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George Osborne has announced that a small number of measures are to be put in place in order to help motorists. The announcement came as part of the new budget in March. The proposed fuel rise in September is the first thing that has been frozen in order to help motorists as well Chancellor George Osborne saying that this should make fuel 20p cheaper per litre. The fuel rise will be abandoned until spring 2015 when it will be looked at once again.


There are some budget issues that are bound to impact motorists in other ways motors.co.uk explain to us that anyone selling a car from April 1st 2014 will no longer be able to transfer their tax discs and any vehicle that falls into band D and upwards are going to see a rise by around £5.


However, something that motorists will be glad of, is the £200 million fund given to local authorities to help repair the potholes in the roads. With the bad weather we have seen recently, potholes have become an increasing big problem. This budget should see that they get fixed properly and stay that way for the long term. An article from the Guardian details more about the money being spent on filling in potholes.

George Osborne has announced that a small number of measures are to be put in place in order to help motorists

George Osborne has announced that a small number of measures are to be put in place in order to help motorists (photo AP)


The RAC have disagreed with the money being spent on the repair of potholes, saying it simply is not enough. The organisation’s technical director has said:


“We need whole stretches of road to be resurfaced regularly rather than just patching them when they start to fall apart, costing taxpayers more and more money every year. Simply filling potholes is a massive false economy which has now unfortunately become necessity. We really need to put an end to this by making sure roads are never allowed to degenerate to the point where potholes develop.”


Classic cars will once again be exempt from vehicle excise duty and will move to a 40 year rolling period. This will also begin come the 1st April this year and will see the likes of the Reliant Robin being included in the tax exemption. Previously, only cars built before January 1973 were exempt from tax.


Like any budget there are both positive and negative sides to it and some motorists will be glad of the benefits more than others. On the plus side, something is being done about the road’s, giving us a bit of hope that they will continue to improve. More about the new budget can be found on the Telegraph.






Jane Austen is to feature on the next £10 note, the Bank of England has announced, avoiding a long-term absence of women represented on banknotes.

The author of Pride and Prejudice will be the next face of the note, replacing Charles Darwin, probably in 2017.

Chancellor George Osborne tweeted the move showed “sense and sensibility”.

In April, the Bank prompted a high-profile campaign against the prospect of having no female characters, besides the Queen, on the UK’s currency.

It had announced that Sir Winston Churchill would be put on the £5 note from 2016, replacing social reformer Elizabeth Fry.

The latest announcement means that women could be absent from newly issued banknotes for up to a year, although the Elizabeth Fry £5 note will still be in circulation.

On Twitter, George Osborne wrote: “[Incoming Bank of England governor] Mark Carney’s choice of Jane Austen as face of £10 note is great. After understandable row over lack of women, shows sense and sensibility.”

Banknotes are regularly redesigned, in order to maintain security and prevent forgeries.

The most recent new design from the Bank of England to enter circulation was the £50 note. This features Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who were most celebrated for bringing the steam engine into the textile manufacturing process.

The decision to replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note prompted protests and discussions about female representation on banknotes, but Jane Austen was thought to have already been part of the Bank’s plans for the next new note.

Jane Austen is to feature on the next Bank of England’s £10 note, avoiding a long-term absence of women represented on banknotes

Jane Austen is to feature on the next Bank of England’s £10 note, avoiding a long-term absence of women represented on banknotes

Mervyn King, in his last public appearance as governor of the Bank, said the author was “quietly waiting in the wings” to replace Charles Darwin.

Mark Carney started discussions about female representation on banknotes on his first day in office.

The Bank said in a statement that it was “never the Bank’s intention” that none of the four characters on banknotes would be a woman.

“Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature,” Mark Carney said.

He also announced a review of the selection process for future banknote characters. Jane Austen will be the 17th historical figure to appear on Bank of England notes. The review will be completed by the end of the year.

The pressure was increased on the new governor through protests, an online petition – signed by 35,000 people, and a threat of legal action.

The campaign was led by Caroline Criado-Perez, from Rutland, who was invited to speak to Bank officials about the situation earlier in July.

Caroline Criado-Perez described the expected announcement as “a brilliant day for women and a fantastic one for people power”.

“We warmly welcome this move from the Bank and thank them for listening to us and taking such positive and emphatic steps to address our concerns,” she said.

“To hear Jane Austen confirmed is fantastic, but to hear the process will be comprehensively reviewed is even better.”

The money raised for a legal challenge will now be donated to women’s charities the Fawcett Society, Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.

Jane Austen, who lived from 1775 to 1817, became one of the country’s most celebrated novelists. She was born in Hampshire as one of eight children.

She began to write as a teenager. Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, appeared in 1811. She described her next novel, Pride and Prejudice, as her “own darling child”.

Jane Austen’s other published novels were Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey – the final two of which were published after her death.

Most of her novels were published anonymously.

The portrait of Jane Austen, which will appear on the banknote, is adapted from a sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra Austen. Other features include:

  • A quote from Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”
  • An illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, one of the characters in Pride and Prejudice
  • An image of Godmersham Park in Kent – the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, and the inspiration for a number of novels
  • A central background design of the author’s writing table which she used at home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire

Fellow writers William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens have appeared on banknotes in recent times. Charles Dickens was on the £10 note and William Shakespeare on the £20 note.

Bank of England notes can be spent throughout the UK. In addition, three banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland are authorized to issue banknotes.

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Fitch Ratings has downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, owing to a weakened economic outlook.

The move, after Moody’s downgrade in February, came as British Chancellor George Osborne defended the government’s austerity plan.

Fitch said its downgrade primarily reflected a weaker economic and fiscal outlook.

George Osborne has said his was the “right plan” and that the economy was “healing”.

The credit ratings agency said its downgrade “primarily reflects a weaker economic and fiscal outlook” but returned its outlook to “stable”, removing the threat of further rate action in the near term.

In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook published on Wednesday, the IMF slashed its forecast for growth to 0.7% in 2013 after saying in January that the country’s economy could expect 1% growth.

Moody’s became the first major agency to downgrade the UK’s sovereign debt rating in February, although Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed its AAA rating earlier this month.

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, owing to a weakened economic outlook

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, owing to a weakened economic outlook

Regarding the latest downgrade from Fitch, the UK Treasury said: “This is a stark reminder that the UK cannot simply run away from its problems, or refuse to deal with a legacy of debt built up over a decade.

“Fitch themselves say the government’s ‘continued policy commitment to reducing the underlying budget deficit’ is one of the main reasons UK debt now has a <<stable>> outlook.

“Though it is taking time, we are fixing this country’s economic problems. The deficit is down by a third (since 2010), a million and a quarter new private sector jobs have been created and the credibility we have earned means households and businesses are benefitting from near record low interest rates.”

IMF delegates visit the UK next month for annual consultations that allow it to monitor member countries and issue recommendations about economic policy.

Some IMF officials have recently raised doubts over George Osborne’s strategy.

IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde said: “With this medium-term strong anchoring of fiscal consolidation, the pace has to be adjusted depending on the circumstances and given the weak growth that we have observed lately because of reduced demand addressed to the economy, now might be the time to consider.

“But we want to have the dialogue. I don’t think it’s fair on any of our members… to actually pass a final judgement, and the words used matter and the grammar that is applied to words matters so when we say <<may consider>>, we are opening the door.”

“But now is the dialogue,” she said, referring to the IMF’s upcoming visit to the UK.

Christine Lagarde’s comments were in line with those made by IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard earlier in the week, when he warned that George Osborne was “playing with fire” if he continued his current strategy.

But the chancellor is sticking to his plan, saying he would defend his case when the IMF officials visit.

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The UK has lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978 on expectations that growth will “remain sluggish over the next few years”.

Moody’s became the first ratings agency to cut the UK from its highest rating, to Aa1.

It said the UK government’s debt reduction programme faced significant “challenges” ahead.

Chancellor George Osborne said the decision was “a stark reminder of the debt problems facing our country”.

“Far from weakening our resolve to deliver our economic recovery plan, this decision redoubles it,” he added.

“We will go on delivering the plan that has cut the deficit by a quarter.”

The UK has had a top AAA credit rating since 1978 from both Moody’s and S&P.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the decision was a “humiliating blow to a prime minister and chancellor who said keeping our AAA rating was the test of their economic and political credibility”.

In announcing the ratings cut, Moody’s cited the “challenges that subdued medium-term growth prospects pose to the government’s fiscal consolidation programme, which will now extend well into the next parliament”.

It added that the UK’s huge debts were unlikely to reverse until 2016.

“The main driver underpinning Moody’s decision to downgrade the UK’s government bond rating to AA1 is the increasing clarity that, despite considerable structural economic strengths, the UK’s economic growth will remain sluggish over the next few years due to the anticipated slow growth of the global economy and the drag on the UK economy,” Moody’s said.

But it added that the outlook for the UK is “stable”, meaning it sees no further downgrades in the near future, and added “the UK’s creditworthiness remains extremely high”.

It will massively increase the pressure on George Osborne, from both those who want him to raise taxes and cut spending further and from those who want him to alter course in next month’s Budget and spend more to try to boost growth.

The UK has lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978 on expectations that growth will remain sluggish over the next few years

The UK has lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978 on expectations that growth will remain sluggish over the next few years

The UK’s net sovereign debt was the equivalent of 68% of the country’s annual economic output, or GDP, at the end of last year.

“The very fact that we didn’t see this downgrade happen in the past few years is a testament to the UK’s credibility,” said Lena Komileva, an economist at G+ Economics.

“There are no magic fixes for this kind of problem. It’s not a question of what the government is willing to do, it is what it can do.”

All three major credit agencies last year put the UK on “negative outlook”, meaning they could downgrade its rating if performance deteriorates.

In his Autumn Statement in December, George Osborne acknowledged public finances were taking longer to rectify than planned, and admitted he would be forced to extend austerity measures by at least another year.

Germany and Canada are the only major economies to currently have a top AAA rating – as much of the world has been shaken by the financial crisis of 2008 and its subsequent debt crises.

A downgrade of a credit rating does not necessarily substantially damage the ability to borrow.

The US – the world’s biggest economy – was downgraded from its AAA rating last year, a move that has not materially changed its borrowing costs.

Moody’s removed France’s AAA rating in November.

The UK has experienced a double-dip recession since 2008. It grew in the third quarter of last year – boosted by the impact of the Olympics, but shrunk again by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012.

Earlier this month, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the Bank of England should be ready to inject more money into the economy to boost growth.

The Bank has so far pumped £375 billion into the financial system, creating money to buy-back government bonds.

The credibility of ratings agencies have also come under attack. S&P is being sued by the US government over ratings it gave to some mortgage-backed assets in the run-up to the global financial crisis in 2007, which subsequently fell dramatically in value.

Moody’s announcement sent the pound falling further in value, but financial analysts said the impact was likely to be limited because the markets had been expecting a downgrade for some time.

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