News Round-Up

May 19: Confusion over travel rules; ‘Alarming flaws’ in face masks; PM to announce ‘levelling up’ policies; One-off restomod Opel Manta

  • Here are the headlines on Wednesday, May 19

Time 4 weeks ago

Johnson to face MPs as confusion reigns over international travel rules

Boris Johnson could face pressure to clarify the confusion around international travel rules when he takes Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since parliament reopened last week.

Would-be holidaymakers were left with their plans for a summer break up in the air after ministers appeared to contradict themselves over where the public are permitted to travel abroad.

The PM stressed countries on the so-called ‘amber list’ were ‘not somewhere where you should be going on holiday’, but ministers such as environment secretary George Eustice told broadcasters yesterday people could go to amber-listed countries as long as they observed quarantine rules on their return.

Testing finds ‘alarming flaws’ in effectiveness face masks

Testing has found ‘alarming flaws’ in the effectiveness of widely-available face coverings, with one popular reusable mask only blocking a third of potentially harmful particles, consumer group Which? has reported.

The watchdog tested a range of popular brands and styles of face coverings and masks for how well they filtered particles, how breathable they were, and how they fared after multiple washes.

Which? found that the best performing face covering was able to block more than 99 per cent of potentially harmful bacterial particles, filtering just as well as a disposable mask, but the worst product only trapped a third of the particles passing through.

PM renews bid to create fairer society as he announces ‘levelling up’ policies

Boris Johnson has vowed to ‘create a fairer society’ as part of building the UK’s recovery after the country was rocked by the coronavirus crisis.


Downing Street said government departments would on Wednesday announce a slew of policies designed to deliver on the prime minister’s pledge to ‘level up’ and provide more opportunities across the country.

It is set to see investment in struggling high streets and more public sector jobs based outside of London and the south east of England. Money will also be made available to invest in areas with a low number of good and outstanding schools.

‘Unconscious bias’ in workplace on gender roles, survey finds

Nearly half of workers still believe certain jobs are exclusively ‘male’ or ‘female’, with many women put off applying for some vacancies for fear of being discriminated against, new research suggests.

Phone and electronics giant Samsung said its survey of 2,000 adults indicated that ‘unconscious bias’ still exists in the workplace.

Only one in five respondents said they believed there was gender equality in their workplace, almost one in five women said they have not applied for a job for fear of being discriminated against, and almost two thirds said they believed the CEO role was now gender neutral.

Opel revels one-off restomod electric Manta

Vauxhall’s sister brand Opel has brought back its 50-year old Manta coupe as a cool pure-electric restomod.

Called the Manta Gee ElektroMOD, the one-off car ditches the original Manta’s engine and instead uses a 145bhp electric motor. Unusually the four-speed gearbox has been retained to give the driving experience a retro feel.

There’s a 124-mile range and the front-end boasts Opel-Vauxhall’s new ‘Vizor’ look with a large gloss black panel and LED daytime running lights.

Premium economy service launched for rail travel

Three classes of travel are being offered on Britain’s domestic railway for the first time in decades.

A premium economy option has been launched by Avanti West Coast (AWC), giving passengers on the West Coast Main Line wider seats, more leg room and a guaranteed table.

The Standard Premium service is positioned between standard class and first class, meaning customers will not receive complementary refreshments. The new class is initially only available to buy as an upgrade on the day of travel, and prices depend on the length of journey, ranging from £15 to £30.

Tuesday headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Ministers urged to slash bus and train fares to get passengers back

Ministers are being urged to subsidise discounted public transport fares to avoid a ‘car-led recovery’ from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pressure group Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) claimed boosting passenger numbers on buses, trains, coaches and trams is ‘crucial’ to escape increased congestion and air pollution as restrictions are eased.

Latest Department for Transport figures show that weekday car use in Britain has already returned to around 88 per cent of pre-pandemic levels – far higher than demand for buses outside London and mainline rail services, which is lagging behind at 61 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

Costa Coffee signs partnership with Instavolt for 200 rapid chargers

Costa Coffee has signed a partnership with EV charging supplier Instavolt to install rapid chargers at up to 200 of its drive-through sites in the UK.

The pairing will see Instavolt’s latest rapid chargers placed at new and existing stores, allowing EV owners to charge up while enjoying a coffee. Bringing speeds of up to 120kW, the chargers can be used on a pay-as-you-go basis, eliminating the need to subscribe to a particular service.

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These chargers are capable of adding up to 100 miles in the time it takes for a customer to order and enjoy a Costa coffee.

Yet more showers

Today will start off wet but also with sunny spells, reports BBC Weather. As the day progresses, heavy and thundery showers will develop – they’ll be most frequent in the east.

Tonight will be a mostly dry night for all parts of the country, although it will be cloudy in Northern Ireland, Wales and south west England.

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.

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