Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out what the UK government will spend on health, education, transport and other public services next year.
- Economy set to contract by 11.3% in 2020
- Economy forecast to grow by 5.5% next year and by 6.6% in 2022
- Output not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the fourth quarter of 2022
- Unemployment is expected to reach 7.5% next spring, with 2.6 million people out of work
- An estimated 1.3 million public sector workers will see their pay frozen in 2021-2
- But more than two million earning less than £24,000 a year will get a minimum £250 increase
- National Living wage to rise by 2.2%, or a minimum of £345, to £8.91 an hour
- 23 and 24-year olds will qualify for living wage for first time
- A new £4.6bn package to help people back to work
- £2.6bn for Restart scheme to support those out of work for 12 months
- £1.6bn for the Kickstart scheme to subsidise jobs for young people
- £375m skills package, including £138m to provide Lifetime Skills Guarantee
- New £4bn "levelling up" fund to finance local infrastructure projects, like by-passes
Scotland will get £2.4bn, Wales £1.3bn and Northern Ireland £900m.
The UK's motor industry could suffer production losses of £55bn over the next five years if no Brexit deal is agreed, the sector's lobby group says. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is urging the government to get a deal that avoids resorting to tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. The automotive sector across Europe has already been badly hit by the pandemic, the SMMT said. A further blow from trade tariffs would set it back further, it added.
The UK is currently in a transition period, having left the European Union on 31 January, but this transition period ends in 38 days. An exit from the period without a deal minimising trade barriers including tariffs would have "a severe impact on the sector's ability to develop and manufacture the next generation of zero emission cars and vans, as well as holding back market uptake of these vehicles," the SMMT said.
"Automotive is nothing if not determined, adaptable and resilient, yet, as the clock ticks ever closer to midnight on Brexit negotiations, the competitiveness and employment we need get back to growth - green growth - hangs in the balance," said the group's chief executive, Mike Hawes.
The number of electric cars on German roads could rise much more quickly than most experts and the government currently assume. Carmakers believe that up to 14.8 million pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids could be registered in Germany by 2030, according to confidential calculations the companies submitted for a study conducted by the German transport ministry’s coordinating platform for charging infrastructure.
The government only plans to have seven to 10 million of these vehicles on the road by that date. The study concludes that 440,000 to 843,000 public charging points in Germany will be sufficient by 2030, depending on how many people can charge at home. The government currently aims to have one million public charging points by that date.
Car buyers are reluctant to commit to electric vehicles (EVs) citing high purchase costs, concerns over battery life and recharging times. The Consumer Insight Panel research, which polled the views of in-market buyers visiting Motors.co.uk, was undertaken to identify how environmental considerations are impacting car purchasing decisions.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said EVs are too expensive compared to traditional fuel types, with 49% saying they would switch to EVs if they became cheaper. Only 16% of buyers expect to buy an electric car in the next three years. Over half (52%) said they would buy an EV if battery life was longer, while 51% said they would switch if it took less than 20 minutes to fully charge.
Stoneacre Motor Group has created a dual-brand Aston Martin and Lexus dealership in Newcastle after forging its first partnership with the Japanese premium brand via an acquisition from Jardine Motors Group. The Thorne-based AM100 car retailer completed the acquisition of the former Jardine operation on Benton Road, Newcastle, as the property’s lease came up for renewal in December. Stoneacre said that it had retained all 25 of the the Lexus dealership's staff – with many having almost two decades of Lexus experience – after its operations were officially moved into its existing Aston Martin site in Cobalt Way, The Silverlink, Wallsend, on Friday November 20.
A lack of opportunity has been highlighted as a key issue for women pursuing a career in the automotive sector, with 57% failing to see a career path to their desired post and 42% perceiving a bias towards men. Car dealership employees were among the 110 women surveyed as part of Deloitte’s Women in Automotive Industry research paper, which was conducted between June and September and concluded that the automotive industry “remains behind many other industries” in terms of diversity.
Although 68% of respondents that that they had seen a positive change in the automotive industry’s attitude towards women employees in the last five years, 40% said they would choose a different industry if they could go back and 50% revealed they would leave the industry altogether due to lack of promotion opportunities, organisational cultural norms, poor work-life balance and an uncertain industry future. Deloitte found that 90% of women feel they are under-represented in automotive’ s leadership positions, with 42% believing an industry bias towards men still exists for leadership positions, driven by organisational cultural norms.