News Round-Up

Oct 21: Second red warning for Storm Babet; Tories mull over tax cuts; Nissan Hyper Punk concept

Here are the headlines on Saturday, October 21

Time 6:34 am, October 21, 2023

Second red warning in place as Storm Babet causes widespread flooding and deaths

Storm Babet shows no signs of abating as downpours continue to batter the UK on Saturday, with three people dead and another red ‘danger to life’ warning in place.

The rare red weather warning has been issued for parts of eastern Scotland all day, prompting first minister Humza Yousaf to warn: ‘We have not seen the last of this.’

Meanwhile, there are yellow weather warnings for wind and rain in place across much of England. Across England, there were over 353 flood warnings and 248 alerts on Saturday morning, while 55,000 people were left without power on Friday as a result of the storm.

Government ‘considering tax cuts to lure back lost Tory voters’

The government could be considering major tax cuts in a bid to win over traditional Tory voters after the two by-election defeats this week.

The threshold for paying the 40 per cent higher rate of income tax could be raised in the 2024 spring budget, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

The Times reported that the prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt are considering cuts to either stamp duty or inheritance tax. The suggested tax cuts come after Labour claimed ‘historic’ victories by overturning large Conservative majorities in Thursday’s by-elections in Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire.

Resigning Oxford City councillors say party leadership ‘complicit in war crimes’

Six Labour councillors on Oxford City Council have resigned after remarks from party leadership on the Israel-Hamas conflict sparked concern.

Councillors Imogen Thomas, Edward Mundy, Paula Dunne, Duncan Hall, Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini and Jabu Nala-Hartley said on Friday they were stepping down from the party in the wake of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing to suggest that Israel has ‘the right’ to withhold energy and water from Gaza.

The councillors said in a statement: ‘At a time when it’s been crucial to call for an immediate ceasefire and a de-escalation, and to insist Israel abides by international law, Keir Starmer and the shadow foreign secretary have instead endorsed collective punishment, blockade, siege and mass civilian casualties. As Starmer has said, “Israel has that right” to continue deadly attacks on Gazans. This is complicity in war crimes.’

Palestinian supporters to march in London as Gaza aid efforts intensify

Thousands of Palestinian supporters are expected to converge on Downing Street on Saturday as diplomatic efforts intensify to allow access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and secure the release of hostages.

Rishi Sunak announced following his meetings with Middle East leaders that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza should be reopening ‘imminently’ and he had discussed how the UK could offer support ‘on the ground’ to get aid into the besieged territory.

Late on Friday it was confirmed by Israel that Hamas had freed an American woman and her teenage daughter who had been held hostage in the Gaza Strip – the first such release from among around 200 people the militant group abducted during its October 7 rampage through southern Israel.

Biden says Hamas attacked Israel in part to stop agreement with Saudi Arabia

President Joe Biden has said he thought Hamas was motivated to attack Israel in part by a desire to stop that country from normalising relations with Saudi Arabia.

‘One of the reasons Hamas moved on Israel … they knew that I was about to sit down with the Saudis,’ Biden said at a fundraising event.

The US president indicated that he thinks Hamas militants launched a deadly assault on October 7 because, ‘Guess what? The Saudis wanted to recognise Israel’, and were near being able to formally do so.

Retail sales drop as warm September hits autumn clothes purchases

UK retail sales slumped last month as hotter-than-expected weather put shoppers off buying autumn clothing, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes fell by 0.9 per cent in September against the previous month. It came after a 0.4 per cent increase in August. The fall was heavier than expected, with analysts having predicted a 0.3 per cent decline for September.

Economists said clothing and department stores both saw notable declines in trade, as they also blamed continued pressure on consumers’ budgets due to the rising cost of living.

Friday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Recycling in England to be standardised from 2026, government says

Recycling in England is to be standardised from 2026, with all homes, businesses and schools recycling the same materials, the government has said.

There will also be a once-a-week minimum requirement for the collection of food waste, which the government said would reduce the amount going to landfill.

Environment secretary Therese Coffey described the current system as a ‘postcode lottery’ whereby people living in different areas are not able to recycle the same materials. The District Councils’ Network (DCN), which represents many local authorities, said the changes will result in higher costs for councils but welcomed the decision to allow them discretion in how to collect waste in their areas.

Nissan’s new Hyper Punk is an electric crossover for drivers ‘who embrace style and innovation’

Nissan has revealed the fourth instalment in its series of new concept vehicles – the Hyper Punk.

Set to go on physical display at the upcoming Japan Mobility Show, the Hyper Punk is a fully electric crossover which has some of Nissan’s latest technology integrated into it. For example, it uses a vehicle-to-everything system to use the car’s on-board battery to charge up other devices, though Nissan says that the energy could be used to power ‘local community events’ as well.

Inside, there’s a blend of both physical and digital features. The cameras dotted around the outside of the car can capture images of the surroundings and then use artificial intelligence to convert them into graphic patterns of manga-style scenery. These images are then projected onto a three-screen display inside the cabin, bringing a new take from the outdoors inside.


The UK will continue to be battered by Storm Babet, primarily in the far north and Scotland. The rest of the country will have a cloudy day with patchy showers, reports BBC Weather. The south-east may see the odd sunny spell.

Tonight, clear for most to begin with but eastern areas will see patchy rain and winds pick up in the south of 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. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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