Mohamed Al-Fayed, via PAMohamed Al-Fayed, via PA

News Round-Up

Sep 2: Ex-Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed dies; Direct Line to pay £30m for renewals overcharging; Crumbling concrete transparency urged

  • Here are the headlines for Saturday, September 2

Time 6:42 am, September 2, 2023

Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed dies aged 94

Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed has died at the age of 94, his family have announced.

In a statement released by Fulham FC, which Al Fayed formerly owned, his family said he died peacefully of old age on Wednesday (Aug 30). Sky News reported a funeral was held for him yesterday after prayers at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.

In the years after the death of his son Dodi Fayed alongside Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, Al Fayed repeatedly claimed they were murdered in a plot by the British establishment.

Direct Line to pay out £30m to overcharged home and car insurance customers

Direct Line is set to pay out £30m in compensation to customers who were overcharged when they renewed their car or home insurance.

The insurer admitted to an ‘error’ in implementing the financial watchdog’s new pricing rules that came into effect from the start of 2022.

It meant that existing insurance customers were charged more for their renewal than they would have been if they were a new customer with Direct Line, the Financial Conduct Authority said.

Calls for transparency over scale of Raac in public buildings

Ministers are facing calls for transparency over the scale of aerated concrete in public buildings after schools were forced to shut classrooms just before the new term.

Experts have warned that the crisis over reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) could extend beyond the education sector – with healthcare settings, courts and offices also potentially at risk.

Parliament’s public accounts committee chairwoman Dame Meg Hillier warned Raac was just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ of a crumbling school estate, telling The Times the state of some public buildings was ‘jaw-dropping’.

Yousaf to make case for fixing ‘historic wrong’ of Brexit at independence rally

Scotland’s First Minister will today make the case for righting the ‘historic wrong’ of Brexit as he delivers a speech on independence.

Humza Yousaf will address a crowd outside the Scottish Parliament following a Believe In Scotland march from Edinburgh Castle.

Speaking outside Holyrood, Yousaf will tell the audience that Scotland can get ‘back on the right track’ by rejoining the European Union, and will describe Brexit as a ‘national tragedy’.

Economy returned to pre-Covid levels earlier than first thought, data suggests

The UK economy had already returned to its pre-Covid levels by the end of 2021, new official statistics have suggested.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was revising its estimate for gross domestic product that year after getting access to new data.

By the last three months of 2021, the economy is now estimated to have been 0.6 per cent larger than 2019 levels, versus a previous estimate that it was 1.2 per cent smaller. The revision means the UK’s economy is now believed to have grown by 8.5 per cent during 2021, compared with the previous estimate of 7.6 per cent, the ONS said.

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Airlines taking ‘every step possible’ to increase capacity

Mark Harper has said airlines are taking ‘every step possible’ to increase capacity after passengers were left stranded by the air traffic control failure.

Following a meeting with aviation chiefs, the transport secretary said airlines had reported that ‘most customers’ affected by the chaos had now reached their destinations.

Flights to and from UK airports were restricted for several hours on Monday afternoon as National Air Traffic Services was unable to process flight plans automatically.

Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to charges in Georgia election case

Rudy Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to Georgia charges that accuse him of trying, along with former US president Donald Trump and others, to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.

Trump and Giuliani – a former New York mayor and Trump’s lawyer – are among 19 people charged in a 41-count indictment that details a wide-ranging conspiracy to thwart the will of Georgia’s voters who had selected Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent.

An arraignment hearing is set for September 6.

Harry Potter fans brave rail strikes for Back to Hogwarts Day at King’s Cross

Thousands of Harry Potter fans braved the rail strikes yesterday to gather at King’s Cross station in London for the annual Back to Hogwarts Day.

Donning wizard robes and carrying wands, fans of the franchise travelled to the station to hear the magical loudspeaker call for the Hogwarts Express at 11am, inviting witches and wizards to board the train to Hogsmeade on platform nine and three quarters.

While a host of fans gathered online, thousands crowded in front of the live departure board at the station to see the written display for the fictional platform call, which prompted a cheer from fans of all ages when it appeared.

Yesterday’s headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 25.41 points up yesterday to end the week on 7,464.54. The Cac 40, meanwhile, was down 19.93 points at 7,296.77, the Dax was down 106.74 points at 15,840.34 but the Dow Jones was up 115.80 points at 34,837.71.

Weather outlook

Today will be mainly dry with early mist and fog lifting to largely sunny skies, with patches of cloud and the occasional shower in the afternoon, says BBC Weather. It’ll cloud over in the north-west later.

Sunday will see dry and sunny weather, although areas of low cloud, mist or fog may linger in the early morning. It’ll remain largely cloudy and breezy with some outbreaks of rain in the far north.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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