Households ‘facing budget shortfall’; Energy bills cap to be extended; NatWest payments blunder; Rare Escort heads to auction – Car Dealer Magazine

Households ‘could face £100-per-month budget shortfall by 2024’

Households could be left around £100 per month short of what they need to cover their spending in just two years’ time on average, as costs rise faster than incomes, a report out today suggests.

The Yorkshire Building Society study of 4,000 people estimates that by 2024, average weekly incomes could increase to £680 while average weekly UK household spending may reach £705 as energy prices and other costs push up the prices of goods and services.

The projected gap adds up to a shortfall of around £100 per month. The survey was carried out alongside economic analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research to examine the financial resilience of households.


Cap on energy bills to be extended past 2023

The government plans to continue capping household energy bills after 2023 when current legislation is set to run out.

It said the cap was the best way of protecting millions of households across the country, despite recent record rises in energy bills that happened when the price cap was in place.

In yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, delivered by the Prince of Wales, the government also promised that a new Energy Bill will aim to support a low-carbon energy system, reduce dependence on gas over the long term and provide measures to help the industry step up investment in electric heat pumps, which are a clean alternative to gas boilers.

NatWest apologises over double payments blunder

NatWest has apologised after thousands of customer accounts mistakenly showed debit card purchases twice.

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The error meant some accounts displayed lower available balances than they should have.

Around 112,000 NatWest customers are thought to have been affected, although there won’t have been an impact on most. The bank says it will ensure that anyone affected won’t be left out of pocket.

Empty shops to be made available under plans to revive high streets

Landlords will have to make shops that have been vacant for more than a year available to prospective tenants under plans to revitalise struggling town centres.

Unlocking new powers for local authorities to bring empty premises back into use and instigate rental auctions of vacant commercial properties in town centres and on high streets were included in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

Other measures include the ability to make the pavement cafes that sprang up during the Covid-19 pandemic a permanent part of the town-centre landscape.

Three to switch off 3G network by end of 2024

Mobile operator Three has said it will switch off its 3G network by the end of 2024 as investment and customer usage shifts to 4G and 5G.

The network said 5G usage on its network more than quadrupled last year and had already surpassed 3G network use.

Shutting down 3G would free up resources to improve 4G connectivity and continue its 5G rollout, it added, with more than £2bn committed to the UK.

Amazon fires two union organisers tied to first US labour win

Amazon has fired two employees with ties to the grassroots union that led the first successful US organising effort in the retail giant’s history.

The company said it had fired Michal Cusick and Tristan Dutchin of the Amazon Labour Union on Staten Island, New York.

The tech firm claimed the ‘cases are unrelated to each other and unrelated to whether these individuals support any particular cause or group’. Cusick said he was fired because of Covid-related leave, while an Amazon spokesperson said Dutchin had been sacked because he failed to meet productivity goals.

Iconic 1971 Mk1 Ford Escort RS1600 could fetch £65,000

Ford Escort RS1600 interior, via Car & Classic

Fast Ford enthusiasts have a rare opportunity to buy an iconic classic Escort.

A 1971 Ford Escort RS1600 with bundles of documentation is heading to auction today on Car & Classic. It wasn’t the first RS-badged Ford but is widely considered to be the beginning of the legendary line of performance cars.

It hasn’t been converted to a competition car so retains its road-ready status, and has undergone a comprehensive restoration. Because there are so few examples left and it has a continuous history, as well as never having been raced, it could sell for £65,000.

Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Tesco Mobile ads banned for replacing expletives with food names

Adverts for Tesco Mobile have been banned for replacing expletives with food names, with the Advertising Standards Authority receiving 52 complaints that the ads were offensive.

The national newspaper ads, Twitter post and outdoor posters used the words ‘shiitake’, ‘pistachio’ and ‘fettuccine’ as allusions to swear words in ways that ‘were likely to cause serious and widespread offence’, the watchdog ruled.

For example, a paid-for Twitter post, seen in February, stated: ‘What a load of shiit’ in large text, with an image of a mushroom next to it. The mushroom then rolled away to reveal the text ‘shiitake’, replacing ‘shiit’. A line underneath read: ‘Did you know the big mobile networks are raising your bills?’

Apple discontinues the iPod

Apple has discontinued the iPod music player after more than 20 years on the market.

The most recent version of the device – the iPod Touch – hasn’t been updated since 2019 and many of its features are now incorporated into other Apple devices and services.

Apple said it would continue to sell the Touch ‘while supplies last’. When it was introduced in 2001, the iPod was the first MP3 player capable of storing 1,000 songs and came with a 10-hour battery life.

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Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed up 26.64 points yesterday to end on 7,243.22. Meanwhile, the Cac 40 rose by 30.89 points to 6,116.91, the Dax went up by 154.07 points to finish on 13,534.74 but the Dow Jones closed 84.96 points down at 32,160.74.

Weather outlook

Northern areas will start today with a mix of sun and scattered showers, says BBC Weather. Towards the south, rain and cloud will move in from the west.

Thursday will begin bright and dry for most, but cloud will then build from the west, meaning showers in Scotland as well as other northern areas. Meanwhile, it’ll remain dry in the south, with variable cloud.

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