News in brief

Two-speed nation

Britain now has a two-speed economy with manufacturing in recession as the service sector expands, according to a survey by the TUC.

Productivity pays

Ford has promised its Dagenham factory a new model in the new century, following an approach from unions which has led to continuing productivity improvements.

BT chief to head CBI

BT chairman Sir Iain Vallance will become president of the Confederation of British Industry from July 2000. Vallance is expected to maintain the confederation’s pro-euro stance.

Lucas boss goes

Former LucasVarity chief executive Victor Rice has resigned after TRW, which bought the automotive and aerospace group in February, offered him a reduced role.

Y2k troubles to last

Millennium bug disruption is likely to continue for a least a year due to the lag between problems occuring and being noticed, says the Government’s Taskforce 2000.

Fastest fork-lift

Hyster has built a fork-lift truck from scratch in just 12 hours at its Irvine, Scotland factory, to move food and other supplies to Kosovar refugees in Macedonia. The usual delivery time for its trucks is 4 to 6 weeks.

MoD spares deal

Vickers Defence Systems has signed a potential £10m deal with the MoD to provide, store and distribute parts for the Vickers Challenger 2 main battle tank.

BAe gets Gripen

British Aerospace is to take on work for Sweden’s Saab Gripen fighter. The company’s factory at Brough, East Yorkshire, will assemble wing attachment units.