Ford to refund engine fail customers

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Media captionFord has agreed to refund hundreds of drivers after they suffered engine problems

Ford has offered to refund thousands of pounds to customers whose engines have failed, following a BBC investigation.

Hundreds of customers have said their cars with Ford EcoBoost engines have overheated, causing engine failure.

Others have reported their cars with 1.6-litre EcoBoost engines have burst into flames while they were driving.

Many 1.0-litre drivers had been told they had to pay for repairs, but Ford has now said it will cover the cost and refund customers who have already paid.

The car giant said in a statement safety was its number one priority.

“Ford has already made substantial contributions towards the cost of 1.0-litre repairs, but ongoing discussions with customers show that Ford needs to go further to ensure reasonable repair costs are covered,” it said.

“With any future cases, subject to being assessed and linked to potential 1.0-litre engine overheating, we will contribute 100% of the cost of repair at a Ford dealer.

“Furthermore, we will re-examine previous cases to ensure that this policy of a 100% contribution to the repair cost is applied consistently.”

Fiesta ST engulfed in flames ‘within six minutes’

Image copyright George Roberts

George Roberts, of Brandon, Suffolk, was driving his Fiesta ST 1.6-litre on a dual carriageway late at night when he realised his car was on fire.

He noticed an orange glow at the side of the vehicle, pulled over to the side of the road and saw the flames.

“From the whole engine being on fire to the whole car, took about six minutes,” he said.

Image copyright George Roberts
Image caption George Roberts was driving his Fiesta ST when the engine caught fire

Mr Roberts said he was offered an insurance payout on his car, which he accepted despite it being less than it would have cost to replace his car with a similar model.

He said: “I’ve lost a lot of money through Ford, they don’t seem massively bothered by it.”

As for the issues with the 1.6-litre engines, Ford said it had issued a voluntary safety recall through the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in January on certain vehicles including the Focus, Kuga, C-MAX, Fiesta ST and Transit Connect models built between 2010 and 2015.

It said it was contacting customers affected by the overheating problem to arrange for a coolant sensor to be fitted.

The fault can cause the engine’s cylinder head to crack, which in extreme circumstances could lead to a fire.

Ford has been aware of the issue on the 1.6-litre EcoBoost since 2012, after several engine fires in the United States. A recall was issued in the US in 2014.

Check if your car has had a safety recall (Source: UK government)

‘I could see there had been quite a big failure’

Gill Cronshaw, from Altrincham in Greater Manchester, was driving on a busy motorway when her Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost suffered a complete engine failure.

“There were no warning lights, there was no indication, the power just, as my foot was on the accelerator, I could just feel there was nothing left,” she said.

“It was the most frightening experience of my life because you just feel completely powerless.”

The incident happened in March, just three weeks after her car had had a service and MOT.

When the breakdown service reached her, the engine had overheated.

Image caption Ford has issued a recall on some engines and a safety notice on others

“The pipe had a very clear split, there were coolant stains all inside the bonnet, so I could see there had been quite a big failure, it wasn’t wear and tear.

“Car dealer Evans Halshaw confirmed that it needed a new engine at a cost of £5,500, which I was obviously horrified at.”

Mrs Cronshaw said Ford offered her a contribution of 55% of the cost of a new engine, but she ended up trading it in at a loss.

Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine was introduced in 2010 and has been described by the company as a “game-changer”.

It has won 10 international awards and Ford has claimed it has set the benchmark for small, fuel-efficient engines.

Louise O’Riordan, from north London, started a Facebook group after her 1.0-litre EcoBoost failed, and it now has more than 3,000 members.

“I needed to support others that are going through the same problems that we had,” she said.

“It’s got 3,000 members and we have over 1,200 engine failures, 1,000 of those have happened this year.

“We get over 100 [new members] a month at the moment.”

‘It’s not just a car, it’s a lifeline to us’

Sam Backhouse, from Grange Moor, Huddersfield, is caring for her husband Mally, who has terminal cancer.

She is currently without a car after her 1.0-litre EcoBoost suffered a complete loss of power.

“It was a lovely drive,” she said. Then she received a letter to say it needed a replacement coolant hose.

Before she could have the work done, Mrs Backhouse said her car engine cut out.

“I noticed a light come on and it said ‘service now’, then the power started to go in the car. It felt sluggish,” she said.

While repairs were carried out, the replacement coolant hose was also fitted, and Mrs Backhouse was told her car had a fuse problem which had been fixed.

She said just after she had driven out of the garage, the fault happened again.

She was without a car for more than a month while trying to negotiate with her dealership and finance company.

“People say ‘it’s just a car, but it’s not just a car it’s a lifeline to us.”

Mrs Backhouse’s finance company eventually agreed she could sell it back, although she did lose the hire purchase payments she had made over the previous 18 months.

As a lifelong Ford customer, she feels she has been let down.

“They [Ford] have not based anything in my case on what’s going on with us. There is no human element,” she said.

Ford has said concerned customers should with their vehicle registration number.

You can see the full story on BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire at 19:30 GMT on BBC One on Monday 1 October or via iPlayer afterwards.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45628325

Waiters to be paid all tips under new law, Theresa May says

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Media captionRestaurant waiting staff bid to keep all customer tips (June 2018)

Restaurants will be legally barred from keeping tips from staff under plans to be announced by Theresa May on Monday.

High street chains including Prezzo, Strada and Zizzi will be forced to pass on all service charges to workers, the prime minister said.

The move follows a public outcry over the practice by some restaurants of skimming off a share of tips.

Labour said the government had copied another of its policies, which the party announced in June.

Jeremy Corbyn said a Labour government would legislate to ensure workers keep 100% of their tips, putting an end to practices that has seen tips deducted by some businesses.

Mrs May said the “tough” legislation, which would apply in England, Scotland and Wales, was part of the government’s push to end exploitative employment practices.

Her vow comes three years after a government consultation found restaurant customers overwhelmingly supported tips going to waiting staff, rather than proprietors.

In 2016 Sajid Javid, then business secretary, said tips should go in full to waiting staff and announced proposals to stop employer deductions from them, but stopped short of legislating.

Chains including Belgo, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Giraffe, Prezzo and Strada have been criticised for making deductions of 10% from service charges, while Zizzi and Ask have both taken 8%.

Workers at TGI Fridays outlets held a series of strikes earlier this year over a new pay policy that redistributes customer tips from waiters to kitchen staff.

There are about 150,000 hotels, pubs and restaurants in the UK, employing about two million people.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said it was the fourth policy that the Conservatives had copied from Labour.

“It’s a shame that Unite have had to fight so hard to extract this concession from the Tories,” she said.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said cracking down on tipping abuses was long overdue and the union would seek assurances that the legislation truly delivered fair tips.

“There will be question marks as to whether it will deal with the myriad of scams some restaurants use to pilfer staff tips to boost their profits, in addition to dealing with unjust situation at TGI Fridays, who use tips left for waiting staff to subsidise the low wages of skilled kitchen staff,” he said.

Kate Nicholls. chief executive of trade association Hospitality UK, said earlier this year that the industry had worked with the union Unite on a code of good practice for tipping.

“The industry is self-regulating – we don’t need legislation,” she told the BBC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45701799

Hadlow stab deaths: Mother and daughter victims named

Police at scene
Image caption Police were called by paramedics to a house in Carpenters Lane just after 07:40 BST on Saturday

The family of a mother and daughter who died in a stabbing in a Kent village have said they are “too shocked” to comprehend their loss.

Margaret Harris, in her 70s, and her daughter Sharon, in her 50s, died at their home in Hadlow early on Saturday.

Margaret’s husband David needed to be airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after also being stabbed.

Jack Ralph, 28, from Hadlow, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

Mr Ralph, of Carpenters Lane, is due to appear before Medway magistrates on Monday.

Image caption Forensic teams were sent to the scene in Hadlow

Doris Pope, the sister of Margaret Harris, said: “We are just too shocked and haven’t quite come to terms with it.”

Neighbours described the stabbing as “truly horrific” and something that had “rocked” the “quiet and friendly” village near Tonbridge.

One local resident, Margaret Maile, 63, described the couple as “quiet but pleasant”.

“They’ve lived here longer than us and we’ve been here 32 years,” she said.

“It’s very sad, you just don’t expect something like this to happen here.”

Image caption Neighbours said the couple had lived in the area for many years

Nigel Keogh, a 51-year-old plasterer who lives across the street from the victims, described Mr and Mrs Harris as a “nice couple”, adding: “They kept themselves to themselves. They own a big campervan and would go out on trips in it.”

On Sunday, Reverend Paul White led prayers in the street and said the village’s St Mary’s Church was open to mourners all day on Monday.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-45701743

New tax on foreign home buyers to help rough sleepers, PM says

Homeless person sleeping rough in a doorwayImage copyright PA
Image caption About 4,750 people are estimated to have slept rough on any given night in England in 2017

Foreign property buyers will face an extra tax with the money raised being spent on tackling rough sleeping, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

She said foreign buyers could face a surcharge of 1% or 3% on top of stamp duty to stop them driving up UK prices.

Rough sleeping has been rising for the past seven years that the Conservatives have been in government.

Homelessness charity Shelter said the housing crisis will remain until more social housing is built.

Stamp duty is a tax on properties worth more than £125,000.

“The money we raise from this extra stamp duty is going to be spent on dealing with the issue of rough sleeping,” Mrs May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

Mrs May said evidence showed that foreign buyers who do not pay tax in the UK push up house prices and lower home ownership in the UK.

Rough sleeping is defined by the government as sleeping in the open air – parks, streets, doorways or bus shelters – or people who sleep in buildings that were not designed for habitation.

About 4,750 people are estimated to have slept rough on any given night in England in 2017.

Most councils provide an estimate based on intelligence from local services but some conduct a count of the number of people seen sleeping rough on a single night.

“We’ve sadly seen roughly sleeping going up recently, which is why it is is important we are taking a number of actions,” Mrs May said from Birmingham, where her party’s annual conference has begun.

“We’ve already put money in to projects to ensure that we are helping those who are sleeping rough, this will enable more money to be put in.”

Mrs May highlighted projects such as the Housing First model, being piloted in the West Midlands, which sees rough sleepers given a home, rather than shelters.

In August, the government announced a £100m strategy to tackle rough sleeping on English streets, but it was criticised as it became apparent no new money was being invested.

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Media captionFour stories of rough sleeping in England

The Conservatives say this policy would help British residents “get the right home for them” and “end the scourge of rough sleeping for good”.

It is unclear when the new rates would be introduced.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Conservatives were “desperately trying to play catch up” with a “rehash” of his party’s proposals from Labour’s 2017 manifesto.

“Unlike the Tories’ proposal this weekend, Labour’s fully costed offshore company property levy targeted the tax avoiders and those seeking to speculate on UK property markets,” he added.

While Shelter welcomed the proposed funding, it said it was “a national disgrace that so many of our fellow citizens are still sleeping rough in modern Britain”.

“We need to understand that the housing crisis will remain for as long as we fail to build more social homes to give people a secure and affordable way to live,” the charity said.

In 2016-17, about 217,000 new homes were built in England – almost a third short of the government’s target of 300,000.

Labour party chairman Ian Lavery said: “The Tories are offering watered down, half-baked policies that don’t begin to compare with Labour’s radical plan to rebuild Britain after years of austerity.”

Under proposals announced last week, Labour said if it was in government it would introduce a new levy on second homes that are used as holiday homes, ban letting agent fees and scrap laws allowing private landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.

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Housing is a devolved issue, but Scotland and Wales have also reported rises in homelessness and rough sleepers.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45698446

Three in five British adults say miracles are possible

The Feeding of the 5000Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Bible says Jesus Christ fed a crowd of 5,000 with just five loaves and fish

Three in five UK adults say they believe some form of miracle is possible, a survey commissioned by the BBC has suggested.

Nearly half of those questioned on behalf of BBC Local Radio admitted to praying for a miracle at some time.

However, when it comes to the miracles of Jesus, nearly half say they do not believe he did miraculous things.

Market research firm Comres surveyed 2,002 British adults by telephone between 16 and 26 August.

The survey suggested:

  • 62% of British adults believe some form of miracle is possible today
  • Nearly three-quarters aged 18-24 say they believe some form of miracle is possible today, more than any other age group
  • 43% say they have prayed for a miracle
  • 37% of British adults who attend a religious service at least monthly say they believe the miracles of Jesus happened word for word as described in the Bible
  • Half of this group say they have prayed for a miracle which was answered in the way they had hoped
  • But 37% of Christians have never prayed for a miracle

Evidence of Miracles

As a practising Christian, Jemma Adams believes in miracles.

“I’m an ex-drug addict” she explains. “At 17 I had crack psychosis and jumped off the top of a tower block and survived. Not only did I survive, but I didn’t break one bone. ”

It was a miraculous experience, and evidence for her, that miracles are possible.

She was sent to drug rehabilitation after her fall and began her journey to recovery.

It has ended with her helping women who are in a similar situation to hers.

Image caption As a practising Christian, Jemma Adams believes in miracles

Jemma worships at the Victory Outreach Church in Hackney, East London, where David Elwin is the pastor.

David also has a history of drug-use, violence and spending time in prison.

“Miracles are the foundation of a Christian’s faith,” he says.

“The foundation of the Christian faith is the miracle that Jesus rose from the dead. It’s vitally important that we maintain that as our foundation and our roots.”

Image caption Pastor David Elwin says he believes in miracles

The survey suggests 59% of adults who identify as Christian have prayed for a miracle, with around half of these people (29%) saying their prayer was answered in the way they hoped.

Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, Catholic hospital chaplain at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, says families will ask him to pray for a miracle to bring someone back from the brink of death.

He believes in those cases a miracle would be a terrible thing because it would be prolonging a life that is already at its natural end.

He also thinks you can be a Christian and interpret the miracles of Jesus in a different light.

He uses the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 – where Jesus fed a crowd with five loaves and five fish, as an example of how spontaneous generosity can cause a sense of wonder.

“One explanation may be that he inspired people to share what they had with them in their baskets,” he explains.

“So rather than magically producing food, it’s making food appear in another way. There are all sorts of ways it can be seen and still be wonderful.”

Both Jemma Adams and Father Fleetwood believe the best miracles are in the smaller things.

“I see miracles every day,” Jemma says. “I see women who were hopeless addicts get clean. A miracle to me is someone that was going to die, get hope again.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45679730

Desert Island Discs: Tom Daley felt ‘inferior’ over sexuality

Lauren Laverne and Tom DaleyImage copyright BBC/Amanda Benson

Olympic diver Tom Daley says he grew up feeling inferior to everyone because of his sexuality – but that gave him the motivation to become a success.

The 24-year-old said he did not realise until he went to secondary school that “not everyone is like me”.

Speaking on the first Radio 4 Desert Island Discs presented by Lauren Laverne, he said he spoke out about gay rights to give others “hope”.

He also said becoming a parent made him care less about winning the Olympics.

The regular presenter of the long-running show, Kirsty Young, has taken a number of months off because of illness.

Appearing as a castaway on Laverne’s first programme, Daley said he felt “less than” everyone else growing up because “it wasn’t socially acceptable to like boys and girls”.

He said: “To this day, those feelings of feeling less than, and feeling different, have been the real things that have given me the power and strength to be able to succeed.”

He wanted to prove that he was “something”, he said, so that he did not disappoint everyone when they eventually found out about his sexuality.

The two-time bronze Olympic medallist has become a high-profile LGBT campaigner and used his appearance at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia to appeal for more countries to decriminalise homosexuality.

He said he spoke out because he felt lucky to be able to live openly without ramifications and wanted to give others “hope”.

The three-time world champion said falling in love with a man – US film-maker Dustin Lance Black, who he met in 2013 – “caught me by surprise”.

Image copyright Neil Mockford
Image caption Tom Daley says falling in love with Dustin Lance Black had taken him by surprise

Daley married the Oscar winner, who is 20 years his senior, last year but he said the age gap had never been an issue.

“When you go through so much at such a young age” – he went to his first Olympics aged 14 and his father died of cancer three years later – he said that it was hard to find someone the same age who had experienced similar highs and lows.

The couple became parents in June, to a son called Robert Ray Black-Daley, and Daley said his “whole perspective” had changed.

Image copyright Tom Daley
Image caption When they announced their baby news, Daley posted a picture of the couple holding up to the camera and black and white image from their baby scan

“If you had asked me last year, it was all about ‘I need to win a gold medal’,” he said.

“You know what, there are bigger things than Olympic gold medals. My Olympic gold medal is Robbie.”

His son has the same name as his father Robert, who died in 2011 aged 40 after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Daley said his dad did not accept he was going to die and one of the last things he had asked was if they had their tickets yet for London 2012 – as he wanted to be on the front row.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tom Daley says his dad (left) was his biggest supporter

“I couldn’t say to him ‘you’re not going to be around to be on the front row dad’,” he said.

“I was holding his hand as he stopped breathing and it wasn’t until he’d actually stopped breathing and he was dead that I finally acknowledged he wasn’t invincible,” he said.

The following year Daley competed at the 2012 Olympics and won bronze.

“I just knew that this is what I had dreamt of my whole life – to dive in front of a home crowd at an Olympic Games, there was no better feeling,” he said.

It also inspired his first song choice – Proud by Heather Small – which had resonated with him in the build up to the Olympics and still gave him goosebumps.

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11:15 BST.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45686255

Russian spy poisoning: Woman ‘identifies’ suspect as Anatoliy Chepiga

Anatoliy Chepiga and Ruslan BoshirovImage copyright Bellingcat / PA
Image caption The Bellingcat website released a photo of the man it says is Anatoliy Chepiga (left), while Russia Today named him as Ruslan Boshirov (right)

A woman in the far east of Russia has told the BBC she recognises one of the key suspects in the Salisbury attack as a military intelligence officer.

The woman identified him immediately from photographs as Anatoliy Chepiga, a decorated “Hero of Russia”.

Her assertion supports research by the Bellingcat online investigations team, which also identified Col Chepiga as one of the Salisbury suspects.

The man himself told Russian state TV he was Ruslan Boshirov, a civilian.

The BBC understands that British officials do not dispute the findings by Bellingcat. British police believe the suspects were not using their real names.

Russia denies any involvement in the Novichok nerve agent attack, in which former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned on 4 March.

A BBC team travelled some 5,000 miles east of Moscow to the village of Beryozovka, where Anatoliy Chepiga grew up, close to Russia’s border with China.

There, a woman identified a young Anatoliy in the photographs discovered and published by Bellingcat.

She then confirmed that a mugshot released by British police of “Ruslan Boshirov” was also Col Chepiga.

“I know where his parents used to live, that he was a military man. An officer. He fought in war zones, then he was in Moscow,” she told the BBC – the first foreign journalists to visit since the Bellingcat report.

Nervous about speaking, she asked to remain anonymous, but said she had seen Col Chepiga as an adult, with his child, and she was sure he and “Boshirov” were one and the same.

She added: “It’s him in the photos, of course.”

Locals say the family moved out of Beryozovka several years ago.

Image caption Villagers told the BBC that Col Chepiga’s family no longer live in Beryozovka

While Col Chepiga’s parents were well known, he was not a regular visitor himself as an adult. Many residents had no idea what he looked like.

Not all had heard of the Salisbury poisoning.

One man who had, and studied with Anatoliy Chepiga at the village school, swore at the BBC team and claimed the allegations were false. He instructed another local not to talk to journalists.

‘Hero of Russia’

An elderly woman, speaking only through her window, was non-committal about the photographs, insisting that images could be doctored. She did not want to give her name but could not believe the “horrible story” about someone she said she had “valued, respected and liked”.

That woman confirmed Anatoliy Chepiga was a “Hero of Russia”, a title bestowed by the country’s president.

Image caption The BBC showed photos of the Salisbury suspect to various villagers in Beryozovka, Russia

On Friday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said he had “no information” about any such person being decorated. He declined to say whether that meant the award was for secret missions.

The announcement, though, is still included on the webpage of a local veterans group.

The group’s leader told the BBC the information on Col Chepiga was sent to them for inclusion. No one there knew him personally.

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Media caption“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town” – interview from 13 September

At the construction company the BBC Russian service believes was founded and run by Col Chepiga’s father in the 1990s, staff would not speak to journalists.

When we called a mobile phone number linked to the parents, a man picked up and claimed to be from Uzbekistan. He said he had bought the phone “on the street” three months ago from “a Russian”.

The line was then disconnected.

Two weeks ago, President Putin himself said the suspects wanted by British police were civilians. Nothing special and nothing criminal, he said.

On Friday, his spokesman told journalists that the Kremlin would not discuss any further what he called “informal investigations” into the poisoning.

But the questions over Russia’s explanations, and the true identity of the Salisbury suspects, are only mounting.

Additional research by the BBC Russian service.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45694123