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News Round-Up

Apr 27: King returns to public duties; Parking companies accused of confusing; Four deny Patisserie Valerie fraud

Here are the headlines for Saturday, April 27

Time 6:14 am, April 27, 2024

King returns to public-facing royal duties

News of the King’s return to public-facing royal duties following the positive effect of his cancer treatment has been welcomed by wellwishers.

Charles has been receiving care as an outpatient since early February, and the announcement will be a boost for the monarchy coming to terms with King and the Princess of Wales as cancer patients.

Royal commentator Jennie Bond said Charles is ‘known to be a workaholic’ and ‘genuinely wants to get on with the business of being King as soon and as fully as he can’.

Private parking companies accused of ‘confusing drivers’

Private parking companies have been accused of ‘confusing drivers’ after introducing a new code of conduct.

The RAC said the sector’s decision to create its own set of rules ‘muddies the waters’ amid delays in new Government regulations being implemented.

The code of practice launched by two industry bodies includes a 10-minute grace period for motorists to leave a car park after the parking period they paid for ends.

Four deny Patisserie Valerie fraud

The former chief financial officer of Patisserie Valerie along with three other defendants, including his wife, have denied being part of a plot to commit fraud at the collapsed cafe chain.

Christopher Marsh, a former director and chief financial officer of Patisserie Holdings (PHP), the company behind Patisserie Valerie, and his wife, accountant Louise Marsh, were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

They appeared in the dock at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Friday alongside Marsh’s former number two, financial controller Pritesh Mistry, and financial consultant Nilesh Lad.

All four defendants were released on conditional bail and the trial has been set for March 2, 2026.

BME women ‘twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts

Black and minority ethnic women are twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men, research suggests.

The TUC said its analysis of official data showed that BME workers, particularly women, were more likely to be employed on some of the worst contracts.

The union organisation said the study showed that 5.9% of BME women in work are on zero-hours contracts compared with 2.7% of white men.

BME workers were said to be ‘significantly overrepresented’ on zero-hours contracts compared with white workers.

John Lewis publishes interview questions online

John Lewis has started publishing interview questions online, in a move which could benefit neurodiverse applicants.

People applying for jobs at the retail group, which also includes Waitrose, can now view a list of compliancy-based interview questions on its website.

The move is designed so applicants can take the time to think about their past experiences and skills, and prepare different examples to take to interview.

It is expected to help the retailer attract people from a variety of backgrounds, and to have specific benefits for neurodiverse people, which can include autistic people, or those with ADHD or dyslexia.

Friday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

NatWest retreated from race for cheaper mortgages in 2023

NatWest has revealed its mortgage lending nearly halved at the start of the year as it retreated from parts of the market when competition among lenders stepped up.

The banking group said new mortgage lending totalled £5.2 billion in the first three months of the year, down from £9.9 billion the previous year.

Paul Thwaite, NatWest’s chief executive, said demand for mortgages reduced throughout 2023 and there were fewer deals on offer.

London stocks surge again

London’s market rally continued on Friday as the FTSE 100 lifted to its latest record closing price, with the recent takeover frenzy continuing.

Anglo American was higher again despite rebuffing its mammoth takeover bid from BHP, while a private equity swoop for Darktrace helped drive the FTSE 250 to strong gains.

The FTSE 100 was also boosted by a strong reception to NatWest’s latest trading update.

London’s top index finished 60.97 points, or 0.75%, higher to end the day at 8,139.83.

Weather outlook

Clouds and outbreaks of rain that begin in the south today will continue to push north, according to the Met Office.

The north will experience some sunny and rainy spells today with it feeling cool for late April.

Tonight, the rain will become heavy at times in the south but in the north it will be mainly dry with light winds.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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