Government ‘fully committed’ to National Insurance increase, says No 10
No 10 has sought to dismiss reports that Boris Johnson is ‘wobbling’ over increasing National Insurance, saying the Government is ‘fully committed’ to introducing the tax rise in the spring.
The PM is under pressure from some Conservative MPs to scrap or at least delay the increase to win back support as he awaits the findings of Whitehall and police inquiries into claims of lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street.
The Times cited a Government source as saying Mr Johnson is ‘wobbling’ over the rise, which is designed to tackle the Covid-induced NHS backlog and reform social care, with the newspaper suggesting he is considering delaying the policy for 12 months to appease critics on the right of the party.
Partygate report due at No 10 within days as police deny delaying publication
Boris Johnson could finally get sight of the highly-anticipated ‘partygate’ inquiry as early as this weekend, after police insisted they had not delayed its publication.
Reports circulated of a potential outside challenger for the Tory leadership as the wait continued for the official investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray into possible lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall.
It is widely believed that either Chancellor Rishi Sunak or Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are frontrunners to win the top job if the PM is ousted.
Omicron strain ‘has greater growth rate and may be more transmissible’
A strain of Omicron that is being monitored by experts has a greater growth rate than the original version and transmission of it among household contacts is likely to be higher, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.
The BA.2 strain is a sub-lineage of the now dominant original Omicron variant known as BA.1.
Last week it was designated a variant under investigation and on Friday UKHSA said that as of January 24 there had been 1,072 confirmed cases identified in England.
Boris Johnson to visit region amid rising Russia-Ukraine tensions
Boris Johnson will ‘ramp up deterrence to avoid bloodshed’ between Russia and Ukraine with a visit to the region in the coming days amid rising tensions, it is understood.
The Prime Minister is determined to ‘accelerate diplomatic efforts’ during a trip in the coming days and will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin over a phone call.
It comes after he asked defence and security chiefs to consider further defensive military options in Europe during a high-level intelligence briefing on the situation last week.
Germany: Brexit pushed exports to UK down 2.5 per cent last year
German exports to the UK dropped another 2.5 per cent last year, the first full year of Brexit, following a huge decline in 2020 in the first stage of the coronavirus pandemic, official figures show.
Exports from Germany – Europe’s biggest economy – totalled €65.4bn (£54.5 billion) in 2021, according to preliminary figures from the German Federal Statistical Office.
It said that the drop, which followed a 15.3 per cent decrease in 2020, was a result of Brexit.
Friday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed
- Arnold Clark director faces £64.8m tax bill after dealer group’s performance rockets
- Hyundai launches its first UK ‘Electrified’ dealership in Bluewater shopping centre
- Carrs Ferrari moves to bigger site in Exeter
- Used SUVs grabbed highest retail margins in December
- New aftersales package gives boost to Nissan dealer network with savings for drivers
- Availability and cost of used car stock remain biggest concerns for dealers in 2022
- Volkswagen’s new electric ID.5 goes on sale with range of up to 313 miles
- Man who poured corrosive liquid over 13 cars at dealerships ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work
- Stellantis announces new plant directors for its manufacturing sites in the UK
- Commercial vehicle production soars but engine manufacturing is down
- Three major electrification projects announced in triple boost for Britain’s growing EV industry
Thousands could be in line for motor insurance refund from Tesco Bank
Thousands of Tesco Bank customers will be entitled to a refund after the lender told them their no claims bonus protection would be around £1.2m cheaper collectively than it actually was.
In writing to 124,451 customers between April 2020 and September last year, Tesco Bank misled them into thinking their policies would be £10 cheaper than reality.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the bank will now explain the situation to customers, who can choose to keep the policy or get a refund.
Toyota looks to the moon and beyond with new lunar vehicle
Toyota is working with Japan’s space agency to produce a lunar exploration vehicle as part of its ambitions to help people live on the moon by 2040, and beyond that – Mars.
The vehicle being developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is called the Lunar Cruiser, with the name paying homage to the Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle.
Its launch is set for the late 2020s.
Gordon Murray Automotive reveals £1.37m T.33 supercar
Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed the T.33, a V12-engined supercar that costs £1.37 million – before taxes.
It has been designed to be ‘the world’s most accomplished all-round two-seater V12 supercar’ and follows on from the T.50 supercar, itself a technological wonder.
It’s the second model to come from GMA and will sit beneath the T.50 halo car – though with its incredible price tag it could hardly be called the entry level for the line-up.
Read the full story here.
FTSE falls in tough day for markets across Europe
The FTSE 100 ended the in the red yesterday in what was a difficult day for markets across Europe.
The British stock index closed on 7,466.07 – a fall of 1.17 per cent (88.24 on the previous day).
Elsewhere the French Cac fell by 0.82 per cent to 6,965.88 and the German Cac dropped by 1.32 per cent to 15,318.95.
Rain expected to clear but blustery day ahead
In the north any rain will clear early leaving variable clouds and blustery showers, wintry over higher ground. Southern areas will see more cloud but sunny spells are likely this afternoon, reports the BBC.
Tonight, any showers will end early then becoming mainly clear with diminishing winds. Clouds move into northern areas from the west toward dawn.
Tomorrow it will become cloudy as an area of low pressure brings strong winds and outbreaks of heavy rain, these potentially falling as hill snow to the north. It is likely to be a very unsettled day.