News Round-Up

Sep 30: Sunak ‘slamming brakes on’ 20mph policy; New Skoda pricing; Second arrest for tree felling

Here are the headlines for Saturday, September 30

Time 6:30 am, September 30, 2023

Sunak says he is ‘slamming the brakes on the war on motorists’

The Prime Minister said he is ‘slamming the brakes’ on ‘hare-brained schemes’ such as blanket 20mph speed limits and low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Rishi Sunak has vowed to focus on policies that stem the ‘relentless attack on motorists’.

He told The Sun: ‘I’m slamming the brakes on the war on motorists – it is as simple as that.’

The remarks come as his Conservative administration in Westminster announced a slew of pro-driving measures ahead of the Tory Party conference in Manchester on Sunday.

Skoda announces new prices for 2024 Scala and Kamiq

Skoda has announced the prices for its updated Scala hatchback and Kamiq crossover, both of which are set to reach UK roads in 2024.

Prices for the Scala start from £22,095 – an increase from £20,800 on the outgoing car, though more equipment is provided – and top range Monte Carlo is priced from £27,795.

The trim levels and equipment are broadly mirrored on the Kamiq, which starts from £24,030 in SE guise (up from £22,780), £27,175 in the SE L grade and £29,275 for the flagship Monte Carlo model.

Man in his 60s arrested over felling of Sycamore Gap tree

Police investigating the ‘senseless destruction’ of a world-famous tree next to Hadrian’s Wall have made a second arrest.

The Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland was cut down overnight between Wednesday and Thursday in what detectives have called a ‘deliberate act of vandalism’.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage on Thursday in connection with the incident but he has since been bailed pending further enquiries.

Northumbria Police said a man in his 60s was arrested on Friday evening and is in custody being questioned by officers.

Government denies plans to cut winter fuel allowance

The government has denied reports that ministers are considering cutting the winter fuel allowance for all but the poorest pensioners as part of a bid to retain the pensions triple lock.

It comes after Sky News reported that one way the prime minister might fund the pledge would be to remove the annual winter fuel allowance for most pensioners, with the exception of those poorest on pension credit support.

Recent weeks have seen reports that Sunak will fight the next general election on a promise to keep the triple lock – which guarantees the state pension will increase by the highest of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent – despite concerns about its cost.

But a government spokesperson denied that any such proposal was being considered.

House sales fall 16% in August

The number of house sales fell by 16 per cent in August compared with the same month a year earlier, according to provisional HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures.

An estimated 87,010 home sales took place across the UK last month, which was 16 per cent lower than in August 2022 but one per cent higher than July 2023.

It was the weakest August for house sales since 2020, when the market was dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

FTSE 100 closes higher on Friday

European stocks jumped higher on Friday, ending the month in the green after a turbulent week which saw oil prices reach new highs.

London’s FTSE 100 just about kept its head above water as gains for property and utilities stocks were weighed down by losses for energy giants later on in the day.

It moved 6.23 points higher, or 0.08 per cent, to close at 7,608.08.

Rain for some

Heavy rain is expected to develop across Northern Ireland this morning, spreading to northwest Wales, northern England and much of Scotland this afternoon, according to the Met Office.

However, it will be largely fine in northeast Scotland with bright and warm weather in southern Britain but windy in the west with coastal gales possible.

Rain will clear in Scotland tonight but lingering across northern England and Wales, heavy at times with showers following to northwestern areas but it will stay dry elsewhere.

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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