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Feb 5 round-up: Quarantine hotels delayed; Dash cam reports rocket; Negative rates prep; Mercedes EQA pricing

Time 3 months ago

  • Here are the headlines on Friday, February 5

Police sent 32,000 dodgy driving dash cam recordings

More than 32,000 dashcam video recordings of alleged motoring offences were submitted to police forces in just 12 months, an investigation has found.

Data obtained by the RAC found that 32,370 pieces of footage were received by the 24 forces that accepted video evidence from members of the public in 2019.

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This was more than double the total of 15,159 during the previous year with a quarter of the 2019 submissions resulting in prosecutions. All of Britain’s 44 forces are now accepting the videos, with most allowing this to be done online.

Ministers accused of ‘delays beyond comprehension’ over quarantine hotels

Ministers have been accused of being too slow to act after it was disclosed new coronavirus quarantine hotels will not come into force until mid-February.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that, from February 15, travellers returning to the UK from ‘red list’ countries will have to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

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The government originally announced last week it would be tightening the rules following the emergence of mutant new strains of the virus in South Africa and Brazil. Labour said it was ‘beyond comprehension’ that it was taking so long to get the scheme up and running.

Mercedes-Benz EQA hits the road priced from £40,495

Mercedes-Benz has opened order books for its latest electric vehicle – the EQA.

Prices for the compact electric car start from £40,495 – inclusive of the government’s plug-in car grant – and it brings a 66.5kWh battery which helps the EQA to return up to 263 miles from a single charge.

A 100kW on-board charger means that the EQA can be taken from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 40 minutes, or from 10 to 100 per cent in five hours and 45 minutes when using an 11kW home wallbox.

The Mercedes EQA with the sun in the background

Get ready for negative interest rates, Bank tells lenders

The Bank of England has written to lenders and insurers across the country to ask them to prepare in case it decides to reduce the base interest rate to below zero.

The Bank’s deputy governor of prudential regulation, Sam Woods, told banks they should get ready for a potential decision on negative rates. But he stressed not to read the request as an indication that negative rates will or will not be implemented.

Yesterday the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided not to cut rates below current record-low levels at 0.1 per cent at this point. However, it instructed Woods to tell banks to be ready in case it changes its mind at future meetings.

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Shell plunges to £16bn annual loss 

Royal Dutch Shell has plummeted to a mammoth £16bn full-year loss after hefty write downs as oil prices crashed amid the pandemic.

The oil giant’s plunge into the red compares with profits of £11.6bn in 2019 and comes after it was forced to slash the value of the oil in its fields last year as prices collapsed.

The cost of crude has since started to recover, but not enough to prevent Shell slumping to a £2.9bn loss in the final three months of the year.

Online surge helps Watches of Switzerland shake off lockdown 

Watches of Switzerland has shrugged off the latest set of coronavirus restrictions to deliver higher sales on the back of strong online growth.

The watch retailer hailed ‘another strong performance’ as it unveiled a 5.7 per cent jump in group revenues to £272.6m for the quarter to January 24.

It said domestic UK sales have remained strong, helping to offset the slump in sales from tourists due to travel restrictions.

FTSE weighed down as Bank decision lights fire under sterling

The Bank of England’s decision not to push interest rates into negative territory dominated the news flow and directed markets yesterday.

The call was widely expected, but the pound nevertheless skyrocketed on the news and pushed shares in London’s top set of companies lower as a result.

The FTSE’s 6,503.72 close was a little higher than the 6,498 it had been trading at before the Bank’s decision was announced at midday. On the continent, the German Dax and French Cac gained 0.9 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Teletext Holidays investigated over missing refunds

Teletext Holidays is being investigated after hundreds of customers complained they were denied refunds for cancelled trips.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it has launched an investigation under consumer protection law. Some complainants reported they were promised refunds for package holidays by a certain date, which was later pushed back.

People who book a package holiday are protected under the Package Travel Regulations, which mean they should get their money back within 14 days depending on the reason for the cancellation.

Barratt resumes dividends as half-year sales surge

House builder Barratt Developments has resumed dividend payouts to investors after notching up higher half-year profits amid a booming property market.

The company posted a 1.7 per cent rise in interim pre-tax profits to £430.2m as revenues surged 10 per cent to £2.5bn.

But profits growth was held back by a £77m charge for furlough income repayments and remedial cladding work on some developments in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

Cupra Formentor to get five-cylinder engine

Cupra has announced a new range-topping Formentor model, which will use a five-cylinder petrol engine.

Badged VZ5, It’s highly likely that this will use the much-loved inline-five-cylinder unit that Audi deploys in the RS Q3, TT RS and RS3.

That unit has a 2.5-litre displacement and a twin-scroll turbocharger, making 395bhp and 480Nm – though this will be the first time the engine has been used outside of an Audi.

Cold and snow on way

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Scotland and the far north of England will have further rain and upland snow today, says the BBC. After early mist and fog in places, much of the rest of the UK will be cloudy at times with showers, frequent in the west.

Tonight, Scotland will be windy and cold with rain and hill snow in the east. Northern Ireland will see showers. Variable cloud across England and Wales with scattered showers, locally heavy.

Tomorrow, rain, sleet and hill snow will continue in northern areas. Further south, bright spells are possible for a time before cloud and showery rain spreads from the east later. A chillier day.

James Baggott

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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