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News Round-Up

Dec 17: Lib Dems thrash Tories in North Shropshire; New Covid guidance for Scots firms; Move to tackle skills shortages; Updated Mazda MX-5 now on sale

  • Here are the headlines on Friday, December 17

Time 6:42 am, December 17, 2021

Lib Dems beat Tories in bruising loss for Johnson

The Liberal Democrats have overturned a huge Tory majority to win the North Shropshire by-election in a seismic victory that will pile further pressure on Boris Johnson.

In one of the most comprehensive by-election defeats in recent decades, the Conservatives lost what was an ultra-safe seat to Lib Dem Helen Morgan by 5,925 votes – a 34 per cent swing. She won 17,957 votes.

The ballot was triggered by the resignation of Owen Paterson, who had a near-23,000 majority, following Johnson’s botched attempt to shield him from a 30-day suspension after Paterson was found to have breached lobbying rules.

New Covid guidance for businesses in Scotland

New Covid guidance for businesses in Scotland come into force today to help prevent the coronavirus spreading further.

Businesses across the country are now legally required to take ‘reasonable measures’ to minimise transmission of the virus as Omicron cases continue to rise.

The Scottish government’s advice includes a return to one-way systems in premises, app-based ordering and the use of screens at service points. The hospitality sector has also been encouraged to return to table service where practical.

Skills shortages tackled

The UK government has announced moves to tackle the shortage of skilled workers in sectors ranging from health to education.

More than 100 short courses will be offered at universities and colleges across England starting next September, lasting between six weeks to a year.

More than 20 universities and colleges will offer the courses in subjects where there are skills shortages, including digital, education, science and technology, and healthcare. A further nine Institutes of Technology, specialising in subjects such as advanced manufacturing, digital and cyber security, aerospace and healthcare, were also announced.


EU set to ensure free flow of medicines between GB and NI

The European Union is set to announce proposals to ensure medicines can continue to flow unimpeded from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic is expected to announce proposed new legislation today.

The UK’s Brexit minister, Lord Frost, is understood to be aware of the development and is also expected to make a statement.

2022 Mazda MX-5 available to order now

Mazda’s updated MX-5 has gone on sale in the UK.

Priced from £24,755, the line-up incorporates 10 models with four convertible and six Retractable Fastback variants available.

Deliveries will start in February 2022.

Christmas getaway ‘to be busiest in five years’

The festive getaway could be the busiest on UK roads in five years, with an estimated 27m leisure trips set to be made by car between today and Christmas Eve, the RAC said.

The breakdown rescue firm predicted there will be an average of 4.1m such journeys taking place every day next week, reaching a peak of 5.3m on Christmas Eve.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘We’re expecting the biggest Christmas getaway for five years, including a frantic festive Friday on Christmas Eve.’

Content cuts help keep BBC on track to save £1bn a year

The BBC is on track to save £1bn this year via cuts in content and scope of services, a National Audit Office report has found.

The corporation has reduced the amount of broadcast television it offers licence fee payers and the volume of repeats shown across the BBC’s three main television channels has increased, the UK’s public auditor revealed.

There was a 22 per cent increase in repeat programming on BBC 1, which was said to be a part of the BBC’s strategy for addressing a change in audience viewing habits while working within a finite budget.

Thursday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Uber passenger who made billionth UK trip wins free rides for a decade

An Uber passenger has won free rides for a decade after making the billionth UK journey booked through the firm.

The ride-hailing app company said the short trip was taken in Portsmouth on December 7.

To mark the milestone, Uber awarded the passenger free rides for the next 10 years, worth up to £10,000.

Market movements

The FTSE 100 rose 89.86 points to close on 7260.61 yesterday.

Meanwhile, the French Cac was up by 77.44 points, finishing on 7,005.07, the German Dax ended up 160.05 points on 15,636.40 but the Dow Jones slid by 29.79 points to finish at 35,897.64.

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Weather outlook

Today will be dry and mainly cloudy in most areas with some fog and mist, says BBC Weather. It’ll be bright in places, likely the north and east.

Saturday will stay mostly dry and cloudy, but it’ll be bright in some places, with the north-east most likely to enjoy the sunshine.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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