- Here are the headlines on Wednesday, March 31
UK could see hottest March day on record
The Health Secretary has warned Britons not to ‘blow it’ ahead of what could be the UK’s hottest March day on record.
Met Office forecaster Alex Burkhill said it was a ‘possibility’ that today’s temperatures could surpass the March record of 25.6C (78F), set in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire. It comes as the mercury peaked at 24.5C (76.1F) at Kew Gardens in west London yesterday – the hottest March day in 53 years.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning on Twitter last night, saying: ‘Let’s enjoy the sun but let’s do it safely. We have come so far, don’t blow it now.’
Rise in pothole repairs ‘demonstrates failure of local roads funding’
The number of potholes filled by councils in England and Wales grew by 13 per cent in the past 12 months, new figures show.
Some 1.7m potholes were filled during the year ending today, compared with 1.5m during 2019/20, according to council responses to an annual survey by trade body the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).
Senior Labour MP brands firms ‘the enemy’
Sir Keir Starmer said a senior Labour MP has apologised after describing business as ‘the enemy’.
The Labour leader said Alex Sobel, a member of his shadow ministerial team, ‘knows what he said was wrong’ and Sir Keir stressed that under his leadership, Labour was ‘very clearly pro-business’.
Mr Sobel’s comments, made to a podcast, were reported by The Sun. The shadow tourism minister was speaking about his work with businesses to tackle climate change.
Shop prices continue to fall as lockdown leads to heavy discounting
Shop prices continued to fall in March as the third consecutive month of lockdown led many retailers into heavy discounting, figures show.
Overall prices fell by 2.4 per cent, the same rate of decline as in February. Prices of fashion and footwear have now seen double digit declines in 11 of the past 12 months.
Non-food prices saw their fastest rate of decline since May last year.
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London markets jump as trading sentiment rebounds in Europe
The FTSE 100 jumped to its best position in a fortnight as traders were buoyed by weakness in the pound and rebounding positivity around Europe.
Traders on the continent have put aside concerns over the potential third wave and vaccine woes to continue to focus on hopes for a strong recovery.
London’s top flight closed 35.95 points, or 0.53 per cent, higher at 6,772.12 yesterday. The German Dax increased by 1.29 per cent and the French Cac moved 1.21 per cent higher.
Pennon eyes use for £3.7bn sales proceeds
Water supplier Pennon has told shareholders they could be in line for a major payout unless it can find a better way to spend the £3.7bn it made from selling its recycling business.
Pennon said that by June 3 it should be able to give investors clarity on what it will do with the money left from the sale of Viridor.
Bosses think there could be value in snapping up a rival from the UK water sector, and Pennon is continuing to ‘narrow down its review of potential growth opportunities. But if they cannot find a good place to invest a large portion of the money, bosses expect to return a substantial amount of it to shareholders.
Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you may have missed:
- Most popular new car reviews on What Car? revealed
- Motor Depot sells majority stake to Stellantis-owned Aramis Group
- VW Golf most popular used car to sell during pandemic
- Seat head of business retires after 54-year career
- Used car sales increasing as customers don’t delay purchases
- Government pledges £30m for battery tech and hydrogen research
- More dealers turn to a tech-focused warranty provider
- Nearly 30 per cent of vehicles were late for MOT by December
Borrowers have until today to apply for payment holidays
Borrowers have until Wednesday to apply for a payment holiday on products such as mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.
Eligible customers who have not taken a payment holiday before, and those who have previously had a payment deferral totalling less than six months, have until March 31 to apply.
Payment holidays are generally due to come to an end in July.
Lexus LF-Z concept hints at firm’s future EV design direction
Lexus has unveiled its LF-Z Electrified, a concept showcasing what the firm’s upcoming electric vehicles could look like.
Utilising a dedicated EV platform, the LF-Z has all-wheel-drive and an electric motor producing 536bhp and 700Nm of torque.
Lexus says that it’ll achieve the 0-60mph sprint in under three seconds and top out at 124mph. Despite this impressive performance, the LF-Z is said to return up to 373 miles of range from its 90kWh battery. Lexus says it can be charged at speeds of up to 150kW, too.
Another hot day ahead
A dry and sunny day for many today, but for Scotland and Northern Ireland, it will be cloudier with outbreaks of rain, says the BBC.
Gradually turning cloudier throughout the night, but some clear spells across the south and far north at first. Any lingering rain in Scotland will clear and it will be a largely dry night.
A cloudier day overall tomorrow, but the cloud should gradually break as the day wears on. The far south and far north should see sunshine throughout the day. Not quite as warm as the previous days.
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