- Here are the headlines on Friday, March 12
Wales to move to ‘stay local’ rules tomorrow
Wales will move to a ‘stay local’ requirement for at least the next three weeks as the country eases some of its coronavirus restrictions, First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce today.
The current ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions will be lifted tomorrow and are expected to allow people from rural areas to travel greater distances than those who live in urban towns and cities.
From Saturday, four people from two households will also be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens – while outdoor sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can reopen. Indoor care home visits will also restart and hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments from Monday, the same day that all primary pupils return.
Motor insurance claims fell by 19 per cent in 2020
The number of motor insurance claims settled by insurers fell by nearly a fifth annually in 2020 as fewer cars were on the roads during the coronavirus lockdowns.
The number of claims settled last year stood at 2.1m, marking a 19 per cent decrease compared with 2019, the Association of British Insurers said.
Total payouts, at £8.3bn, reduced by 6% compared with the previous year. The ABI said the declines reflect the impact of the national lockdowns, with reduced road usage.
Nissan to boost renewable power with solar farm extension
Car giant Nissan has announced plans to generate more renewable energy at its record-breaking UK plant.
It will extend the solar farm at its Sunderland site, which already has a wind farm, with the aim of creating 20MW of power.
If approved, the 37,000-panel extension would result in 20 per cent of the plant’s energy coming from renewables onsite.
Joe Biden aims for Independence Day gatherings
Joe Biden said he is hopeful that speeding up US Covid-19 vaccination efforts will allow Americans to gather in small groups on July 4.
He also said in his first primetime address since becoming president he would order the states to make all adults eligible for jabs by May 1, with eligibility currently based on age and health conditions.
Biden’s speech marked one year since the onset of the pandemic that has killed more than 530,000 Americans and predicted they could safely gather at least in small groups on July 4 to ‘make this Independence Day truly special’.
Economic recovery to be investment-led, Chancellor says
The UK’s economic recovery will be investment-led and will not need more consumer incentives like the Eat Out to Help Scheme to recover, the Chancellor has said.
Rishi Sunak told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee he expected the levels of pent-up demand built up during the pandemic to be enough to trigger a recovery in consumer spending.
Experts predict middle and high income households have saved a combined £180bn since the pandemic and expect to spend at least five per cent, or £9bn, when restrictions ease.
Plan to double punishment for fare dodgers
Penalties for dodging rail fares in England and Wales could be doubled under government plans.
The Department for Transport said penalty fares are ‘no longer fulfilling their deterrent function’ at their current level of £20.
It said its preference is to bring them ‘more closely into line’ with Transport for London’s scheme, which is an £80 penalty reduced to £40 if paid within 21 days.
Rolls-Royce tumbles to £4bn loss
Engine-maker Rolls-Royce has plummeted to a mammoth £4bn annual loss after a ‘severe’ hit from the pandemic as the crisis hammered the global aviation industry.
The group’s eye-watering loss for last year was worse than expected and compares with underlying pre-tax profits of £583m in 2019.
On a statutory basis, Rolls reported pre-tax losses of £2.9bn against losses of £891m in 2019.
Shell appoints new chairman amid green push
Oil giant Shell has chosen a former mining executive who spent more than two decades at rival BP as it seeks to carve out a path less reliant on dirty energy.
The company said Sir Andrew Mackenzie, who was chief executive of miner BHP until 2019, will fill the role later this year.
The Glaswegian was already tipped as a potential new chairman when he joined Shell’s board in October last year. He will replace Chad Holliday, who steps down in May.
Subdued FTSE back in green as miners rebound
The FTSE 100 remained firmly on the subdued path it has been on most of this week, dipping above and below the break-even line several times yesterday and underperforming international peers.
The index ended the day at 6,736.96, up 11.36 points, or 0.2 per cent. It lagged behind Europe, where the Frankfurt Dax rose 0.3 per cent and the Cac in Paris gained 0.7 per cent.
Morrisons profits slashed in half
Morrisons has revealed that profits were cut by more than half over the past year after it was hit by £290m in pandemic-related costs.
The supermarket group told investors that profits before tax and exceptional costs slid by 50.7 per cent to £201m for the year to January 31.
The Bradford-based retailer said it was impacted by higher-than-expected pandemic costs after a recent increase in absences, as well as the £230m impact of handing its business rates relief back to the Treasury.
Highways England launches smart motorway safety campaign
Highways England has kickstarted a new safety campaign, urging motorists to ‘keep left’ if they suffer a breakdown on the motorway.
The multi-million-pound information drive has been designed to give drivers clear instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency.
Highways England has put a spin on the Pet Shop Boys’ track ‘Go West’ to ensure that drivers have a catchy reminder to move to the left and over to a hard shoulder if they find themselves in mechanical difficulty. For smart motorways, drivers should move left across to the nearest refuge area.
If something goes wrong with your vehicle while you're driving, and it's safe to do so, #Go_Left to your nearest emergency area, hard shoulder or leave at the next exit. https://t.co/6Okk9cs8nj pic.twitter.com/ClNqQ8CyZW
— Highways England (@HighwaysEngland) March 10, 2021
Updated Hyundai Kona Electric arrives
Hyundai’s refreshed Kona Electric has gone on sale with prices starting from £30,125. The updated model brings a range of visual enhancements alongside a more varied range of in-car features.
The exterior of the car is where you’ll find the bulk of the changes. The closed-off grille has been made cleaner to look at than before, while the LED daytime running lights and sharper headlamps are narrower and sleeker, too.
Two powertrain options remain available with the Kona Electric, with 39.2kWh and 64kWh battery versions delivering respective ranges of 189 and 300 miles.
More wet and windy weather
Today, showers will continue over western areas, spreading further east at times earlier on, said the BBC. Showers occasionally heavy with hail, and wintry over northern upland areas. Sunshine at times in the east.
Tonight, more persistent rain will push in from the west, spreading further east later. This turning to snow on higher ground in the north, and heavy in places with a risk of gales in the south.
Tomorrow will see further showers across northern and western areas, wintry on higher ground. Generally brighter and drier in eastern and southern areas, but with the risk of the odd shower.
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