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News Round-Up

Apr 9: Alan Bates to give evidence; Easter boom in retail sales; Skoda prices up Kodiaq

Here are the headlines on Tuesday, April 9

Time 6:50 am, April 9, 2024

Alan Bates to give evidence to Post Office Horizon IT inquiry

Prominent campaigner Alan Bates will give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry, as the investigation enters a significant phase.

Bates founded the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance, and led a group of 555 subpostmasters who took the Post Office to the High Court over the scandal.

The inquiry is now entering phases five and six, which will look at governance, redress and how the Post Office and others responded. Former chief executive Paula Vennells, who led the Post Office at the height of the scandal, will face the inquiry in late May.

Lord Cameron meets with Donald Trump amid push for US support for Ukraine

David Cameron has held talks with Donald Trump in Florida amid his push to shore up US support for Ukraine.

The foreign secretary met with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate on Monday ahead of his trip to Washington DC to appeal to Congress over a stalled package of aid.

In a statement on Monday, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘Ahead of his visit to Washington, the foreign secretary will meet former president Trump in Florida today. It is standard practice for ministers to meet with opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement.’

Labour plans tax avoidance crackdown to fill ‘non-dom’ gap

Labour will crack down on tax avoiders to pay for its commitments on schools and the NHS, the shadow chancellor has said.

The party will look to raise £bn a year by the end of the next Parliament by narrowing the ‘tax gap’ – the difference between the amount of money HMRC is owed and the amount it actually receives.

It will also raise £2.6bn over the next Parliament by closing ‘loopholes’ in the government’s plans to abolish exemptions for ‘non-doms’, people who are not ‘domiciled’ in the UK for tax purposes.

Fund opens to channel £11m in water company fines to improving local waterways

Up to £11m in water company fines is to be reinvested into schemes that improve waterways and wetlands under a fund launched by the government.

The Water Restoration Fund has opened for applications and will offer grants to local groups and charities, farmers and landowners to improve rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and access to nature in England in areas where illegal pollution has occurred.

It is being funded by fines and penalties levied on water companies for environmental breaches, such as dumping sewage from treatment plants, which have been ringfenced for improving the water environment since April 2022.

Tory MP targeted in sexting scam ‘resigns as vice-chairman of 1922 Committee’

A Tory MP who said he was ‘manipulated’ into sharing other politicians’ personal numbers as part of a parliamentary sexting scam has reportedly resigned as vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee.

William Wragg has also stepped down from his role heading the Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), according to multiple reports.

The MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester admitted last week that he had given his colleagues’ phone numbers to someone on a dating app for fear of intimate images of himself being leaked. Scotland Yard has said it is investigating reports of the so-called ‘honeytrap’ scam after it was suggested that at least 12 men in political circles received unsolicited messages, raising security concerns.

Monday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Easter helps retail sales improve for boost after difficult start to year

Retail sales improved in March, largely driven by an early Easter but providing a boost to firms after a difficult start to the year, figures suggest.

Total UK retail sales were up by 3.5% on last March, above the three-month average of 2.1% and the 12-month average of 2.9%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Food sales increased by 6.8% year on year, driven by Easter falling unusually early and the subsequent uplift ahead of the long weekend. Easter also boosted sales of products such as cookware and tableware, as people readied themselves to host family and friends. Home textiles such as throws and pillows were also popular as consumers sought to spruce up their homes ahead of spring.

Ted Baker to shut 15 shops and axe 245 jobs

Ted Baker is to shut 15 stores and cut around 245 jobs, administrators have announced.

The company behind the fashion brand’s UK shops, No Ordinary Designer Label Limited (NODL), hired administrators from Teneo last month.

On Monday, they said 11 Ted Baker stores will be shut by the end of next week, with the loss of around 120 jobs, and 25 head office workers would also go. Administrators later revealed a further four stores which will shut ‘in the coming weeks’ and result in another 100 job losses.

Prices and specifications revealed for the new Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda has revealed prices and specifications for its new Kodiaq SUV.

The entry-level SE model starts from £36,645 and comes with equipment such as 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, keyless entry and start, a 13-inch touchscreen and the option of either five or seven seats. SE L starts from £40,205 and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlamps, a powered tailgate and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function.

The new Kodiaq will come with a choice of two petrol engines and two diesels, with a petrol plug-in hybrid arriving later. Order books open on April 10.


Heavy rain for Wales, northern England and southern and eastern Scotland, reports BBC Weather. Western areas will see some brightness later on; the south of England will be clear but windy. Temperatures around 10 to 12 degrees.

A clear night for most tonight, although a further band of cloud and rain will move into the southwest later.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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