News Round-Up

Feb 28: £31m package to protect MPs; Crooked House pub to be rebuilt; Cupra cuts Born prices

Here are the headlines on Wednesday, February 28

Time 6:50 am, February 28, 2024

Home Office unveils £31m security package to protect MPs from threats

Security measures for MPs will be bolstered with a £31m package that will include providing elected politicians with a dedicated police contact to liaise with over safety issues.

Home secretary James Cleverly, who made the funding announcement, will meet with police chiefs on Wednesday to discuss what more can be done to improve the safety of MPs.

The extra funding follows fears about MPs being targeted and intimidated by demonstrators in recent months, particularly by those demanding action to bring an end to the fighting in the Israel-Hamas war.

Harry awaits judgment in High Court challenge over change to personal security

The Duke of Sussex is to discover whether he has won a High Court challenge against the government over a decision to change the level of his personal security when he visits the UK.

Harry took legal action against the Home Office over the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) that he should receive a different degree of protection when in the country.

Following a hearing in December, retired High Court judge Sir Peter Lane is set to issue his ruling over the case on Wednesday.

Cleverly questions what regular pro-Palestine protests are hoping to achieve

The home secretary has said pro-Palestine protesters have ‘made their point’ and questioned whether holding regular marches ‘adds value’ to their calls for an immediate ceasefire.

James Cleverly, in an interview with The Times, questioned what future demonstrations in support of ending the violence in Gaza hoped to achieve given the Conservative UK government was in ‘disagreement’ with their position.

Rishi Sunak’s administration supports an immediate pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas to allow hostages to be released and for aid to enter the territory.

Sir Keir Starmer’s popularity holds up despite tricky period for Labour – poll

Sir Keir Starmer remains more popular with the public than Rishi Sunak and continues to be seen as having a better understanding of the problems facing the country, a poll has shown.

Despite a difficult few weeks for the Opposition leader, during which he faced a rebellion over Gaza, the suspension of two parliamentary candidates over perceived antisemitism and claims he applied pressure on the House of Commons Speaker ahead of a key debate, Sir Keir’s favourability with voters appears to have improved slightly.

The latest poll by Ipsos shows 30% of voters view the Labour leader favourably, a two-point increase since January, while his unfavourable rating remained unchanged at 41%.

Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

More than 140,000 businesses debanked by major lenders over past year, MPs say

More than 140,000 business accounts were closed by major banks in the past year, as they moved to clamp down on financial crime and get rid of unused accounts, new data has shown.

A group of MPs on the Treasury Committee gathered the information as part of a probe into how many small to medium businesses (SMEs) face being debanked.

It found that out of about 5.3m accounts held by SMEs, 141,620 were forcibly closed by banks, based on figures given by large high street lenders. This amounts to about 2.7% of the total amount.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump win Michigan primaries

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump won the Michigan primaries on Tuesday, further solidifying the all-but-certain rematch between the two.

Biden defeated Minnesota representative Dean Phillips, his one significant opponent left in the Democratic primary.

As for Trump, he has now swept the first five states on the Republican primary calendar. The Trump campaign is looking to lock up the 1,215 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination sometime in mid-March.

Owners of Crooked House ordered to rebuild West Midlands pub destroyed by fire

The owners of the Crooked House have been ordered to rebuild the pub ‘back to what it was’ prior to the suspected arson attack which destroyed it last year.

South Staffordshire Council announced that it had served an enforcement notice on the owners on Tuesday.

The owners have 30 days to appeal and the notice must be complied with within three years.

Vodafone completes 3G network switch off

Vodafone has completed the switch off of its legacy 3G network, the mobile operator has said, as it repurposes 3G radio frequencies to be used by newer 4G and 5G networks.

The 3G switch off is being carried out by all major mobile operators to free up network space for 4G and 5G, which allow for faster data services and better voice calls.

Confirmation of the completion of Vodafone’s switch off follows a similar announcement from EE, while Three has previously said it will turn off its 3G network by the end of 2024.

AI will ‘change nature’ of accounting, says Sage boss

AI is set to ‘change the nature’ of the accountancy profession and will lead to fewer but more productive jobs, according to the boss of accounting software firm Sage.

Steve Hare, chief executive of Sage, said the advance of generative AI will soon be relied on by many small businesses to handle basic accounting work, such as tax returns, which were once the bread-and-butter of the industry.

He said AI will also help plug a mounting shortage of workers to handle the more basic finance and accounting jobs, which has been leaving many small and medium-sized businesses with recruiting headaches. Hare told the PA news agency that AI will ‘change the nature of jobs’ and there will be no more accountants taking shoeboxes full of receipts and working out tax returns.

Cupra applies range-wide price cuts to electric Born

The Cupra Born has had its price reduced by £2,350 across the range to help boost its appeal to UK drivers.

The trim levels have been simplified and the entry-level Born now starts from £34,125 and rises to £41,385 for the top-of-the-line V3 77kWh e-Boost.

Customers who order before March 31st 2024 will receive a complimentary Ohme home charger installation and a pre-paid £750 MasterCard for every retail purchase.


Rain and fog will gradually clear the south this morning, reports BBC Weather. Rain will spread eastwards with heavy bursts for Wales and central England. A breezy day with highs of around nine to 10 degrees.

A cloudy night with outbreaks of heavy rain moving south-eastwards. The rain will reach the south by dawn; clear in the north.

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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