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News Round-Up

Sep 22: Murdoch steps down from News Corp; Borrowing costs potentially peak; Updated Audi Q4 e-tron; Consumer confidence up

Here are the headlines for Friday, September 22

Time 6:25 am, September 22, 2023

Rupert Murdoch steps down as Fox and News Corp chairman

Rupert Murdoch will retire as chairman of his Fox and News Corp businesses after almost seven decades at the helm of his sprawling media empire.

The Australia-born businessman is set to be replaced in the role at both companies by his eldest son Lachlan Murdoch.

The change of leadership will take place after the companies’ annual meetings in mid-November.

However, the 92-year-old said he will remain engaged in the companies after being appointed chairman emeritus of both.

Borrowing costs ‘might have peaked’ as rate stays flat

The Bank of England has kept its interest rate unchanged for the first time in almost two years, signalling that they might have finally reached a peak after a lengthy run of hikes that has battered borrowers.

Policymakers voted to hold rates at 5.25 per cent after 14 increases in a row, although it was a close decision and they cautioned not to assume the end of rate rises.

They also said that the UK economy would grow slower than previously thought in the next few months.

Audi Q4 e-tron updated

Audi has introduced a ‘comprehensive’ range of updates for its Q4 e-tron compact electric SUV.

Available from September 25, the upgraded Q4 range will start from £49,915 and all versions will have a 77kWh battery.

However, Audi has optimised the battery so that quattro models can now accept a charge of up to 175kW, up from 135kW previously.

Standard rear-wheel-drive versions continue to accept a 135kW charge.

Consumer confidence rises amid cost-of-living crisis

Consumer confidence is continuing to rise against a backdrop of falling inflation – but many households are continuing to struggle with cost-of-living pressures, according to a survey.

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased four points in September, but remains at a subdued minus 21.

Expectations for the UK’s wider economy over the next 12 months saw a robust six-point increase to minus 30, 44 points higher than last September.

Chancellor says tax cuts ‘virtually impossible’ in blow to Tory right

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has dealt Conservatives agitating for tax cuts a blow, saying they will be ‘virtually impossible’ as he has to make some ‘frankly very difficult decisions’.

He insisted on Thursday that he had to push on with stringent measures to bring down inflation despite some suggesting a less gloomy picture was providing the space to reduce taxes.

Conservative former prime minister Liz Truss is among those on the Tory right calling for the Government to make the move ahead of the Chancellor’s autumn statement on November 22.

Thursday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

NatWest says ‘no customer will be left out of pocket’

NatWest said it has resolved an issue with its cash machines after some of the bank’s customers reported problems with their accounts.

A number of people took to social media site X, formerly Twitter, throughout Thursday complaining money they had deposited in their NatWest accounts was missing.

Others expressed concerns they would accrue fees after the issue resulted in their accounts being overdrawn.

FTSE slips despite Bank of England interest rate pause

London’s markets finished lower on Thursday despite the Bank of England holding interest rates for the first time since 2021, which weighed on the value of the pound.

The central bank voted to keep rates 5.25 per cent, ending a run of 14 consecutive hikes, providing a boost to retail and housebuilder stocks.

However, the improvement largely faded throughout the rest of the session in the face of weaker global trading sentiment.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.69 per cent, or 53.03 points, lower to finish at 7,678.62.

Sterling was knocked back as a result of the rate decision, dragging it to its lowest against the dollar since May.

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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