Aston Martin Vantage F1 safety car, via PAAston Martin Vantage F1 safety car, via PA

News Round-Up

Mar 6: 2p national insurance cut; Pay rise for Tesco staff; Vantage’s F1 safety role

  • Here are the headlines for Wednesday, March 6

Time 6:38 am, March 6, 2024

Hunt to announce 2p national insurance cut in pre-election Budget

Jeremy Hunt is today expected to make a 2p cut to national insurance central to his Budget, which he said would deliver ‘more opportunity and more prosperity’.

The chancellor, who has faced pressure from Tory MPs to ease the record-high tax burden, promised ‘permanent cuts in taxation’ that would bring ‘higher growth’ as he seeks to woo voters ahead of this year’s general election.

The change could save the average worker £450 a year, adding up to £900 when combined with last year’s move.

Tesco to increase shop workers’ pay by 9.1%

Tesco is to increase store workers’ pay by 9.1% ahead of the increase in the national minimum wage in April.

The grocery giant, which employs more than 330,000 people across the UK, will raise the basic hourly rate for store workers from £11.02 per hour to £12.02. It’ll also increase the pay of workers within the M25 to £13.15 per hour from a current rate of £11.95 for those in inner London and £11.75 for those in outer London.

The national minimum wage will go up from its current rate of £10.42 per hour to £11.44 on April 1.

Economic growth forecasts for 2024 set to be downgraded

The UK’s official forecaster the Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to slightly downgrade its short-term growth predictions for the sluggish UK economy today, according to leading economists.

Experts at Pantheon Macroeconomics and Oxford Economics are both expecting 0.4% growth in 2024. The lower growth predictions are set to result in reduced tax revenues that could have an impact on the prospect of potential government tax cuts.

It comes as the chancellor is expected to cut ‘some spending’ and shrink his fiscal headroom in order to finance any tax cuts at today’s spring Budget.

Firmus Energy announces gas price cut

Firmus Energy has announced a price cut for customers.

The largest supplier of natural gas in Northern Ireland said its rates will decrease by 15.6% in both the Ten Towns and Greater Belfast network areas from the beginning of April.

Firmus said this will save households an average of £220.82 a year.

Bitcoin price hits all-time high

The price of bitcoin hit an all-time high yesterday as the world’s largest cryptocurrency has been buoyed by growing demand from investors.

It surpassed the $69,000 (circa £54,200) mark, reaching around $69,170 (£54,370) during the afternoon, according to data from crypto exchange Binance.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission reluctantly approved trading of the first bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in early January but remained sceptical about cryptocurrencies, saying it ‘did not approve or endorse bitcoin’ in its decision.

Co-op chairwoman faces Packham-led membership call to ditch ‘Frankenchickens’

The Co-op’s new chairwoman is facing pressure from members to remove ‘Frankenchickens’ from the supermarket group’s supply chain.

Broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham is leading calls from more than 2,000 Co-op members for Debbie White to respect the membership’s wishes to stop selling meat from low-welfare, fast-growing breeds of chicken.

In an open letter organised by animal protection charity The Humane League UK, the members urged White to be ‘an advocate for giving Co-op chickens a better life’.

Watchdog reverses ruling that Calvin Klein poster ‘objectified’ FKA twigs

The advertising watchdog has reversed its ruling that a Calvin Klein poster presented British musician FKA twigs as a ‘stereotypical sexual object’.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had decided to revisit its original decision in January that the poster was likely to cause serious harm or offence by objectifying FKA twigs ‘out of concern that our rationale for banning the ad was substantially flawed’.

The poster featured the artist wearing a denim shirt that was drawn halfway around her body, leaving the side of her buttocks and half of one breast exposed, with text reading: ‘Calvins or nothing.’ FKA twigs, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, challenged the two complaints in an Instagram post.

MPs sign letter backing powers to block sale of Telegraph to UAE-funded firm

More than 100 MPs from five parties have supported powers to block the sale of the Telegraph to a UAE-funded firm, warning the move threatens to ‘seriously undermine’ free press in the UK.

A letter signed by the cross-party group of MPs, sent to culture secretary Lucy Frazer from former housing minister Robert Jenrick, asks her to accept the amendment to the Digital Markets Bill that was tabled in the House of Lords.

The amendment would require Parliament’s approval before UK news media organisations could be bought by a foreign government.

Colin Firth’s lake-soaked Mr Darcy shirt from Pride and Prejudice sells for £20k

The shirt worn by Colin Firth when he strode across fields dripping wet after a swim in the lake in the TV series of the classic novel Pride and Prejudice sold for £20,000 at a charity auction, smashing its estimate of £7,000 to £10,000.

Oscar-winner Firth played Fitzwilliam Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, opposite Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet – who is surprised when she visits his estate, Pemberley, to find him wet and not properly dressed. The winning buyer will pay £25,000 for the piece of TV history when the 25% buyer’s premium is included.

The costume was donated by Cosprop, a costume house founded by Oscar- and Bafta-winning designer John Bright in 1965, to raise funds for The Bright Foundation, an arts education charity also established by Bright. The auction, hosted by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London, raised £285,300.

Aston Martin Vantage F1 safety car interior via PA

Aston Martin’s latest Vantage will become Formula One’s new safety car

Aston Martin’s latest Vantage is to be used as the safety car for the new season of F1.

Due to make its first appearance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 9, the new Vantage is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine, giving a 30% power increase over the previous model and enough grunt to help it lead the F1 cars off the grid.

This special Vantage will come with modified underfloor aerodynamics, as well as an extended and profiled front splitter, to help provide the best agility and performance on the track. The new rear wing, meanwhile, has been fitted in a bespoke position with a tuned gurney.

Yesterday’s headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 5.83 points up yesterday to end the day on 7,646.16. The Cac 40 was down 23.59 points at 7,932.82, the Dax was down 17.77 points at 17,698.40, and the Dow Jones was down 404.64 points at 38,585.19.

Weather outlook

Today will be cloudy with patchy rain in the north-east, says BBC Weather. There’ll be variable cloud and some showers in the south, in the south-east at first, and the Midlands and Cornwall in the afternoon. Elsewhere will be dry and brighter.

Thursday will be largely dry with sunny spells in the north-west. There’ll be scattered afternoon showers in the south-west once early low cloud breaks up, and it’ll be mostly cloudy with occasional showers elsewhere.

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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