New Porsche mistakenly put on sale at bargain price in China

( via – – Fri, 3rd Feb 2023) London, Uk – –

Potential car buyers in China have found that an online advert for a luxury sports car was just too good to be true.

A Porsche dealership in the the city of Yinchuan listed the brand new vehicle for 124,000 yuan ($18,300, £15,000).

That is just a fraction of what it should have been. The Panamera has a starting price of $148,000.

The promotion attracted hundreds of would-be buyers who rushed to secure what appeared to be a bargain.


A spokesperson for the German car maker told the BBC that the promotion “contained a serious mistake in the listed retail price”, which was taken down immediately.

“As there was only one vehicle in stock, in accordance with the sales process, Porsche Centre Yinchuan has communicated with the first customer who made an online refunded reservation fee and has negotiated an agreeable outcome”, they added.

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The dealership also contacted “every bidder individually and explained the situation with apology”.

The incorrect information was posted on 30 January and customers who paid the 911 yuan reservation fee have been refunded, Porsche said.

The incident caused a stir on Chinese social media, with one commentator posting “This is why I don't buy Porsche lol”.

Others thought that it was just a promotional strategy that was “well conducted”.

It was also suggested that the company had been “irresponsible” and should have honoured the cut-price offer.

Another social media user claimed to be the first person to try to buy the car but had cancelled their order when they were told the real price. They said it would have been wrong to try to take advantage of a mistake.

Porsche started selling cars in mainland China more than 20 years ago.


In recent years the company expanded its footprint in the world's second largest economy as it opened new dealerships.

The country is now Porsche's largest single market globally, with sales totalling $6.2bn in the first six months of last year.

By Monica Miller

HS2 may not run through to central London – report

( via – – Fri, 27th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

The HS2 rail line is a “specific priority”, the chancellor has insisted, following a report the scheme may no longer reach central London.

The Sun reported that rising inflation and construction costs mean HS2 trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead.

The paper said bosses were considering pushing back its Euston terminus to 2038, or scrapping it completely.

The government has not denied the report.


The move would mean trains would run from a new hub at Old Oak Common, about 8km (five miles) away, and commuters would have to use the Elizabeth Line or Tube to travel to central London.

HS2, or High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped.

In a speech setting out his long-term vision for economic growth, Jeremy Hunt said HS2 was a “specific priority for me in the Autumn statement”.

He said the government was “absolutely committed to showing that we can deliver big important infrastructure projects”.

“That is why in the Autumn Statement we protected key projects like HS2, East West Rail and core Northern Powerhouse Rail”, he said.

The Sun also reported that a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered.

Speaking at Bloomberg's European HQ, in London, Mr Hunt said he was “incredibly proud that under a Conservative government for the first time we have shovels in the ground”.

“But large infrastructure projects still take too long and if we are to deliver our ambitions we need to find a way to speed them up.”

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Work on the first phase of the project – between London and Birmingham – is well under way and that part of the line is due to open by 2033.

But the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route and its potential environmental impact.

Pressure group Stop HS2 said it believed the project would increase carbon emissions and damage areas of natural beauty. Protesters, including veteran eco-protester Swampy, have built tunnels in an attempt to disrupt HS2 construction.

The estimated cost of HS2 was between £72bn and £98bn at 2019 prices. A budget of £55.7bn for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015 – but this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled.

A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3bn target for the first section of the line would be met.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said HS2 was “experiencing high levels of inflation” and it was working with “suppliers actively to mitigate inflationary increases”.

Research from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Office for National Statistics published in September showed that construction materials across the UK experienced inflation of 18% from August 2021 to August 2022.

Mr Harper said inflation was not affecting the “overall affordability of HS2 in real terms” but it was “creating pressures against its existing annual funding settlements”.

Henri Murison, CEO of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said that if the HS2 rail link did not go to Euston, this would have “a number of significant disadvantages”.

“Because actually people in the north of England, people in Birmingham will want to get access to central London – that's what they currently have through the normal mainline network”, he told the BBC.

However, Lord Tony Berkeley questioned whether more services to London were needed and said money would be better spent on local and regional services.

The Labour peer, who in 2019 was deputy chairman of a government review into HS2, said: “My view is that we should aim for the regions – the north and the midlands – to have a commuter service as good as in the south east.”

The head of the National Infrastructure Commission told BBC News in November that cutting back on the HS2 rail route would be “silly”.


“I think you've got massive investment, which has happened in Birmingham ahead of HS2 – it just shows what can happen. And Manchester of course equally is now seeing investment off the back of HS2. I think that would be a very strange decision,” he said.

A senior figure at the Department for Transport warned last week that “quite tough decisions” could lie ahead for the scheme.

By Aoife Walsh



Digital nomad’ visas are easier to get than ever — especially if you’re rich

Source: CNBC

Money can buy many things — a tasty meal, a nice car, a luxurious home.

But what about a long-term stay as a digital nomad on the beautiful Indonesian resort island of Bali? Well, for people with $130,000 to spare in their bank account, that could become a reality too.

Digital nomads are “people who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world,” according to one firm that links independent consultants with clients.

As of June 2022, more than 25 countries and territories had issued digital nomad visas to draw remote workers, whose number has increased since the pandemic started.

The Indonesian government, however, is taking a slightly different approach through a “second home visa” that permits wealthy foreigners, professionals, investors and retirees to stay in the country for up to 10 years.

Watch the video above to learn how this visa stacks up against the ones issued by other countries, and to learn about the difficulties policymakers face in making it a success.


Cornwall prepares for UK’s first orbital rocket launch


( via– Mon, 9th Jan, 2023) London, Uk – –

A modified Virgin Boeing 747 with a 21-metre rocket attached to its wing will take off from Newquay on Monday night in a historic moment for the country's first spaceport.

There's a “bubbling of excitement” in the team preparing for the UK's first orbital rocket launch but they are “laser sharp” as final checks are carried out, says the mission's boss.

The Start Me Up mission sets out from Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Airport, with the launch window now starting around 10.16pm on Monday.

It will be the first orbital launch from UK soil – or anywhere in western Europe – and comes after technical issues pushed it back from before Christmas.

“Space launch is a very serious business and we'll be looking at integrating all the information about the system, about the weather, about the range,” said Virgin Orbit boss Dan Hart.

There won't be the fire and noise of a NASA launch however.

nstead, a modified Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl will carry the 21-metre LaucherOne rocket – which contains a number of small satellites – to 35,000ft before it fires into space and eventually reaches 8,000mph.

It'll happen about an hour after take off and the event will be livestreamed online.

“Right now everything is green” for launch, Mr Hart said on Sunday afternoon.

“The rocket was armed yesterday [Saturday] and we'll be loading fuel later today. So we're in full motion right now,” he told reporters.

With the rocket attached below the plane's wing, he said crosswinds were something they needed to keep an eye on.

Among the satellites on board are a prototype orbiting factory for making high-value alloys and semiconductors, and one to join a constellation of satellites monitoring illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking, piracy and terrorism.

Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall, said the teams involved had “absolutely smashed it” and she was feeling confident ahead of the big day.

“I just feel so excited… I cannot wait for the UK to join that exclusive launch club because it's gonna feel good,” she said.

Mr Hart said putting the satellites into orbit would be relatively quick once the rocket is in motion.

“We'll do a three-minute burn on the first stage, followed by about six minutes of second-stage burn. We'll coast around Antarctica, come up around near Australia, then we'll watch the final burn and the payloads deployed.”

He said “everything needs to go right” for the mission to work.

The Cornwall spaceport is the first to get a licence in the UK, but more could follow in the coming years as demand from businesses to launch small satellites increases.

“There are seven other spaceports that have been identified in the UK for both vertical and horizontal launch,” said Ian Annett, Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency.



He said Snowdonia in North Wales and Glasgow Prestwick Airport were among them and that local authorities were looking at those opportunities.

Some “futureproofing” was done at Newquay Airport to make it capable of also serving as a spaceport, said Ms Thorpe, including strengthening the taxiways and turnpads to ensure the Virgin Orbit plane can manoeuvre easier.

“When Virgin are not here we can open it up to other companies,” she said.

“We have a brand new facility that's opening that will have other space companies – it's full and we haven't even opened it yet. That's how excited people are.”


The $18 Billion Global Commercial Aviation Aircraft Paint Market

Source: CNBC

Dean Baldwin Painting, founded in 1965, is an aircraft painting company with five facilities across the U.S. It has painted aircraft for some of the largest airlines in the world, including United, Delta and JetBlue. The cost to manufacture, operate, maintain and fly commercial aircraft is generally expensive, but not many think about the expense that goes into painting one.

The average cost falls between $175,000 and $200,000, according to the company. The entire painting process can take up 10 days and involves multiple engineers, painters and inspectors, all of whom are responsible for meeting the standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The market itself is a growing one: The global commercial aviation aircraft paint market was estimated at nearly $18.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to a $65 billion by 2027.


BA unveils jumpsuits in 20 years uniform first revamp


( via – – Fri, 6th Jan 2023) London, Uk – –

The airline industry was once notorious for imposing strict rules on how its airline staff looked.

British Airways is the latest airline to try to shake-off that reputation with its first uniform revamp in 20 years – and it includes a jumpsuit.


It follows Virgin Atlantic allowing male pilots and crew to wear skirts and female colleagues to choose trousers.

As well as the all-in-one, designer Ozwald Boateng has also created a tunic and hijab for BA's new uniform.

But it has taken some time to get the clothes from the page to the plane – nearly five years in fact, including two years of delays because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During that time, Mr Boateng's designs have been put through their paces including testing the gear for BA's outdoor workers in freezing temperatures and pouring rain.

Finally the collection will be rolled out in spring for BA's 30,000 staff. Mr Boateng, a Savile Row tailor, has designed a three-piece suit for men while women can choose to wear a dress, skirt or trousers.

BA's new jumpsuit
Staff will be allowed to order different cuts – normal or skinny-fit trousers – and will be able to book a fitting so the uniform is more tailored.

As for the jumpsuit, that will be for female check-in staff at first but BA expects cabin crew to be able to wear them by the middle of the year – after further testing.

Female cabin crew have already been trying out the new uniform and asked for changes. Emma Carey said: “The pockets on the apron, for example, were widened after the trial so we had more room for everything we need during meal services on board.”

Engineers also requested tool pockets, and ground handlers asked for glove fabric that could cope with touch screens.

Last year, rival airline Virgin Atlantic announced it was taking a “fluid approach” to uniforms which allowed staff to choose their clothing “no matter their gender”.

Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng has designed a three-piece suit for BA's male employees

Though it later said the policy did not apply to crew on board the England football team's flight to the World Cup in Qatar, which has been criticised for its treatment of LGBT people.

A spokesperson for BA said that although its uniforms were gendered, it has a policy which allows staff who identify as a certain gender to wear that clothing.


BA's uniforms by Ozwald Boateng (left) will replace those designed by Julien MacDonald (right)
“As a colleague, you can chat to us about that and you can wear what you want. We've got a number of transgender colleagues, and have had that policy for decades,” he said.

BA relaxed its dress code last year by allowing male pilots and cabin crew to wear makeup and nail varnish.


Rail workers, Border Force staff and driving examiners resume industrial action – as Wirral bin worker strike called off after pay offer accepted

( via– Fri, 30th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

The walkouts are taking place as unions look at ways to stage further strikes by splitting ballots by job titles rather than holding a single vote, according to reports.

Border Force, rail and driving test staff are resuming strike action today – but strikes by waste collection workers in Wirral have been called off after a pay offer was accepted.


Those striking on Wednesday include:

  • Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) at Great Western Railway will walk out from noon to 11.59am on Thursday
  • West Midlands Trains will strike for 24 hours from noon until the same time on Thursday
  • Driving examiners from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union at 71 test centres will launch a five-day strike
  • Border Force officers at the same union will begin a four-day strike at six airports across the UK

But more than 200 bin workers in Wirral have ended their industrial action after securing a 15% pay rise backdated to April.

Unite the union members employed by Biffa Waste Management held a week-long strike earlier this month and had planned further industrial action from today.

Union officer John McColl said: “Following renewed negotiations, an improved offer was put forward from Biffa which our members voted to accept.

“The dispute has now ended and strike action has been cancelled”.

A Biffa spokeswoman said services would now resume and “any missed collections will be picked up as soon as possible”.

But no such agreement to halt the strikes has been reached on the railways, with West Midlands Trains saying none of its services would be running from Wednesday morning as a result of the TSSA industrial action.

TSSA organising director Nadine Rae said the government could help end strike action if it allows employers to “freely negotiate” with others.

Asked about reports that rail union and industry bosses are “nearly there” in agreeing a pay deal, Ms Rae told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that “things have not changed since before Christmas in terms of a deal”.

She added: “It's the government that needs to shift this situation and we really want them to, we know the disruption is frustrating for people.”

Network Rail has told passengers to prepare for “significantly disrupted” travel into the new year amid the wave of industrial unrest.

‘Strikes could be called off tomorrow'

Driving instructors, who are part of the PCS union, are also taking part in continued industrial action – walking out of test centres across Eastern England and the Midlands.

They are set to return to work on 1 January.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These strikes could be called off tomorrow if Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt put some money on the table.”

Mr Serwotka said his union's members “have been offered a pay rise of just 2% at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is above 10%”.

But Downing Street today doubled down on its belief that a “fair agreement” to end strike action should not involve double-digit pay rises for workers.

A number 10 spokesperson told reporters such salary increases would “embed inflation” and said officials want to see unions hold further talks with employers to end strike action.

Border Force officers at Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports and the port of Newhaven have also resumed strikes in the same dispute, and will return to work on New Year's Eve.

A Home Office spokesperson said passengers should expect disruption during the action, but added that staff are “working hard to ensure travellers have a safe and secure journey”.

Unions trying to find ways to stage more strikes

Unions are looking at ways to stage further strikes by splitting ballots by job titles rather than holding a single vote, according to reports.

The i newspaper reported that the TSSA is poised to let different sections of its membership vote at different times in order to carry out multiple walkouts per week.

The Department for Transport has described the reports as “incredibly disappointing” and urged unions to “step back, reconsider and get back around the table”.

Elsewhere, a new poll has suggested that 40% of junior doctors plan to leave the health service as soon as they can find another role.

While a third (33%) of the 4,500 junior doctors in England surveyed said they were planning to work in another country in the next year.

Pay and poor working conditions were the main reasons cited for wanting to leave, according to the British Medical Association (BMA) poll.


The BMA warned that the NHS “would not be able to cope” without two fifths of its junior doctor workforce.

It comes ahead of an industrial action ballot of some 45,000 junior doctors in England, which will open on Monday 9 January.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our multi-year pay deal with the British Medical Association is increasing junior doctor's pay by a cumulative 8.2% by 2023.”

By Sophie Morris


How Recalls Are Costing Automakers Billions Of Dollars

Source: CNBC

In 2021, a total of 1,093 motor vehicle recalls were submitted in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s up 23% in just one year. Financial experts say one reason why automakers’ earnings multiples are lower than other companies is to do with the frequency of those recalls. That is especially true of legacy manufacturers such as Ford, GM, Stellantis, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and Hyundai. Meanwhile, new automakers like Rivian and Tesla present unique challenges and have contributed to recalls becoming more common. Other recalls have been of the deadly serious variety, such as the Ford Pinto that burst into flames in the 1970s, and the more recent experience of Takata, the airbag maker whose products appeared in automakers’ models from 2002 to 2015.


Airport strikes by UK Border Force staff could go on for months, says PCS union boss

( via – – Mon, 23rd Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Strikes by Border Force staff at UK airports could go on for months unless the government enters talks over pay, the head of the PCS union has said.

Mark Serwotka said the union had a “mandate” for walkouts up until May.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “sad” about disruption caused by strikes, but said he had acted “fairly and reasonably” over public sector pay.



Thousands of travellers arriving in the UK have been told to expect delays over Christmas as border staff walk out.

Congestion and delays on major roads is also expected as the Christmas getaway begins.

The AA and RAC motoring groups said that Friday would be the busiest day on the roads this week, with an estimated 16.9 million journeys being made across the UK.

National Highways has urged drivers to plan journeys and take extra care with rain set to hit various areas of the country over the coming days.

Meanwhile, 1,000 Border Force staff – many of whom check passports – are staging the first of a series of strikes from Friday to 26 December and from 28 to 31 December.

Employees are walking out at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports, as well as the Port of Newhaven. Military personnel and civil servants have been drafted in to cover strikers.

Mr Serwotka said disruption for passengers was an “unfortunate reality” of the strikes but said any anger should be directed at the government, who he claimed had “ignored” the union.

He said the union was raising cash for a strike fund which meant members could “sustain” strikes “for months and after Christmas”.

“Not only could it be six months, I think in January what you will see is a huge escalation of this action in the civil service and across the rest of the economy unless the government get around the negotiating table,” he said.

Mr Sunak said: “I want to make sure we reduce inflation, part of that is being responsible when it comes to setting public sector pay.

“In the long term it's the right thing for the whole country that we beat inflation.”

Separately, a planned 72-hour walkout by Menzies baggage handlers at Heathrow that had been due to start on 29 December has been called off after members of the Unite union voted to accept an improved pay offer.

This will be the busiest Christmas for airports since 2019, and the first without any Covid restrictions in place.

Some 579 flights are due to land at Heathrow on Friday. However, early on Friday, there had been no issues reported at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester.

Heathrow, the UK's busiest airport, said passengers on departing flights would be unlikely to be delayed. It said arriving passengers would be able to use passport e-gates as usual, but these cannot be used by all passengers, including children under 12.



Adam Jones, head of passenger operations at Gatwick, said in a worst-case scenario, there would be queues of two hours for passengers arriving at the airport, but added there were no plans to hold people on aircraft.

The Home Office said it had been working to minimise delays for passengers.

By Michael Race & Tom Espiner

Rail fares in England to increase up to 5.9% in March

( via – – Thu, 22nd Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Government says it has made its biggest ever intervention to keep rise below inflation, but Labour condemns ‘sick joke’

Rail fares in England will rise by up to 5.9% in March after what the government called “its biggest ever intervention” to keep the cost of travel below soaring inflation.

It is the first time in more than 25 years that regulated rail fares have increased by less than inflation. The leap in the cost of rail travel, the biggest in the last decade, will take effect from 5 March.

Campaigners and businesses said the increase was a blow to travellers while Labour called it a “sick joke” with many rail companies, especially in the north, failing to run adequate services.


The increase is 6.4 percentage points below the July 2022 inflation figure based on the retail prices index (RPI), which the fare rises have normally matched.

Instead, the government said it had for this year only aligned the increase to that month’s growth in average earnings instead of RPI.

The transport secretary, Mark Harper, said: “This is the biggest ever government intervention in rail fares. It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy. We do not want to add to the problem.

“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.”

The Department for Transport said taxpayers had subsidised the railways by £31bn since the start of the pandemic – a figure that is at least £16bn more than it would have expected under normal conditions.

The shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh, said: “This savage fare hike will be a sick joke for millions reliant on crumbling services. People up and down this country are paying the price for 12 years of Tory failure.”

David Sidebottom, the director of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said research showed most passengers did not think railways were delivering value for the fares. He said: “After months of unreliable services and strike disruption, it’s clear that too many passengers are not getting a value for money service.

“Capping fares below inflation and the delay until March is welcome and will go some way to easing the pain, but the need for reform of fares and ticketing in the longer term must not be forgotten.”

Campaigners contrasted the fares policy with the government’s action on motoring and aviation. Norman Baker of the Campaign for Better Transport said that while the increase could have been much worse, “this is still a large rise which will deter some people from using the railways”.

He said: “This increase stands in stark contrast to the situation with fuel duty, which was cut earlier this year after being frozen for years.”

Baker said fares should be frozen to encourage a return to rail, funded by taxing fuel on domestic flights.

Clive Wratten, the chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said: “People travelling for work have been hammered by strikes, inconsistent timetables and cancelled trains in the run-up to Christmas – this is another grab for their wallets.”


Rail strikes, in the long-running dispute over pay and conditions, resulted in only 20% of trains running last week, with more strikes on Christmas Eve and from 3 January across Network Rail and train operators. An overtime ban by Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association members at train operators has also massively affected services in some areas, notably on South Western and Chiltern railways. On top of staffing issues, TransPennine Express said IT problems caused it to cancel a third of trains and warn passengers to stay away on Wednesday.

By Gwyn Topham

Virgin Orbit awarded licences for UK’s first space launch

( via– Wed, 21st Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit is planning a launch from Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay in the coming weeks.

Space launches are set to take place in the UK after Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit was granted licences to operate them.


The decision was described as a “milestone” by the space regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Virgin Orbit is planning a launch from Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay in the coming weeks.

A modified Boeing 747 will carry a rocket and release it in a designated location over the Atlantic Ocean.

The mission is named Start Me Up in tribute to rock band The Rolling Stones

Spaceport Cornwall is one of seven spaceports being developed across Britain.

The first vertical space launch is expected to take place next year from the planned SaxaVord Spaceport on Unst in Shetland.

A public consultation on the environmental effects of the spaceport was launched by the CAA last month.

The locations for four other proposed spaceports in Scotland are: the A' Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland; Prestwick in South Ayrshire; Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute; and North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

Another spaceport has been planned at Llanbedr, Gwynedd, in North Wales.

The government hopes commercial space launches will be worth £3.8bn to the UK economy over the next decade.


Virgin Orbit chief executive Dan Hart said: “Receiving Virgin Orbit's range and launch licences takes us one step closer to the first satellite launch take-off from UK soil.

“This is a major milestone for the CAA and represents the successful completion of an enormous effort, which has included the construction of new regulations, new processes and new teams.”

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire, business reporter


Bus fares being capped at £2 by 130 companies

( via – – Mon, 19th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

The government initiative hopes to help passengers get to work, school and appointments more cheaply amid 10.1% inflation.

Bus fares are being capped at £2 by 130 operators outside of London to help passengers with the cost of living crisis.


The Department for Transport is funding the £60m scheme, which will put an upper limit on single journeys.

Currently the average single bus fare in England costs £2.80 – but can rise to more than £5 in rural areas where services are sparse.

Now 130 bus companies, including National Express and Stagecoach, will commit to capping one-way fares at £2. The scheme does not apply to London.

Children's tickets are also being frozen at £1 for a single journey on National Express coaches only, and not as part of the DfT's scheme.

The government initiative hopes to help passengers get to work, school and appointments more cheaply amid 10.1% inflation.

Buses minister Richard Holden said: “Brits love buses. They're the most popular form of public transport in England, making up half of all journeys.

“The scheme will also take two million car journeys off the road and it's fantastic to see so many bus operators signing up.”


National Express chief executive Tom Stables added: “More people using buses is good for the economy, environment and wider society.

“Bus travel is simple, cheap and easy and there's never been a better time to get onboard.”


BA and Virgin halt ticket sales to Heathrow on strike days

( via – – Fri, 16th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have stopped selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on the days Border Force staff strike over Christmas, the BBC understands.

Border Force has asked airports who are expecting passenger numbers on strike days to be above 70-80% of 2019 levels to “supress demand”.

The move is to better manage the flow of people through border control.

Workers will stage the first walkout on Friday 23 December.


A source at Heathrow told the BBC the airport had met with BA and Virgin, its two home-based airlines, to request a restriction on new ticket sales, which the airlines had agreed to.

Around 1,000 Border Force staff who work in passport control will walk out on 23-26 and 28-31 December at Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports as well as at the Port of Newhaven.

The Home Office has warned passengers should expect disruption.

British Airways has stopped selling inbound flights on all eight days that staff are expected to strike.

Virgin Atlantic is restricting ticket sales on 23, 28, 29 and 30 December, with the expectation that those will be the busiest passenger days at Heathrow, the UK's biggest airport.

About 75% of Border Force staff are members of the PCS union, which balloted for strike action after it said the government had refused to increase a 2% pay rise offer.

Military personnel, civil servants and volunteers are being trained to check passports when Border Force staff walk out.

The Home Office said it was “extremely disappointed” with the PCS union's decision to strike, adding it would cause a “significant inconvenience” to travellers over the Christmas period.

A statement said the government had “robust plans” in place to minimise any delays, but warned “passengers should be prepared for disruption and take action to plan ahead”.

“Those intending to travel into the UK over strike days should keep up-to-date with the latest advice from operators to check how the proposed strike action will affect their journey,” a spokesperson said.

Heathrow Airport and both airlines have not commented on the ticket restrictions.

The airport said it expects the majority of passengers to be unaffected by the strike action, and that it has not asked for flights to be cancelled or removed from the schedule.

“Our priority is to ensure passengers get through the border safely and as quickly as possible,” the airport said.

“We are working closely with airlines and Border Force on mitigation plans for potential strike action by Border Force officers and these plans will now be implemented for the notified days.

“We encourage all parties to resolve this dispute quickly,” a spokesperson added.

Virgin Atlantic said its priority was getting its customers to their destinations and to make them “prepared for longer waits at border control”.

Several airlines are allowing passengers with flights arriving in the UK on strike days to change their tickets free of charge.

EasyJet said any passengers flying into Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow between 22 and 31 December could transfer to another flight on the same route 14 days before or after the strike date.


BA said it was operating the same policy for all passengers with a final destination at Heathrow or Gatwick, or those with a connecting ticket booked as part of their journey to another airport in the UK or Ireland.

Virgin Atlantic said passengers booked on flights into Manchester and Heathrow on strike dates can change tickets with the admin fee and fare difference waived, with the new travel date completed no later than 14 January 2023.

By Oliver Smith


Rolls-Royce Motor award employees up to 17.6% to avert strikes

( via– Fri, 16th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Workers at Rolls-Royce's Goodwood plant are to get a 10% salary rise and a £2,000 one-off payment from next month.

Workers at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' Goodwood factory are to receive a pay award worth up to 17.6% after negotiations between the luxury automaker and Unite the union.

In all, 1,200 production workers at the West Sussex plant are to receive a salary boost of 10% and a one-off payment of £2,000 from January, avoiding the prospect of industrial action.


For the average blue collar worker, the salary rise and separate award equate to a hike of 16%, though production line workers on the lowest rate of pay at the plant will benefit to the tune of 17.6%.

A typical worker's pay will increase by £2,972, notwithstanding the one-off payment.

Taken together, the increases are far above the annual rate of inflation, which stood at 10.7% in November, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, described it as the best pay deal since the site opened.

Agreement was reached between the two sides after union members had voted to take industrial action if a pay rise in line with the cost of living was not forthcoming.

As the cost of living increases and official figures show wage growth has lagged behind inflation – resulting in a real terms pay cut – more than a dozen workforces are striking across the UK.

Public sector workers, including nurses, ambulance drivers and teachers, are staging walkouts, the same workers whose pay has increased 2.7% in the three months up to October compared to 6.9% in the private sector over the same time period, ONS figures showed.

Another private sector workforce secured a win this week, when Heathrow ground handling staff, employed by Menzies, called off their strike after a larger pay offer was presented.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, warned yesterday that private sector pay rises were overshooting expectations, which could stoke inflation.

“I think what we've seen recently is that the earnings numbers, particularly in the private sector, are coming out a bit above what we thought they would be,” Mr Bailey said.

“Not a lot above, I don't want to put to much emphasis on the scale of the, in a sense, the overshoot, but they are coming out a bit above where we thought they'd be.”


Rolls-Royce said: “In the course of our normal pay negotiations process, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was pleased that Unite the Union supported and recommended a positive pay deal.

“We can confirm that a pay rise of 10% will be awarded to all those covered by our collective bargaining agreement from January 2023.

“Negotiations were cordial and constructive throughout.”

Smart motorway radar misses 40% of broken-down vehicles, says regulator

( via – – Thu, 15th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Safety technology on smart motorways is failing to work properly, the regulator has said, with two in five broken-down vehicles missed – and three in four detected in England proving to be false alerts.

National Highways has retrofitted stopped vehicle detection technology (SVD) across all smart motorways without a hard shoulder, after increasing public and political concern about safety.



However, the regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), said the radar-based system was missing critical performance targets in every region.

False alarms were “substantially above the required maximum” of 15%, the ORR said, at 75%, with five in six alerts flagged in the Midlands region proving to be incorrect.

Meanwhile, in some regions, fewer than three in five of vehicles which had stopped were registered by the system.

And only one of National Highways’ five regions detected stopped vehicles within the target time of less than 20 seconds, with some taking more than a minute on average.

Smart motorways, which allow all lanes to be used by traffic instead of having a hard shoulder, are statistically the safest type of roads in Britain. However, the government committed in 2020 to an action plan to improve detection and refuge areas, after a series of deaths in harrowing circumstances where people in broken-down vehicles were hit by other vehicles.

The ORR chief executive, John Larkinson, said: “Our previous work on smart motorway data has shown that these roads are as safe as the motorways they replaced but the number of live lane breakdowns are higher.

“Having the SVD radar detection equipment in place sooner than planned has helped to reduce the duration of these breakdowns more quickly but it’s not working as well as it should.

“While it is still too early to have robust data, it’s clear National Highways needs to urgently improve its performance in this area.”

Motoring organisations said that the findings of the report were concerning.

The AA president, Edmund King, said: “Vulnerable drivers have been left stranded in the most dangerous of places, the live lane of a motorway. If there are doubts about the technology, then the motorways are not smart and we should revert to tried and tested methods.”

Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Whilst it is good news that stopped vehicle detection has been rolled out ahead of schedule, it will remain a concern that it hasn’t yet been fine-tuned to do as much good as it should.”



The National Highways chief executive, Nick Harris, said: “Our roads are among the safest in the world, but every road death is a tragedy and we know there’s more we can do to further improve safety.

“The report acknowledges the good progress we have made in a number of areas, including completing most of the actions in the smart motorway stocktake action plan.”

By Gwyn Topham

McLaren in £250m fundraising talks with investors

( via – – Mon, 5th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

The Formula One team-owner is in talks with the Bahrain and Saudi sovereign wealth funds about a capital injection designed to steer it into the electric vehicle era, Sky News learns.

McLaren Group, the supercar manufacturer and Formula One team-owner, is in talks to raise hundreds of millions of pounds in new funding aimed at steering the British-based company into the electric vehicle era.


Sky News has learnt that McLaren has opened talks with existing shareholders including the sovereign wealth funds of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia about injecting at least £250m into the business in the coming months.

A final figure has yet to be determined, and one insider said that it was likely to be higher than £250m as the company seeks to fortify its balance sheet until the end of the decade.

News of the potential scale of the fundraising, on which investment bankers at Lazard have been drafted in to advise, comes after McLaren was hit by delivery delays on its new Artura hybrid supercar.

Although the new vehicle has received positive reviews, McLaren is having to implement what it described as “technical upgrades to ensure Artura customers enjoy optimum long-term performance”.

These upgrades have been affected by the supply chain delays hampering global automotive production, forcing the Woking-based company to slow production and customer deliveries of the Artura until the end of the month.

One source pointed out that regardless of the Artura issues, McLaren had always planned to engage with investors about implementing “the right capital structure to support our long-term growth strategy and business plan”.

Both Mumtalakat Holding, a long-standing McLaren shareholder, and Saudi's Public Investment Fund, are expected to commit to the new capital-raising.

Ares Management, another McLaren investor, is also likely to be involved.

It emerged this week that Mumtalakat had acquired part of McLaren's valuable heritage car collection as part of a further £100m financial commitment to the business.

Insiders said the impending fundraising of at least £250m was in addition to that £100m.

On a third-quarter earnings call this week, McLaren said it was in “in active talks with all shareholders regarding a recapitalization of the group”, although it did not elaborate on the size or structure of a prospective deal.

It was unclear this weekend whether the new funds would be provided in equity, although financial restructuring experts are also said to be involved in the situation.

The funds would be entirely earmarked for McLaren Automotive, with its Racing subsidiary now a standalone entity within the group and not in need of additional financial support.

Earlier this year, McLaren named former Ferrari executive Michael Leiters as the boss of its road-car division.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was forced into a far-reaching restructuring that saw hundreds of jobs axed and substantial sums raised in equity and debt to repair its balance sheet.

In its racing division, which includes the Formula One cars driven this year by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren has also witnessed a turnaround under Zak Brown, who leads that arm of the company.

McLaren has also undertaken a series of corporate transactions since the start of the pandemic, when it sought a government loan – a request which was rebuffed by ministers.

Paul Walsh, the former Diageo chief who joined in 2020 as executive chairman, has overseen the sale of a stake in McLaren Racing to a separate group of investors, as well as a £170m sale-and-leaseback of its spectacular Surrey headquarters.

Last year, it also sold McLaren Applied Technologies, which generates revenue from sales to corporate customers.

Founded in 1963 by Bruce McLaren, the group possesses one of the most famous names in British motorsport.

During half a century of competing in F1, it has won the constructors' championship eight times, while its drivers have included the likes of Mika Hakkinen, Lewis Hamilton, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.

In total, the team has won 180 Grands Prix, three Indianapolis 500s and the Le Mans 24 Hours on its debut.

McLaren's on-track operations account for roughly 20% of the group's annual revenues.


The company saw its separate divisions reunited following the departure in 2017 of Ron Dennis, the veteran McLaren boss who had steered its F1 team through the most successful period in its history.

Mr Dennis offloaded his stake in a £275m deal following a bitter dispute with fellow shareholders.

This weekend, McLaren declined to comment further on its fundraising talks.

By Mark Kleinman


Ford to investment £140 mln in Uk EV plants to boost output

( via — Thur, 1st Dec 2022) London, UK —

Ford Motor Co (F.N) will invest an extra 149 million pounds ($180 million) to boost output of electric vehicle (EV) power units by 70% at its engine factory in northern England as the U.S. carmaker accelerates its push to go electric.

Electric drive unit production capacity at the Halewood plant will increase to 420,000 units a year, from 250,000 units, starting in 2024, the Detroit-based carmaker said on Thursday.


The move will bring Ford's total investment in the combustion engine factory's transition to production of EV parts to 380 million pounds.

“This is a very significant and important part of scaling up for our transformation,” said Tim Slatter, head of Ford in Britain. “This is a really big deal for Ford’s business in Europe.”

The EV power unit, which consists of an electric motor and gearbox, replaces the engine and transmission of a fossil-fuel vehicle.

Ford has committed to selling only fully electric cars in Europe by 2030 and only electric commercial vans by 2035. That puts it ahead of the European Union's plans to effectively ban the sale of new fossil-fuel passenger cars by 2035.

Slatter said Ford plans to have nine fully electric models on sale in Europe by 2024, with Halewood supplying power units to assembly plants in Romania and Turkey for five high-volume models, including an electric version of the popular Puma SUV.

Halewood is expected to supply 70% of the 600,000 EVs the company aims to sell in Europe annually by 2026, Ford said.

The latest Ford investment includes 125 million pounds in the plant itself and 24 million pounds in the development and testing of new EV parts for production at Halewood.


Ford said the investment will safeguard more than 500 jobs.

The UK government contributed to the initial EV power unit investment at Halewood, which was announced by Ford last year.

By Nick Carey

Eurostar security staff to strike in run-up to Christmas

( via – – Wed, 30th Nov 2022) London, Uk – –

Security staff who work on the Eurostar train service are to strike for four days in the run-up to Christmas in a dispute over pay.

The walkouts are planned to take place on 16, 18, 22 and 23 December.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, employed by a private contractor, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the action.


Eurostar said it would update customers as soon as possible if there was any impact on services.

However, the union said the strike would “severely affect” passengers.

More than 100 security staff employed by facilities management company Mitie are due to walk out, following a 4-1 vote in favour of strike action.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the security staff were “essential” to the running of Eurostar, and “it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage”.

“They work long, unsocial hours and a multimillion-pound company like Mitie can easily afford to pay them decently for the essential work they do.”

However, Mitie said that on Tuesday it had offered staff a “significant” 10% pay increase, and that it was “disappointed” that RMT had decided to take strike action.

“As always, our priority is to ensure that exceptional services are delivered as normal so that passengers are able to continue their journeys with minimal disruption,” a Mitie spokesperson said.

A wave of strikes have hit the UK's railways in the past few months as workers demand better pay deals and try to stop job cuts and changes to working conditions.

More action is planned in the coming weeks.

The RMT has announced strikes at Network Rail and 14 train companies on 13-14 December, 16-17 December, 3-4 January and 6-7 January.

The train drivers' union Aslef has also staged walkouts in a dispute over pay, although no further strikes are planned at the moment.

Workers in other sectors of the economy have also either taken industrial action or planned it, in protest about working conditions, pensions and pay.

Royal Mail staff, members of the University and College Union and airline ground handlers are among those who have already been on strike, while nurses and paramedics are planning walkouts in the future.


The industrial action has been prompted by soaring prices – inflation is running at more than 11% a year – meaning workers are being squeezed as living costs rise faster than wages.

Many workers are now calling for pay increases in line with the higher cost of living.

Energy and food prices have been rising since last year because of the war in Ukraine and the impact of the Covid pandemic.

By Karen Hoggan