News in brief

Albion on the up

Components supplier Albion Automotive, formed in 1993 from the ashes of Leyland-Daf, saw its profits double and sales rise 5% in the year to 31 March 1998. Before tax profits were £1.9m, and sales £78.4m. Albion has contracts to supply axle sets to Iran, crankshafts to Rover and suspension assemblies to Rolls-Royce.

Pilots used for SDR

Defence Secretary George Robertson has announced that the Strategic Defence Review is to be piloted by an implementation group of senior civil servants, charged with the successful introduction of the review.

Cut price patents

From 1 October, the cost of filing a patent or registering a trade mark is to fall. DTI Minister Ian McCartney said the planned cut would amount to £12m, or 20% of the Patent Office’s current income. The move is intended to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to register ideas.

Watch on Watchdog

Ford and BT are leading a call from some of Britain’s biggest companies to tackle unfair media coverage. Both have been the subject of controversial investigations by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, and are said to be unhappy with the Corporation’s response.

Revenue role grows

The Inland Revenue is to extend its business consultation programme on the tax consequences of the single currency. Earlier consultations gave rise to changes in the way some provisions will be handled.