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News Round-Up

Feb 1: Interest rates latest; Gov cools tax cut talk; Unhappy EV owners

  • Here are the headlines on Thursday, February 1

Time 6:50 am, February 1, 2024

Hunt: Less scope for tax cuts in March Budget than in the autumn

Jeremy Hunt said it is unlikely he will have ‘the kind of room that I had for those very big tax cuts’ in the autumn statement.

The Chancellor confirmed that he warned the Cabinet there is less scope for tax reductions in his March 6 Budget despite clamour within the Tory ranks for cuts to try to woo voters.

The PA news agency understands the senior Conservative pointed to ‘major structural weaknesses’ in the UK economy as being a factor, highlighting how the US, France and Germany are all more productive.

Electric car owners unhappy with charging infrastructure – survey

More than two-thirds (68%) of UK electric vehicle owners who use public chargers say they are unhappy with the infrastructure, a survey of consumer group members suggested.

Some 73% of respondents to the Which? poll said they had experienced a faulty public charger at least once in the previous 12 months, while 37% said it was difficult to find a working charger.

Drivers also complained about chargepoints being too expensive and difficult to use.

Bank of England expected to keep interest rates the same

The Bank of England is expected to leave UK interest rates unchanged today, but how soon it can begin cutting borrowing costs will be in sharp focus as the country balances on the cusp of a recession.

Decision-makers on the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are widely expected to keep interest rates at 5.25% for the fourth time in a row.

It comes as cost-of-living pressures have eased sharply in recent months, despite official figures showing a surprise increase in the rate of UK inflation from 3.9% in November to 4% in December.

Average motor insurance premium £157 higher at end of 2023 than a year earlier

The average price paid for motor insurance in the final quarter of 2023 was around a third, or £157 in cash terms, higher compared with a year earlier, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Between October 1 and December 31 2023, the average price paid for private motor cover was £627, up from £470 during the same period a year earlier.

The ABI pointed to surging costs for insurers, such as longer repair times, higher repair costs, and the rising price of replacement vehicles.

Minister: No legal barrier to sending cars to Ukraine under Ulez scheme

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has told Mayor of London Sadiq Khan there is no ‘legal barrier’ to cars being donated to Ukraine through the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) scrappage scheme.

Mr Khan asked the Cabinet minister in December to enable 4x4s and other suitable vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped to be sent to Ukraine, with their owners still receiving a payment.

The mayor had previously made it clear he did not believe altering the Ulez scheme for exporting vehicles would be possible under current laws.

Man, 44, charged with murders of two teenage boys in Bristol

A 44-year-old man has been charged with the murders of two teenage boys in Bristol.

Anthony Snook, of Hartcliffe, Bristol, was charged on Thursday with the murder of Mason Rist, 15, and Max Dixon, 16.

The boys were stabbed to death during an incident in Ilminster Avenue, Knowle West, on Saturday night.

Wednesday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Fixed penalties for speeding reach record high while mobile phone offences soar 93%

Fixed penalties for speeding soared to more than 2.5 million during 2022, new figures show.

Data released by the Home Office shows that just over 2.5 million people were issued with either a penalty or a driver awareness course or were sent to court – a considerable increase on the 2.3 million people who were handed the same penalties in 2021.

Tougher laws introduced in 2022 to crack down on the use of mobile phones at the wheel have seen a significant uptick in drivers penalised for this offence, with the number of drivers caught rising by 93 per cent between 2021 and 2022.

Labour is ‘party of business’, Starmer to tell company chiefs

Sir Keir Starmer is set to pitch Labour as the party to reverse the UK’s slagging growth rates with a major address to hundreds of business leaders.

The Labour leader and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will seek to woo senior company executives and investors at an event in London, with around 400 people scheduled to attend the launch of the party’s plan for business.

Sir Keir, whose party has made considerable strides in reassuring and winning over company bosses and City investors in recent years, promises Labour will ‘roll up our sleeves and get under the bonnet to fix an unprecedented stagnation in British productivity growth’.

FTSE drops ahead of Bank of England and Federal Reserve rates decisions

Despite trading up for most of Wednesday, London’s FTSE 100 ended the day firmly in the red as traders around the world await interest rate decisions from Washington and London.

In its last trading day before the US Federal Reserve decides whether it might be time to at least signal when interest rate cuts could be expected, the index fell 35.74 points, or 0.47%, to end the day at 7,630.57.

At the end of the day in Europe, Frankfurt’s Dax index fell 0.40%, while the Cac 40 in Paris had closed down 0.27%.

Today, southern England and Wales will see frequent spells of hazy sunshine. For northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, cloudier and windier with rain for northern Scotland in the afternoon.


Today, southern England and Wales will see frequent spells of hazy sunshine. For northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, cloudier and windier with rain for northern Scotland in the afternoon, the BBC reports.

Tonight, light rain for north-west Scotland and in some spots of Northern Ireland. Cloudier elsewhere, but central and south-eastern England will remain clear until cloud moves in towards dawn.

Tomorrow, much of the UK will see a cloudy, windy and milder day. North-west Scotland, Northern Ireland and some northern spots of England will see further patchy rain. The odd bright spell in places.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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