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News Round-Up

May 5: Labour mayors dominate results; Renault reveals Symbioz; Fake image insurance warning

Here are the headlines for Sunday, May 5

Time 5:01 am, May 5, 2024

Labour dominates this year’s mayoral elections

The shock victory of Richard Parker in the West Midlands was the latest in Labour’s domination of this year’s mayoral elections.

Tory candidate Andy Street had hoped to cling on in the region, but the Labour challenger beat him with a majority of just 1,508 votes.

Speaking after the result was announced, Mr Parker said that his election shows ‘people are calling for Labour, and calling for change’.

Renault unveils the Symbioz hybrid SUV

Renault has revealed its latest offering in the compact SUV segment with the Symbioz Hybrid.

The car will be a direct rival to the Nissan Qashqai, features a new design and interior, and sits on an extended version of Renault’s CMF-B platform allowing for more space inside the cabin.

Externally, Renault’s latest design language has been adopted into this new SUV with lots of angular and sculpted design cues. The logo is incorporated into the front grille, along with vertical LED daytime running lights – while the rear end is sculpted and has a flat tailgate to give extra room inside.

Fake images replacing ‘cash for crash’ insurance claims

Insurers have raised concerns about fake and manipulated images being used in claims.

Some people are using advances in technology to try to make claims for incidents that may never have happened in the first place, according to industry experts.

Whereas, previously, fraudsters may have physically staged a “crash-for-cash” vehicle incident on the road, technology can now be used to falsify registration numbers, damage, or supporting documents.

In some cases, the actual vehicles may have already been written off.

HSBC fields anger over bankers’ bonuses

HSBC shareholders have approved the removal of a limit on bankers’ bonuses, as top bosses fielded anger from pensioners for clawing back parts of their payments.

The indicative result means that bank staff known as ‘material risk takers’ will have the chance to take home bigger bonus payments, having previously had bonuses capped at two times their fixed pay.

But the board was confronted by angry pensioners over the move to lift the cap on bonuses while cutting pension payments.

Asda refinances £3.2bn of debt with higher interest rates

Asda has refinanced the vast majority of its mammoth debt pile amid ‘strong demand’ from investors.

The supermarket giant said on Friday that it completed refinancing deals on around £3.2 billion worth of debt and pushed back the maturities on these past 2030.

It will pay higher interest rates on the new bonds, the retailer said.

Asda had net debt of £3.8 billion at the end of 2023, having built up the debt pile through its £6.8 billion takeover by the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital in 2021.

UK services sector grows at fastest pace for nearly a year

Activity in the UK’s services sector increased at the fastest rate in nearly a year in April, strengthening hopes that the economy is pulling itself out of a shallow recession, according to new data.

The S&P Global UK services PMI survey scored 55.0 in April, up from 53.1 in March and the highest level since May last year.

It came in ahead of the reading of 54.0 that economists were expecting.

Any score above 50 indicates that the services sector is growing, while anything below that implies it is shrinking.

Weather outlook

The north will experience a generally cloudy day today with some showery rain, which will be heaviest across Scotland, according to the Met Office.

There will also be some showers breaking out in southwest England and Wales, although elsewhere will see warm sunshine and some isolated showers.

This will continue tonight in the north tonight but showers will ease in the south while fog and mist develop under clear skies.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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