- Here’s your motoring, business and news round-up for Thursday, May 14
100 per cent accurate antibody test could be breakthrough
A new test to determine whether people have ever been infected with coronavirus is 100 per cent accurate, public health leaders have said.
Boris Johnson has called antibody testing a ‘game-changer’ as it may reveal how many people have had Covid-19 without symptoms and so may be immune. A reliable test could help ease lockdown measures quicker too.
Public Health England said experts at its Porton Down facility had carried out an evaluation of a new antibody blood test developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical company. It found Roche’s serology test was ‘highly specific’ and had an accuracy of 100 per cent.
Chancellor among MPs to vote wrong way in electronic voting blunder
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak accidentally voted against the government in a virtual vote on the Agriculture Bill.
Mr Sunak was among a ‘small number’ of MPs who voted the wrong way as the new Commons remote voting procedure had its second outing. The division list showed 22 Conservative MPs voted for the rebel amendment to the Bill, and they included Sunak.
A source close to the chancellor blamed ‘online teething problems’, adding: “The chancellor did not intentionally vote against the government. He called the chief whip straight away to explain.’
BoE: UK moving sharply into recession
Britain is very sharply moving into recession due to the coronavirus crisis, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has said.
His comments came after new economic figures showed the economy shrank by 5.8 per cent in March and two per cent in the first quarter of the year as a whole.
Bailey said: ‘We’ve got a very sharp move into recession and it was quite sudden, which is obviously what we’ve all observed from the shutting down of the economy so, to be frank, we’re not really surprised by that number at all.’
London markets slump as plunge in GDP shakes traders
The London markets lost some of their recent steam as they closed in the red on the back of news that the economy shrank by two per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
The FTSE 100 closed 90.72 points lower at 5,904.05p at the end of trading on Wednesday.
The value of the pound slipped against both the euro and the dollar as currency traders swallowed the latest dramatic set of economic figures. The value of the pound fell 0.3 per cent versus the US dollar at 1.222 and was down 0.1 per cent against the euro at 1.129.
Sony’s profits dive as stores and cinemas close
Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony has reported that its quarterly profit tumbled as the pandemic delayed music and movie releases and disrupted product supply chains.
Tokyo-based Sony’s profit in January-March crashed 86 per cent to £95m, a fraction of the 87.9 £669m earned a year ago.
The spread of Covid-19 has hit consumer spending, shut cinemas, cancelled events and sent share prices falling — all damaging for a company with sprawling businesses like Sony.
Tesco board changes bonus rules after rival Ocado soars
The board of Tesco changed the way it calculated bonuses for supermarket executives because rival Ocado became too successful, according to company accounts.
Chief executive Dave Lewis would have missed out on the extra 979,113 free shares if the share price of the grocer’s online rival had not rocketed following expansion.
The details, published in Tesco’s latest accounts, also show Lewis took home £6.42m this year, making him one of the highest paid supermarket chiefs in the country.
Maserati prototype dedicated to Sir Stirling Moss
Maserati is paying tribute to the late Sir Stirling Moss with a unique version of its MC20 prototype.
The design for the car – which previews the firm’s upcoming sports car – is taken from the Maserati Eldorado, a single-seater which, on its debut, was driven by Moss at the Monza circuit in 1958. Sir Stirling passed away last month at the age of 90.
The Italian manufacturer also decided to launch the car on May 13 to celebrate Moss’ victory in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix on May 13, 1956. Moss took the podium place following a drive in a Maserati 250F where he led from the first to the last of the 100-lap race.
Businesses join forces in bid to combat coronavirus scams
Employees working from home are being targeted by criminal gangs during the crisis – and now a new task force has been set up to help battle it.
More than 100 businesses have joined forces with National Trading Standards to combat fraud against companies and individuals, some of whom have been targeted via their home WiFi routers.
The group said scams have also included criminals impersonating government officers or senior members of businesses to pressure employees to give out sensitive information or make payments during the coronavirus crisis.
Lexus tops driver satisfaction poll
Lexus has been crowned the UK’s most satisfying car brand, according to a recent poll of 10,000 car owners.
The Japanese manufacturer came in ahead of Skoda and Jaguar for the top spot, with drivers praising Lexus’ comfort, reliability and build quality. Its overall satisfaction rating came in at 89.5 per cent, ahead of the 88.9 per cent and 88.6 per cent for Skoda and Jaguar respectively.
Ssangyong and Hyundai followed in fourth and fifth place respectively in the survey by car consumer site Honest John.
Lag in house price recovery
House prices could take longer to recover than sales now that England’s property market has been reopened for business.
The Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors said feedback suggests a recovery in prices could take longer than a bounce back in sales levels, with experts suggesting, on average, prices would take 11 months to recover, compared with nine months for sales.
The findings were contained in the Rics UK-wide April survey, which said 35 per cent of property professionals believed prices could fall four per cent.
Federal Reserve warns of prolonged recession
In the US, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell has warned of the threat of a prolonged recession resulting from the outbreak and urged Congress and the White House to act further to prevent long-lasting economic damage.
Powell cautioned that numerous bankruptcies among small businesses and extended unemployment for many people remain a serious risk. ‘We ought to do what we can to avoid these outcomes,’ he said.
The Fed itself has intervened by slashing interest rates to near zero and creating numerous emergency lending programmes.
Ford engine production will restart on May 18
Ford has revealed plans to reopen its UK engine factories next week under strict new health and safety procedures.
The firm’s engine facilities in Dagenham, Essex, and Bridgend, South Wales, will restart on May 18. Another engine plant in Valencia, Spain, will also open, meaning all of Ford’s European manufacturing facilities will be back to work.
Ford says a limited number of employees have remained on site to keep ‘critical services’ going, and it will continue to build ventilator sub-assemblies for the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium to support the NHS.
Hamilton claims Rich List podium
Lewis Hamilton tops list of sports richest stars – but with how much? Find out in this 56 second video.
Car Dealer Live today: Watch our live chat with Sherwood Motor Group’s Simon MacConachie
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