Dec 10 round-up: ‘Very large gaps’ between EU and UK remain; SpaceX rocket crashes; EasyJet home delivery; Blower Bentley

Time 7:00 am, December 10, 2020

  • Here are the headlines for Thursday, December 10

UK and EU negotiators begin final push to salvage post-Brexit trade deal

UK and EU negotiators will begin a final push to salvage chances of a post-Brexit trade deal after Downing Street warned the gaps between the two sides remain ‘very large’.

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen held crunch talks over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday aimed at breaking the deadlock, yet key differences prevail.

The leaders agreed to make a ‘firm decision’ about the future of the talks by the end of the weekend, and asked their chief negotiators Lord Frost and Michel Barnier to reconvene in the city on Thursday.

SpaceX’s Starship crash-lands after highest test flight

SpaceX launched its shiny, bullet-shaped, Starship several miles into the air from a remote corner of Texas on Wednesday, but the six-and-a-half minute test flight ended in an explosive fireball at touchdown.

It was the highest and most elaborate flight yet for the rocketship that Elon Musk says could carry people to Mars in as little as six years.

This latest prototype — the first one equipped with a nose cone, body flaps and three engines — was shooting for an altitude of up to eight miles. After about five minutes, it flipped sideways as planned and descended in a free-fall, but upon touching down the it became engulfed in flames and ruptured.

EasyJet launches home delivery service to keep cabin crew ‘match fit’

EasyJet is trialling an at-home trolley service amid the collapse in demand for air travel.

The airline will serve complimentary drinks and snacks – including gin and tonic, Prosecco, nuts and olives – to London residents, with recipients asked to make a donation to the charity Age UK.

The Luton-based carrier said the scheme is the first of its kind in the world and will help ‘keep the cabin crew match fit’ until flight numbers recover. The trial takes place on December 17 and 18 in partnership with delivery firm Deliveroo.

UK manufacturers enjoying boost from sales direct to customers

More than half of all consumers are buying products direct from manufacturers rather than through traditional stores or online retailers, according to a new report.

Barclays Corporate Banking says direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales could hit £120bn by 2023 from £96bn, and help create 118,000 new jobs in the growing sector.

A survey of shoppers found 57 per cent now frequently go direct to manufacturers.
Around a third added buying direct is a conscious decision to support the UK manufacturing sector.

Bentley produces first new Blower model in 90 years

Bentley has completed its first prototype Blower Continuation model, marking the first new Blower built since 1930.

Made up of close to 2,000 individually designed and hand-crafted parts, some 40,000 hours have been spent in the design and creation of ‘Car Zero’. The recreation was made using original drawings and tooling and data provided by a laser-scanned 3D model of Bentley’s own 1929 4 ½ litre supercharged car.

‘Car Zero’ will now begin extensive testing and a run of 12 – all pre-sold – customer cars will follow.

Housing market demand continues to grow in run-up to Christmas, say surveyors

Property professionals report they are doing brisk business in the run-up to Christmas, but there are concerns that a sharp slowdown in sales could be around the corner in spring 2021.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said house sales continued to increase across November, as buyers looked to beat a stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31, 2021.

The pace of growth is slower than a net balance of 42 per cent of surveyors who reported buyer inquiries increasing in October, though. Looking to the year ahead, an overall balance of 21 per cent expect sales to be weaker with rising unemployment and the stamp duty holiday ending in March 2021 as reasons for the subdued outlook.

Dreary day in store

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A cloudy and dull day throughout the country, reports BBC Weather. Rain and drizzle will affect western and northern areas, but while the southeast will be the direst, bright spells won’t be frequent.

Bands of rain will spread into western areas tonight, and maybe heavy. Rain will spread into central and eastern areas during the early hours.

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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