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Consumer confidence has seen its sharpest drop in 21 years after the UK vote to leave the EU, a survey suggests. The market research firm GfK conducted a one-off online survey of 2,000 people after the result was known. Its confidence index fell by eight points to minus nine, a drop not since seen December 1994. Less confident consumers tend to curb their spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the UK economy. It is also one measure watched by the Bank of England when deciding its next move on interest rates. Governor Mark Carney has already warned the UK’s economic outlook is “challenging” following the decision to leave the EU.
Electric car drivers to pay for Ecotricity charging points
Drivers of electric vehicles will soon have to pay to use a major network of charging points. Since 2011, Stroud-based Ecotricity has installed nearly 300 electric chargers across the country and powered more than 30 million miles for free. But from Monday, motorists will have to pay £5 for a 20-minute rapid charge at its electricity pumps. A spokesman for the firm said, it would still be “significantly less” than the cost of running a petrol or diesel car. He added that a payment system was being introduced to “maintain and grow” the network, which will remain free for Ecotricity domestic energy customers.
Brussels has upped the ante in its clash with Volkswagen over the German carmaker’s refusal to compensate VW car owners in Europe caught up in the “Dieselgate” scandal, with officials warning there could be negative consequences for the whole automobile industry. The European Commission is strongly objecting to how VW has offered US owners of diesel cars that were equipped with software to cheat emissions tests up to $10,000 each in compensation, but nothing to their European counterparts.
EU officials said VW’s blunt refusal to make a gesture to car owners in Europe could do reputational damage to the wider industry, with a knock-on effect on the reception that the sector will get when it tries to lobby the regional bloc on other issues.