The Week in Westminster

01 September 2006 #SMMT News

In this week’s report:

  • Cameron calls for mandatory climate change target
  • CEBR reveals level of car reliance in the UK
  • Ford announces strategic review of Aston Martin
  • Insurer to increase premiums as claim payouts increase
  • Shadow Chancellor supports ‘green’ taxation
  • DTI launch renewables web site
  • Highways Agency to pilot use of hard shoulder despite criticism
  • DTI publishes 2005 SME statistics
  • Diary


1. Cameron calls for mandatory climate change target

Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, has joined Friends of the Earth in pressuring Government to introduce a Climate Change Bill later this year. In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, which was also signed by the Liberal Democrats, Mr Cameron called for legislation to set an annual three per cent CO2 reduction in the UK. The Bill could be announced in the Queen’s speech to Parliament in November and would, it is claimed, put the UK back on track to meet key environmental targets. On current performance, the UK is unlikely to meet its target to cut CO2 emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2010. In March this year, the Government’s UK Climate Change Programme recommended the introduction of an annual emissions report to Parliament to assess progress towards key targets. (Source: Conservatives)



2. CEBR reveals level of car reliance in the UK

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has produced a report on private and public transport usage entitled ‘The Transport Map of the UK.’ The report concludes that almost 15 million people (47%) in the UK feel their car is essential for every journey they make adding that public transport is inadequate even for short journeys. The report stated that if necessary only around a quarter of journeys by car could be replaced by public transport, walking or cycling. These people typically live in city centres where public transport provision is more accessible. For the same reason the number of people driving to work in these areas is around a third lower. Around 10 per cent of drivers said they would not give up their car, no matter how expensive it became to run. (Source: CEBR)



3. Ford announces strategic review of Aston Martin

Ford has announced it has begun a strategic review of Aston Martin, which will examine the potential sale of all or part of the company. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Ford, stated that Aston Martin had flourished under Ford ownership and as such a possible sale would be prudent to help raise capital. The structure of Aston Martin within Ford would make any sale relatively straightforward. Mr Ford confirmed that no decisions had been made regarding the other Premier Automotive Group (PAG) brands following recent speculation on the future of Jaguar. (Source: Ford)



4. Insurer to increase premiums as claim payouts increase

Norwich Union has revealed that it has had no choice but to raise the cost of its premiums by an average of 16 per cent as the cost of payouts to customers had significantly increased in recent years. The insurer claimed that over recent years personal injury claims had increased by 10 per cent per year and repair costs to cars had increased by around six per cent per year. With Norwich Union placed as the biggest player in the marketplace, other insurers are now expected to increase premiums as well. (Source: Auto Industry)



5. Shadow Chancellor supports ‘green’ taxation

The Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has confirmed that a Conservative government would increase the percentage of taxes raised through environmental taxation. The Conservatives would increase the overall tax take from environmental taxation and will develop proposals over the next two years with the Party’s key policy groups. The Shadow Chancellor added that the climate change levy should be replaced by a carbon levy on industry. (Source: DeHavilland)



6. DTI launch renewables web site

The Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) has outlined plans to monitor progress towards it renewables target by 2020 by tracking the development of projects via a new web site. Government’s target to derive 20 per cent of UK electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 will lead to an increasing number of renewables projects. The status of projects across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can be viewed at: (Source: GNN)



7. Highways Agency to pilot use of hard shoulder despite criticism

The Highways Agency has announced that motorists on sections of the M40 and M6 will be the first to use the hard shoulder as a running lane in a bid to reduce congestion. This initiative is part of a £100m Highways Agency scheme called ‘Active Traffic Management,’ which aims to help keep the traffic moving by making the best possible use of the space available on motorways. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) warned that the plans could endanger people suffering breakdowns and emergency services trying to reach them. (Source: GNN)



8. DTI publishes 2005 SME statistics

The DTI has published Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) statistics for the UK 2005. There were an estimated 4.3 million business enterprises in the UK at the start of 2005, an increase of 59,000 (1.4 per cent) on the start of 2004. (Source: GNN)



9. Diary

Both Houses are on summer recess until Monday 9 October.

Filter News

Update Newsletter