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China to surpass Europe car production in 2013

Most of the European car makers see turbulent period ahead.

China is forecasted to manufacture 19.6 million cars and other light vehicles in 2013 compared to 18.3 million in Europe.

The projections for Europe include countries such as Russia and Turkey apart from the European Union.

In 2012, Europe produced 18.9 million cars and related vehicles, while China made 17.8 million. Global car sales are valued at about $1.3tn a year. According to the projections, car manufacturing in China in 2013 is anticipated to be 10 times higher than in 2000.

Since the 2008-09 economic downturn, the European car companies saw decline in production as they found severe difficulties to produce, sell and market.

Scott Corwin, an automotive expert at the Booz & Co consultancy, told the FT that even with relatively strong growth projected in vehicle output and demand in both the US and China, these markets alone won’t do much to pull [the whole world] forward.

Mr Corwin also cautioned that even with a continuation of the recent rise of the car industry in China, many vehicle markers doing business there “are struggling to make much money” as a result of tough competition and the fact that the market is made up of large numbers of small cars, for which profit margins for manufacturers are small.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.