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News Round-Up

Jan 20: Tata Steel plan a ‘blow’; Alec Baldwin indicted; More tax cut rumours; Plane lands on road

  • Here are the headlines on Saturday, January 20

Time 5:45 am, January 20, 2024

Tata Steel decision ‘a massive kick for the whole of South Wales’

Tata’s decision to close blast furnaces at its biggest UK plant, with the loss of up to 2,800 jobs, is a ‘massive kick for the whole of South Wales’, a union representative has said.

About 2,500 jobs could be lost in the next 18 months at the Port Talbot plant in South Wales, as Tata presses ahead with making steel more environmentally friendly, requiring a smaller workforce. A further 300 roles could be affected over the next few years.

Andrew Gutteridge, chairman of the Multi Unions Llanwern works, described the situation as ‘absolutely devastating’ and called for Tata to change its mind.

More tax cuts to come, says Sunak

There is ‘more to come’ in terms of tax cuts following this month’s reduction in national insurance contributions, Rishi Sunak has signalled.

The Prime Minister urged voters to ‘stick with’ his Conservative government as he insisted his economic plan ‘is working’ ahead of a general election expected in the autumn.

Sunak’s comments come after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt dropped further hints about a tax-cutting Budget while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday.

‘You can’t justify a salary of that size’

The boss of British Gas’s parent company has said there is ‘no point’ trying to justify his £4.5m pay package, as he recognised that many of his customers were struggling to pay their bills.

Chris O’Shea, who runs Centrica, told BBC Breakfast: ‘It’s a huge amount of money, I am incredibly fortunate. I don’t set my own pay, that’s set by our remuneration committee.’

The company has set aside £100m for a hardship fund, which has helped about 21,000 customers since 2021 by writing off up to £2,000 in debt.

Grand jury indicts Alec Baldwin over shooting 

A grand jury has indicted Alec Baldwin on an involuntary manslaughter charge over a fatal shooting during a rehearsal on a film set in New Mexico in 2021.

Special prosecutors brought the case before a grand jury in Santa Fe this week, months after receiving a new analysis of the gun that was used.

They declined to answer questions after spending about a day-and-a-half presenting their case to the grand jury. Defence lawyers for Baldwin indicated they will fight the charges.

Christmas was quiet for British shops

British retailers saw the amount of goods they sold drop last month at its fastest rate in three years as under-pressure families shifted part of their Christmas shop to earlier in the year.

Sales volumes dipped by 3.2% in December, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested yesterday, down from a rise of 1.4% a month before.

The ONS said that there was some evidence that customers had done more Christmas shopping than usual in November, taking advantage of Black Friday sales in some cases.

FTSE 100 edges higher but retailers drop after weak December

The FTSE 100 stumbled to a marginal gain on Friday after downbeat economic data led to another weak session for shares in UK retailers.

Ocado, Marks & Spencer and Primark owner Associated British Foods all finished in the red as a result of ONS data on Christmas shopping.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.04%, or 2.84 points higher, to finish at 7,461.93. On the continent, the German Dax index was down 0.07% at the close and the Cac 40 closed down 0.4%.

Car Dealer headlines you may have missed

Sadiq Khan freezes Transport for London fares for a year

Transport for London (TfL) fares will be frozen until March next year, Sadiq Khan has announced.

The Labour mayor of London, who chairs TfL, said he ‘wasn’t prepared to stand by’ while passengers pay more for public transport.

The freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares for bus, Tube, DLR and tram journeys, and the majority of those fares for London Overground and Elizabeth line trips.

Mouthwash, teabags and sausages latest examples of ‘shrinkflation’ 

Shrinking mouthwash bottles, fewer teabags and sausages with less pork are among downsized and downgraded supermarket products as manufacturers and retailers cut costs, a watchdog has found.

Which? found that Listerine Fresh Burst mouthwash shrank from 600ml to 500ml but went up in price by 52p at Tesco, while PG Tips The Tasty Decaf Pyramid tea bags went from containing 180 teabags to just 140 at a number of supermarkets.

Which? found that over three quarters of people (77%) have noticed ‘shrinkflation’, and 36% had noticed ‘skimpflation’. Manufacturers told the watchdog that changes often reflected their own costs or helped to keep products more affordable for consumers.

Apple offers rivals access to tap-and-go payment tech

Apple has promised to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals, the European Union (EU) said.

It comes as the US technology company seeks to resolve an antitrust case and avoid a fine that potentially could be worth billions.

Apple proposed letting third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers access the contactless payment function on its iOS operating system, the EU said on Friday.

UK risks repeat of 1930s without more investment in armed forces

The UK risks a repeat of the 1930s unless more is invested in its armed forces, a former chief of the general staff of the British Army has warned.

General Lord Dannatt hit out at the shrinking size of the army, which he said has fallen from 102,000 in 2006 to 74,000 today ‘and falling fast’.

Writing in The Times, he drew parallels with the 1930s when the ‘woeful’ state of the UK’s armed forces failed to deter Hitler. ‘There is a serious danger of history repeating itself,’ he said.

Plane makes emergency landing on road in US

A small passenger plane made an emergency landing on a road in northern Virginia after taking off from nearby Washington Dulles International Airport, but no injuries were reported, authorities said.

Police responded to a call just before 1pm yesterday local time about a small aircraft making an emergency landing on Loudoun County Parkway, Virginia State Police said.

Officers said the plane landed on the parkway’s westbound lanes, only a couple of miles away from the airport. No vehicles were struck and the only damage occurred to a guardrail on the edge of the road, police said.

Drivers urged to avoid unnecessary travel as Storm Isha sweeps in

Scots have been warned to avoid unnecessary travel on Sunday as Storm Isha sweeps in, with gusts of up to 60mph expected and an amber warning issued.

The Met Office warning for strong winds and rain covers an area from south of Stirling into northern England from 6pm on Sunday until 9am on Monday.

A yellow warning for wind is in place for the whole of Scotland for 24 hours from midday on Sunday, and yellow warnings for rain have been issued for central Scotland up to Inverness and for southern Scotland for Sunday into Monday.


The BBC says today, after heavy rain and hill snow clear north-west Scotland, it will continue drier and with some brightness at times. Elsewhere, patchy light rain and variable cloud. A windy and milder day.

This evening, western areas will see heavy and persistent rain along with strong winds. This will break into blustery showers as it spreads eastwards, leaving some clear spells by dawn.

Tomorrow will be very windy as storm Isha approaches from the west. The rain will be heavier in western areas but will spread further north and east by evening. Gale to severe gale force winds later.

James Baggott's avatar

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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