles.
Oil prices hit 11-week high as Opec raises demand forecast
Crude prices hit 11-week highs on Thursday as Opec raised global oil demand forecasts for this year and next while lowering estimates for production outside of the cartel, even as the group’s own output rose for a third consecutive month in July. Opec, in its monthly oil market report, estimated that demand for the group’s crude in 2018 will stand at 32.4m barrels a day in 2018, which is 200,000 b/d higher than it initially anticipated. It said prices had increased in recent days on “receding fears of oversupply as solid seasonal demand soaked up some of what is seen as a glut on the market”.
UK trade deficit widens as fall in sterling fails to improve export sales
Brexit negotiators urged to safeguard terms of trade with EU amid signs UK becoming more dependent on deals with bloc. Britain’s trade position with the rest of the world worsened in June as the sharp fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote failed to lift sales of UK-made goods abroad. The trade in goods deficit widened unexpectedly to £12.7bn, from £11.3bn in May, as exports fell by 2.8% but imports rose by 1.6% according to the Office for National Statistics. It was the biggest deficit in nine months and much wider than economists’ forecasts of £11bn. The figures are the latest sign that a weak pound is failing to boost exports, despite making British goods cheaper abroad. The pound is 13% lower against the dollar than it was on the day of the EU referendum, at $1.2988. It is down 15% against the euro, at €1.1052. Weaker exports in June were driven by a 7.9% fall to countries outside the EU, while goods exported to EU member states rose by 2.7%.
Tesla in push for driverless lorries
Tesla in working on electric, self-driving lorries that can travel in ‘platoons’ or road trains capable of following a lead vehicle, according to leaked correspondence with regulators. The lorry, due to be unveiled in September, is close to a road testing stage.
The Daily Telegraph
Stamp duty poses risk to economy because tax on most expensive homes is so high
Stamp duty is putting the economy at risk because the owners of more expensive properties now pay so much tax, the Office for Budget Responsibility has said. Ministers, peers and think tanks are urging the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to cut the duty – dubbed a “tax on moving” – in his Autumn Budget, amid fears that it is stifling the housing market. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the official economic watchdog, said that revenues from stamp duty are now “highly concentrated” on the sale of more expensive homes. It highlighted the fact that in 2015-16 just 9,250 house sales in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea accounted for 14 per cent of all stamp duty collected by the Government.
Hundreds of Asda jobs at risk as it consults with staff
Hundreds of Asda employees are on the chopping block as the supermarket looks to make changes to 18 underperforming stores. Britain’s third-largest supermarket confirmed that it is consulting with more than three thousand employees at the 18 stores about cutting staff numbers and hours. The retailer, which last week posted its worst annual figures since being taken over by Walmart, is also consulting with staff at 59 other supermarkets, but it is understood that this is about a change to working hours.
VW scrappage plan for diesel
Volkswagen is considering launching a scrappage scheme in the UK for older diesels. The car giant already runs a programme in Germany offering up to £9,000 off a new motor. A VW spokesman said: “We’re at an early stage at the moment but each of the Volkswagen Group UK brands will be considering the benefits of such a scheme in the UK.” The incentive would be in addition to the trade-in value of the car and any other government or dealer specific schemes. VW, whose brands also include SEAT and Skoda, is poised to make an announcement in the coming weeks. The company is still reeling from the diesel emissions scandal amid claims that vehicles were fitted with software to cheat official tests. It comes a day after BMW became the first car maker to launch a money off scheme specifically for older diesels. The firm is offering owners of Euro 4 or older diesels – those typically made before 2009 – £2,000 off all new BMW or MINI vehicles which produce emissions of less than 130g per kilometer. The deal applies to all-electric, hybrid or Euro 6 diesels.
Bank refuses to trim fat in notes
The Bank of England has justified the use of animal fat by pointing out it is also used to produce credit and debit cards. “Animal derived additives” were common in carrier bags, mobile phones and even car parts, it said.
Robot driver sales
British engineer AB Dynamics has received the largest ever order for driving robots, which are used by car companies to increase the accuracy of safety tests on their vehicles. The robots can test anything from the effectiveness of a vehicle’s brakes on a bend to the effects of long term issue.