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News Round-Up

Aug 20: Calls for Raab to quit; Jabs prevented nearly 100,000 deaths; Worst brands for customer service named; EV prices in China slashed

  • Here are the headlines on Friday, August 20

Time 1 month ago

Dominic Raab faces new calls to quit over ‘unforgiveable failure of leadership’

Dominic Raab is facing mounting pressure to resign over his handling of the Afghanistan crisis as Labour warned there had been an ‘unforgiveable failure of leadership’ by the government.

The party has demanded details about the government’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan and the Foreign Secretary’s holiday to the Greek island of Crete while Kabul fell to the Taliban.

It has set out a list of 18 urgent questions for the Foreign Secretary to answer about his trip and his department’s handling of the crisis.

Almost 100,000 deaths estimated to have been prevented in England by Covid jabs

The number of deaths prevented by coronavirus vaccines in England is nearing 100,000, the latest estimates show.

The jabs rollout is estimated to have directly averted between 91,700 and 98,700 deaths, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.

The latest estimates also indicate that the vaccination programme has directly averted more than 82,100 hospital admissions – up from a previous estimate of more than 66,900. Between 23.6m and 24.4m infections are estimated to have prevented, up from between 22.9m and 23.8m.

JD Sports among worst online retailers for customer service, says Which?

JD Sports, Carphone Warehouse and Homebase were among the retailers with the worst online customer service when dealing with issues, according to new research.

Which? asked more than 5,000 UK consumers who had issues with their order and contacted a customer service team how the biggest online retailers in tech, lifestyle, fashion, DIY and homeware fared regarding issues between March 2020 and March 2021. Because of enforced closures due to the pandemic, significant pressure was put on brands’ online platforms.

JD Sports, The Range, Homebase, Sports Direct, Funky Pigeon, Scan, Appliances Direct, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse were all bottom of the Which? rankings for service, with all averaging one star out of five. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer and Screwfix were the top two performers in the survey, with both averaging five star ratings for customer service.

Geronimo the alpaca given 24-hour reprieve

Geronimo the alpaca has been given another 24-hour reprieve, according to his owner.

Helen Macdonald said she had been told by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that officials would not attempt to enforce the destruction warrant before 5pm on Friday.

Geronimo has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and his owner believes the tests are returning false positives, but has been refused permission to have him tested a third time.

Electric car prices in China have halved in a decade as US and European prices soar

The average price of an electric vehicle in China has fallen 47 per cent in 10 years as prices in the US and Europe continue to increase.

Automotive data analysts Jato Dynamics report that in the same time period, EV prices have gone up 38 per cent in the US and 28 per cent in Europe.

The average price of a new electric vehicle is highest in Europe, with EVs typically 52 per cent more expensive than internal combustion-engined (ICE) cars in the UK, while the figure is 54 per cent in the Netherlands. The only country that bucks the trend is Norway, where the average EV costs €44,500 (£38,000) compared with €53,000 (£45,300) for ICE cars.

Thursday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Citroen reveals updated Grand C4 SpaceTourer will cost from £28,630

Citroen has updated its Grand C4 SpaceTourer and tweaked the range, deleting the entry-level model and focusing on the most popular versions.

One diesel engine option has also been removed to focus on more popular alternatives. There’s still a 128bhp diesel that’s available with a six-speed manual on Sense trim, or the manual and an eight-speed automatic on Shine versions. A 128bhp petrol engine is also available.

Prices starting at £28,630 for the Sense model which gets 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, 3D-effect rear lights, a reversing camera, a 12-inch panoramic central display and seven-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Eurostar ramping up services to meet growing demand

Eurostar has announced it is expanding its timetable due to growing demand for cross-Channel travel.

The rail operator will run eight daily return services from September 6 until November 1. Five trains will run in each direction between London and Paris, and three return services will operate on the London-Brussels route, one of which will be extended to Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

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Eurostar said it has already added 39 trains to its timetable this month following the Government’s announcement on August 4 that the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals from France would be removed.
The firm recorded a 98 per cent increase in bookings for cross-Channel travel between August 4-14, compared with the previous two weeks.

Cloudy and brighter, but wetter for some

Another cloudy day, reports BBC Weather, however for many parts of England and Wales there will be occasional bright spells. Northern Ireland will see rain move in as will parts of Wales and Scotland later.

Tonight, heavier bands of rain will push into Scotland, Wales and western England. Eastern England will remain largely dry while Northern Ireland will see some rain, too.

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.

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