Weekly Digest – 2 August 2023

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

UK interest rates to rise further but end of hiking cycle in sight

Pressure on the Bank of England could be cooling as policymakers look set to raise interest rates further, but with an end to the prolonged hiking cycle in sight. Experts think the latest UK inflation data has taken some of the pressure off the central bank, because it showed a bigger-than-expected slowdown in price rises.

HS2: Rail link rated ‘unachievable’ by infrastructure watchdog

The HS2 rail line has been given an “unachievable” rating by an official watchdog. It has been given a “red” warning for its first two phases – from London to Birmingham then onto Crewe – by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

Accidental dialling on Apple Watches fuels surge in 999 calls

A surge in 999 calls has been linked to accidental dialling from Apple Watches. The Watch’s Emergency SOS feature can be triggered by pressing and holding the side button, and can be activated unintentionally. Police have found that rigorous workouts can accidentally activate the feature, causing a rise in ‘silent calls’ to emergency dispatchers.

Stronger powers to combat illicit tobacco come into force

New sanctions come into effect for those found selling illicit tobacco products, which could see penalties of up to £10,000 for any businesses and individuals who sell illicit tobacco products. The sanctions will bolster the government’s efforts to tackle the illicit tobacco market and reduce tobacco duty fraud.

Banks launch mortgage support campaign following talks with Hunt

The £5m advertising blitz launching this week – aimed at helping struggling borrowers – was agreed at a meeting with Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, Sky News understands. Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders will this week launch a multimillion pound campaign aimed at illustrating the range of support they are providing to cash-strapped customers as the industry faces its most intense scrutiny in years.

England and Wales report most company insolvencies since 2009

England and Wales saw the most company insolvencies since 2009 during the second quarter of this year, government figures showed on Friday – a total which risks rising as higher Bank of England interest rates begin to bite.

Expansion to London clean-air zone to go ahead after court rejects challenge

A plan to expand London’s clean air scheme which charges the most polluting vehicles in the city will go ahead at the end of next month, the city’s mayor said on Friday, after London’s High Court ruled it lawful.

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