News Round-Up

Mar 16: M25 stretch closes; Red Nose Day exceeds £37m; Meet the Skoda Epiq

  • Here are the headlines for Saturday, March 16

Time 6:31 am, March 16, 2024

First planned daytime closure of stretch of M25 takes place

The first planned daytime closure of the M25 is taking place this weekend, with residents and businesses along the diversion route braced for major disruption.

The five-mile stretch between junctions 10 and 11 was closed in both directions at 9pm yesterday and will remain inaccessible until 6am on Monday while a bridge is demolished and a new gantry installed. Four more daytime closures will take place up to September.

An 11.5-mile diversion will direct traffic along A-roads in the first planned daytime closure of the M25 since it opened in 1986. The project, due to be completed in summer 2025, will increase the number of lanes at junction 10 – one of the UK’s busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions. Pictured at top is junction 10 last Monday (Gareth Fuller/PA)
M25 closure diversion routes

Red Nose Day total exceeds £37m

Sir Lenny Henry has announced that more than £37m has been raised for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day in his final time co-hosting the annual programme that raises money for charity.

The actor and comedian, 65, co-founded Comic Relief in 1985 alongside Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis and will continue to serve as life president.

Money raised by Red Nose Day goes towards organisations helping to tackle homelessness, poverty and mental health along with other causes in the UK and throughout the world.

ScotRail workers to strike over on-call working arrangements

Managers at ScotRail are to stage a 48-hour strike in a long running dispute over on-call working arrangements.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will walk out on March 30 and 31 in a dispute that dates back to 2021 involving operations team manager grades.

TSSA general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust said: ‘It’s simply not acceptable to have ScotRail stick their heads in the sand and ignore the pressing concerns of our members. That is why we will act by returning to the picket line.’

Chinese retailer JD scraps takeover approach for Currys

A second potential buyer for electricals giant Currys has walked away from takeover talks, putting the brakes on a possible bidding battle.

Chinese online retailer said it didn’t intend making an offer to buy the retailer.

It had been in the early stages of considering a bid, which could have been for the entire business, but said that ‘following careful consideration’ it no longer plans to do so. US suitor Elliott Advisors, which owns Waterstones, pulled out of talks on Monday.

Insolvencies spike in February as firms remain under pressure

More than 2,000 UK firms went bust last month, nearly a fifth more than the same time last year, according to new figures that shed light on the challenges facing under-pressure businesses.

The level of company insolvencies spiked in February, with cosmetics chain The Body Shop among the high street brands to collapse into administration.

The number of registered company insolvencies in February was 2,102 – a 17% increase on the same month in 2023, data from The Insolvency Service showed.

Norfolk County Council wins settlement as Apple agrees £384m lawsuit payment

Norfolk County Council has secured a settlement in a lawsuit against Apple, with the tech giant agreeing to pay $490m (circa £384m) to investors.

The lawsuit alleged Apple chief executive Tim Cook misled them about iPhone sales in China between November 2018 and January 2019.

The preliminary settlement filed in the US District Court in Oakland will need a judge’s final approval. The class action was led by Norfolk council, which took over as lead plaintiff from the US city of Roseville and said its pension fund was affected by the company’s actions. It isn’t known how much it’ll receive.

BMA urges government to launch inquiry into use of physician associates

The British Medical Association is calling on the government to launch an inquiry into the use of physician associates in NHS trusts.

The moves comes after NHS England issued guidance telling hospitals they shouldn’t be using the associates (PAs) on medical rotas and outlining what tasks they can’t do, including prescribing and being used as replacements for doctors.

The guidance emphasised: ‘PAs are not substitutes for doctors; rather, they are specifically trained to work collaboratively with doctors and others.’ PAs are graduates – usually with a health or life sciences degree – who have undertaken two years of postgraduate training.

Skoda Epiq exterior (CGI image)

Skoda targets small electric SUV class with Epiq

Skoda has revealed the name for its new all-electric city crossover, along with a glimpse of what it’ll look like.

At just 4.1 metres long, the Skoda Epiq will be able to carry five passengers and have a luggage capacity of up to 490 litres.

Boasting a claimed range of more than 248 miles, it’ll be the firm’s smallest and most affordable EV yet. The Epiq will be unveiled in 2025 and is set to cost around £21,000.

Yesterday’s headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 15.73 points down yesterday to end the week on 7,727.42. The Cac 40 was up 2.93 points at 8,164.35, the Dax was down 5.39 points at 17,936.65, and the Dow Jones was down 190.89 points at 38,714.77.

Weather outlook

Today will start chilly and bright, with spells of sunshine in the north and east. Cloud and showery outbreaks of rain will soon move in from the south-west into western areas, spreading north and east later.

Sunday will see early rain for the south-east soon clear, leaving sunny spells and scattered showers for many, with some turning quite heavy in the afternoon. Showery rain will develop across the north-west later.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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