News Round-Up

Jan 11: Fujitsu could have to repay ‘fortune’; 113,000 NHS cancellations; New hybrid Corsa

Here are the headlines on Thursday, January 11

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Time 6:38 am, January 11, 2024

Fujitsu could have to repay ‘fortune’ spent on Horizon scandal, Chalk says

Fujitsu should repay the ‘fortune’ spent on the Post Office scandal if it is found culpable, the justice secretary has suggested, as pressure mounts on the firm behind the faulty Horizon software.

If the statutory inquiry into the saga, which resumes on Thursday, finds the ‘scale of the incompetence is as we might imagine’, the government would want to ‘secure proper recompense on behalf of the taxpayer’, Alex Chalk said.

Hundreds of Post Office branch managers were convicted of swindling money on the basis of evidence from the technology giant’s flawed Horizon accounting system.


Post Office investigator with ‘heavy footprint’ in scandal due at inquiry

A Post Office investigator who has been described as having a ‘heavy footprint’ in the Horizon IT scandal is due to give evidence for the inquiry’s first hearing of the year.

The statutory inquiry, which began in 2021 and is chaired by retired judge Sir Wyn Williams, has previously looked at the human impact of the scandal, the Horizon system roll-out and the operating of the system, and is now probing the action taken against subpostmasters.

Stephen Bradshaw is scheduled to give evidence on Thursday after being involved in the criminal investigation of nine subpostmasters, including Lisa Brennan, a former counter clerk at a post office in Huyton, near Liverpool, who was falsely accused of stealing £3,000 in 2003.


Longest strike in NHS history leads to more than 113,000 cancellations

Patients are ‘bearing the brunt of industrial action’, health experts have said, as it emerged more than 113,000 operations, appointments and procedures were postponed due to the longest walkout in the history of the NHS.

Junior doctors in England staged a six-day walkout from January 3 to January 9.

NHS England figures show the strike led to 113,779 inpatient and outpatient appointments being rescheduled.

Tory right warns Sunak that Rwanda plan ‘simply doesn’t work’ without changes

Rishi Sunak is braced for a Commons showdown over his Rwanda plan after being warned by Tory MPs that the proposal will not work unless it is significantly beefed up.

As the right wing of the Conservative Party gears up for a parliamentary battle, the prime minister was warned by former immigration minister Robert Jenrick that the plan ‘simply doesn’t work’ in its current form.

Dozens of right-wing Conservatives are backing amendments to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill aimed at effectively ignoring international law and to severely limit individual migrants’ ability to resist being put on a flight to Kigali. Jenrick refused to say whether he would vote for the legislation if it is not rewritten.

Northern Ireland set to be ‘brought to a standstill’ by massive strike

Northern Ireland is set to be brought to a standstill next week in the biggest strike in recent history, trade unions have said.

Teachers, nurses, health workers, education support workers, police staff and civil servants are among those who are to take part in a generalised day of action on January 18 over an outstanding pay award for public sector workers.

The 14 trade unions involved have a combined membership of more than 150,000 workers. On Wednesday, the three public transport unions – Unite, GMB and Siptu – confirmed their members will join the action.


Which? urges telecom companies to stop plans to raise contract prices in April

Consumer watchdog Which? has called on telecom companies to stop ‘unconscionable’ plans to raise broadband and mobile prices in April.

Which? has written an open letter to major broadband and mobile providers, including BT, EE, O2, and PlusNet, urging them to stop any ‘unfair and unpredictable’ price increases.

Telecom providers are expected to announce their plans after the next CPI inflation announcement on January 17. Ofcom, the government’s regulatory body, has proposed a ban on this practice, citing ‘substantial consumer harm’ that it could cause.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Ten-fold increase in heat pump installations needed to meet government target

Heat pump installations need to increase by more than 10-fold over the next four years if the government is to meet its target of 600,000 a year by 2028, according to MCS Foundation figures.

Despite 2023 being a record year with 39,268 heat pump installations, there needs to be additional policies to make them cheaper to run in order to achieve the exponential growth needed, the MCS said.

The record beats the previous one set in 2022 with an increase of nearly 20%, and while these figures include only those heat pumps certified by the MCS, the Foundation said the true number is not likely to be much higher.

Garage, pets and bills included ‘were popular searches for home hunters in 2023’

‘Garage’ topped the list of property features that home buyers were searching for last year using Rightmove’s keyword tool.

And with many renters looking for a home for their animals as well as themselves, ‘pets’ was the top choice among rental property searches.

With cost-of-living concerns still running high, ‘bills included’ was the second most searched-for term among renters in 2023, followed by ‘furnished’. Faced with higher mortgage rates, there were signs that buyers were looking to get more space for their money, with ‘annexe’, ‘acre’, ‘garden’ and ‘land’ also popular searches.

Vauxhall introduces hybrid Corsa for the first time

Vauxhall is expanding its range with the introduction of a hybrid engine on its popular Corsa for the first time.

This new hybrid model uses a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that features a six-speed dual-clutch automatic and a small electric motor. Power outputs of 99bhp and 134bhp are available. It’s the same setup as the latest Peugeot 208, while it’s set to be introduced in other Jeep and Fiat models that make up the Stellantis group.

Vauxhall says the small hybrid system can reduce fuel consumption by ‘approximately 20 per cent’ compared to a regular petrol model, with the firm quoting a fuel economy figure of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 102g/km. Prices for the Corsa hybrid start from £22,540.

Weather

Southern and western areas will see another bright and clear start but will cloud over later on, reports BBC Weather. It’ll be a cloudy picture elsewhere; breezy on eastern and southern coasts. Temperatures slightly warmer due to the cloud – highs of eight degrees.

Tonight will be similar to today with cloud covering the south and east, and it’ll be a dry night. Clearer conditions in the north, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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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