News Round-Up

Mar 22: Consumer confidence stalls; Energy firms slammed; VW shows off hot ID. Buzz GTX

Here are the headlines on Friday March 22

Time 6:56 am, March 22, 2024

Concerns over ‘government’s failure’ to act on patient safety recommendations

The government has failed to implement a number of recommendations from significant inquiries into major patient safety issues, years after they were agreed to, according to an independent panel.

The report, commissioned by the Health and Social Committee in the wake of the Lucy Letby case, voiced concerns about ‘delays to take real action’.

As part of its investigation, the panel selected recommendations from independent public inquiries and reviews that have been accepted by government since 2010. These covered three broad policy areas – maternity safety and leadership, training of staff in health and social care, and culture of safety and whistleblowing – and were used to evaluate progress.

Police forces to be given powers to charge domestic abuse suspects under Labour

Six police forces would be given powers to charge domestic abuse suspects under a Labour government, the party said as it criticised a ‘breakdown in communication’ between prosecutors and officers.

Rape victims would also be offered specialist support advisers to sit alongside them while giving evidence in court under proposals backed by the Opposition to reform the criminal justice system.

The recommendations were made as part of a review by Labour’s charging commission, which the party has tasked with drawing up plans to help increase the number of offences solved if it wins the next general election.

Blood test could identify millions of people spreading tuberculosis unknowingly

Scientists say they are close to developing a blood test that could identify millions of people who spread tuberculosis (TB) unknowingly.

Researchers from the University of Southampton have discovered a group of biological markers that are found in high levels among infectious patients.

The study, carried out with experts from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, used a new technique that identified a set of six proteins that are highly accurate in pinpointing TB.

UN to vote on US resolution declaring immediate ceasefire in Gaza is imperative

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on a United States-sponsored resolution declaring that ‘an immediate and sustained ceasefire’ in Gaza is ‘imperative’ to protect civilians and enable humanitarian aid to be delivered to more than two million hungry Palestinians.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she was optimistic that the 15-member council would approve the new, tougher draft resolution on Friday.

The draft being put to a vote ‘determines’ — which is a council order — ‘the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire’, with no direct link to the release of hostages taken during Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, which was in the previous draft. But it would unequivocally support diplomatic efforts ‘to secure such a ceasefire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages’.

Consumer confidence stalls as gains made since last year ‘vanish’

Consumer confidence stalled in negative territory in March as the steady improvements seen since early last year vanished, figures show.

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained unchanged at minus 21, following a two-point dip in February.

The major purchase index, a measure of confidence in buying big ticket items, fell two points to minus 27, although it remains six points higher than a year ago. Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased by one point to minus 23 – 17 points better than last March – and confidence in personal finances for the year ahead saw an ‘encouraging’ two-point rise to positive two, which was 23 points higher than this time last year.

Scottish Power, Ovo and British Gas ‘must urgently improve customer service’

Scottish Power, Ovo Energy and British Gas must ‘urgently’ improve their customer service after a survey found they are the worst energy suppliers for responding quickly and effectively to problems, Which? said.

The watchdog said ‘all too often’ consumers were being left on hold, stuck in never-ending chatbot loops or passed from department to department with no resolution or helpful answer to their query.

Energy is currently the worst performing sector for customer service, according to Which?’s 2023 customer service survey. Scottish Power, Ovo Energy and British Gas were the worst performing energy firms for quick responses and effective solutions to customer problems, the survey found.

Government allocates funding for nearly 1,000 new electric buses

Funding for nearly 1,000 new electric buses has been allocated by the government.

Twenty-five councils across England have been awarded a share of £143m to purchase a total of 955 zero-emission buses.

Rural areas have been prioritised, as part of the government’s plan to improve local transport connections. The south eest is the region with the biggest allocation of funding at £43.4m, which will support the rollout of 352 zero-emission buses.

Thursday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

One in eight UK supermarkets offer electric car charging – report

One in eight UK supermarkets now offer electric vehicle (EV) charging despite Asda deactivating most of its devices, according to new research.

Analysis by the RAC and charger locator service Zapmap found that the number of supermarkets with EV chargers rose from 1,015 at the end of 2022 to 1,616 12 months later. The latest figure equates to 13% of all 12,839 supermarkets, including those that do not have parking facilities.

Morrisons is the supermarket chain with the highest proportion of stores offering EV charging at 69%, followed by Lidl (30%). Asda has charging facilities at just 2% of its stores as many of its devices were deactivated after its contract with infrastructure supplier bp pulse ended.

Volkswagen reveals hot new ID. Buzz GTX

Volkswagen has revealed a hot version of its funky-looking ID. Buzz electric MPV.

The ID. Buzz GTX will come with more power, producing 335bhp and gets an all-wheel-drive system as standard thanks to two electric drive motors – an 80kW motor drives the front wheels and a 210kW motor drives the rear to make the all-wheel-drive system. There are two battery sizes – 79kWh and 86kWh.

On the inside, there is a black headliner and specific GTX-designed seats that are electrically adjustable and have a memory function – alongside red piping and a new diamond pattern for the upholstery.


Rain will clear in the south leaving sunny spells, reports BBC Weather, while blustery conditions will remain in the northwest. A very windy day in the far north. Temperatures will be around 10 to 12 degrees.

Showers in the north will push southwards tonight. Central and southern areas will be clear and dry. Temperatures in the low single figures.

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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