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Airport Towns Braced For Jobless Spike

Airport towns braced for jobless spike as furlough scheme ends

Airport hubs Crawley and Luton are facing a sharp jump in unemployment this week as Britain’s furlough capitals bear the brunt of an end to the Chancellor’s jobs support scheme.

Experts warned the towns are the most vulnerable to a wave of job losses after new data revealed they have the most workers stuck on furlough as the travel industry struggles to recover.

The recent loosening of Britain’s travel rules came too late to save the sector’s crucial summer period. The furlough scheme wraps up after 18 months on Thursday.

Crawley, which is close to Gatwick airport, is most threatened by a surge in unemployment with one in 10 of its workforce still on the furlough scheme as of the end of July, according to Centre for Cities figures.

Luton could soon have Britain’s highest claimant count rate. It already has the fourth-highest share of its population on jobseekers’ help but also has 8pc of the workforce stuck on furlough.

While Slough, which is near Heathrow, has a lower claimant count rate than Luton, it is also highly vulnerable, with 9pc of its workers on furlough.

Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at Centre for Cities, said: “The places that continue to be particularly exposed tend to be those airport towns, particularly those close to London which were clearly handling a large volume of traffic in normal times.

“The scheme is removed at the end of this month: that clearly is really big for places like Crawley, Slough and Luton where a large share of people relatively speaking continue to be on furlough.”

It came as economists also warned that staff shortages are being worsened by about 1m workers leaving the labour market as many Britons retire early and go back into education.

The Institute for Employment Studies estimates that an extra 300,000 more workers have retired early as a result of the pandemic, deepening the shortages crippling many sectors.

Tony Wilson, director of the IES, said: “That’s massive and easily as big as the impacts from migration, from young people studying and furlough.

“The things that are driving high levels of vacancies is that there are just fewer people in the labour market.”

An extra 500,000 to 600,000 workers are believed to have gone into education or have migrated.

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Business

35 illegal tax collectors facing prosecution in Benue

The Acting Chairman of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Emmanuel Agena, has revealed that 35 persons involved in illegal tax collection in the state are currently facing prosecution.

Agena announced that the agency has set an ambitious target to generate over N16 billion in revenue for the year 2024 following the successful surpassing of its N14 billion target in 2023.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Agena expressed concern over the activities of illegal tax collectors in the state, noting that many of them were supported by influential personalities.

He stated that his administration at the BIRS had put an end to the era of patronage by politicians, aiming to significantly reduce illegal tax collection activities.

The BIRS boss also condemned a recent incident in which a truck carrying palliatives from Adamawa to Anambra State was hijacked by youths in Aliade, Gwer East.

He disclosed that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

“A truck was intercepted and the driver beaten while the windscreen of the vehicle broken and over N200,000 was stolen.

“Three persons have been arrested and are in police custody. They will be moved to DSS for thorough investigation.

“We aim to flush out or reduce illegal tax collectors to the barest minimum. Already, 35 people who engaged in illegal tax collection were arrested and facing prosecution.

“This has been a big challenge. We have constituted a team headed by the director of Tax collection. Prominent people in the state are involved in encouraging these boys,” he stated.

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Business

Nigeria’s Inflation rate hits 33.20% in March- NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics NBS says Nigeria’s inflation rate jumped to 33.20% in March 2024 compared to February 2024 headline inflation rate which was 31.70%.

A report released by the NBS on Monday, April 15, reads

“Looking at the movement, the March 2024 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 1.50% points when compared to the February 2024 headline inflation rate.

“On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.16% points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023, which was 22.04%. On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in March 2024 was 3.02%, which was 0.10% lower than the rate recorded in February 2024 (3.12%).

“This means that in the month of March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024.”

 

The inflation report by the NBS followed the hike of Nigeria’s interest rate from 22.75% to 24.75% by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The March inflation rate was released at a time when measures by the apex bank to strenghten the naira against foreign exchange have seen some positive results.

The naira has appreciated against the dollar in recent weeks, gaining over 40%, from about N1,900/$ to about N1,100/$1 now.

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Business

NAFDAC seals popular Supermarket in Ibadan

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has sealed a popular groceries and cosmetics supermarket, Pinnacle in Dugbe area of Ibadan over sale of fake products.

The supermarket, usually a beehive of activities was now a shadow of itself as the gate leading to the premises was shut with an inscription directing customers to its branch at Challenge.

Management of the supermarket cited technical issues as reason for its closure.

An inside source who pleaded for anonymity however revealed that problem started on Tuesday, 2nd April , 2024 when NAFDAC surveillance team stormed the mall to enforce total shutdown of the premises, thereby forcing shoppers out of the supermarket.

“The NAFDAC team came inside the mall and told us to close, even though people were many inside who wanted to do shopping but they couldn’t because the technical issue started and they all went away in disappointment”, the source said.

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