TV licence, Disney+, Aston Martin: your commercial news round-up

updated on 06 February 2020

It’s a week in which the UK finally left the EU, fears about the deadly coronavirus spread across the globe and Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial. But there are also plenty of business news stories you should know about too – here’s our round-up:

  • This week it was announced that the fee for the annual TV licence is set to rise three whole pounds from £154.50 to £157.50 from April. Cue outrage from the media and the public, with the government almost immediately launching a public consultation that could see refusing to pay the licence fee decriminalised. This comes after the news that 3.7 million people will lose their free licences after the BBC changed the rules for the over 75s, who have until now received a free TV licence. It’s a lot of TV licence drama!
  • Talking about TV, Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, which launched in the US in November, has already picked up nearly 29 million paid subscribers. It’s a big boost for the company, with Star Wars spin-off show The Mandalorian leading the list of programmes you can only watch on the new streaming service. Disney+ is set to be rolled out in other locations over the next two years.
  • The government has brought forward its ban of petrol and diesel cars by five years, meaning that from 2035, customers will not be able to buy cars that aren’t electric or hydrogen powered. In the UK around one third of CO2 emissions come from transport – so this move is aimed at achieving the target of virtually zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Aston Martin has been rescued as it raised emergency funding worth £500 million last week. The luxury UK carmaker has been struggling for some time now with a “disappointing performance” in 2019 adding to its woes. Last year, the company borrowed £120 million in order to prop up its operations, and it had been looking at borrowing even more. Investment has been led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll who partly owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team.

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