News Round-Up

Aug 31: Serious offenders will be forced to attend sentencing hearings; Wilko redundancies could restart; Alfa Romeo reveals 33 Stradale

Here are the headlines on Thursday, August 31

Time 6:43 am, August 31, 2023

Families of victims ‘delighted’ with plans to force offenders to sentencing

The families of victims of serious offenders are ‘delighted’ with plans to give judges the power to order serious offenders to attend sentencing hearings.

Some victims and campaigners, including the mother of shooting victim Olivia Pratt-Korbel and sister of murder victim Sabina Nessa, hailed the government’s promise of new legislation.

The promised reforms will give custody officers the power to use ‘reasonable force’ to ensure those awaiting sentencing appear in the dock or by video link. Those convicted could also face an extra two years in jail if they ignore a judge’s order and continue to refuse to attend court, with such penalties applying in cases where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

Government unveils plans to overhaul police disciplinary system

Police officers will face automatic dismissal if found guilty of gross misconduct under plans to overhaul the disciplinary process.

Chief constables, or other senior officers, will have greater powers to root out and sack rogue staff from their forces as part of reforms which will see them once again preside over misconduct hearings. Force bosses will also have the right to challenge decisions they disagree with, the Home Office said, while law changes will make sure officers who fail vetting checks can be sacked.

The move is a bid to rebuild public trust and confidence in policing after it was shattered by a slew of scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens and the unmasking of former police constable David Carrick as a serial abuser and rapist.

Lucy Letby inquiry will be upgraded to statutory, health secretary announces

The inquiry into serial killer Lucy Letby’s crimes will become statutory, the health secretary Steve Barclay has announced.

The move to a statutory footing grants the inquiry legal powers to compel witnesses, including both former and current staff of the Countess of Chester Hospital Trust, to provide evidence.

The decision comes shortly after Letby, 33, was sentenced to a whole-life term for murdering seven babies and trying to murder six more.

Estimated 121,000 died while waiting for NHS treatment in 2022, Labour says

An estimated 121,000 patients died while waiting for NHS treatment in England last year, Labour has claimed.

Figures obtained through freedom of information requests suggest record numbers of people are ‘spending their final months in pain and agony’ while in line for care, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said.

Across the 35 acute trusts that responded with data, the total number of deaths stood at 30,611, according to Labour. The party has extrapolated this data out to 138 trusts across the country to reach an estimated figure of 120,695.

Wilko redundancies could restart on Thursday, says union

Potential job cuts at Wilko could be restarted on Thursday at Wilko if a suitor for the entire retail business fails to supply the necessary details, a union has said.

The GMB union has told members that a bidder for the entire business, which fell into administration earlier this month, has a deadline of 5pm to provide paperwork needed for the offer to be considered. It said there are no other bids which would include saving Wilko’s warehouses and support centres.

It is understood that private equity firm M2 Capital has made a £90m offer to buy the retailer and pledged to retain all jobs for two years.

Business leaders call on ministers to cut tax on clean fuels to replace diesel

Business leaders and environmental campaigners have called on the government to cut duties on clean replacements for diesel.

In a letter to transport minister Jesse Norman, a group of more than 30 signatories warned of the ‘urgent imperative’ to reduce harmful pollutants in the atmosphere.

Industry leaders argued that the government should support cleaner fuels while electrical vehicle infrastructure like charging capacity is developed. They argued that price reductions in renewable diesel fuel can be achieved at no cost to the taxpayer, with consumers encouraged to switch to sustainable alternatives by creating price parity with diesel.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Marks & Spencer returns to FTSE 100 while Abrdn and Persimmon get the boot

Marks & Spencer has climbed back on to the UK’s FTSE 100 four years after dropping off the top stock index, while housebuilder Persimmon has been demoted following a rocky patch for the housing market.

The upmarket supermarket staged the return to the top tier after seeing its share price jump by more than two thirds over the past year.

M&S will officially rejoin the FTSE 100 on September 18 following the quarterly index reshuffle, according to analytics group FTSE Russell. It comes at a time of optimism for the historic high street retailer, which recently upgraded its profit outlook thanks to ‘strong trading’, having increased market share in both its clothing and home, and food, businesses.

Pret A Manger fined £800,000 after employee became stuck in freezer

Pret A Manger has been fined £800,000 after one of its workers was left fearing for her life while stuck in one of its freezers.

Westminster City Council said the employee became trapped in the walk-in commercial freezer, which typically has its temperature set at -18C, for two and a half hours while working at the chain’s Victoria Coach Station shop on July 29 2021.

The sandwich chain pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday following an investigation by Westminster Council’s health and safety team.

Investigation launched into Elon Musk house

Federal prosecutors in America are said to be investigating Tesla’s use of company money for a project described as a house for Elon Musk.

According to the Times, The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has asked for details about the project, which involved a large glass structure to be built Texas, along with how much it cost and information concerning personal benefits paid to Musk.

In Security and Exchange Commission rules, public companies must publish transactions above $120,000 (£94,354) in which an executive officer has a material interest.

Alfa Romeo’s 33 Stradale draws in the spirit of the 1960s

Alfa Romeo’s new 33 Stradale has broken cover with a choice of either 641bhp V6 petrol or electric setups – the latter with a range of up to 280 miles.

Designed in the spirit of the original 33 Stradale – which raced during the 1960s – the supercar is a rekindling of Alfa’s ‘fuoriserie’ or custom-built range of vehicles. Just 33 examples of the 33 Stradale will be created, in fact, and all are spoken for already.

The two-seater has been designed by the newly founded Alfa Romeo Bottega group which combines the firm’s designers, engineers and historians to listen to potential buyers before building a car to their specification.


A miserable day to end the month with heavy cloud and outbreaks of rain across most areas, particularly in the west and south. Scotland and north-east England will escape with sunny spells, although it’ll turn rainy later on, reports BBC Weather. Temperatures will struggle to better 20 degrees.

Rain will linger in the south tonight, turning thundery, and showers will continue to fall in northern England and southern Scotland. Other areas will be dry and clear.

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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