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Far fewer jobs can be reached by public transport in north of England – report

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Far fewer jobs can be reached by public transport in north of England – report

Workers living in northern England can access far fewer local jobs on public transport than those living in the south, according to a damning new report that will increase pressure on Boris Johnson to deliver on his “levelling up” promise.

Those in the south can access up to seven times as many jobs by bus, train or tram, the report suggests.

The problem is particularly acute around towns in “red wall” areas where the Conservatives won seats for the first time in 2019, the data from centre-right thinktank Onward found.

Tory MPs said it exposed the deep extent of “transport inequalities between regions” that lead to people feeling they have to move away from an area for work, and urged the prime minister to match the rhetoric in his party conference speech with action.

The study uncovered for the first time how many jobs are accessible by car and public transport in every area in the country, shining a light on the “yawning” gap faced by workers depending on where they live.

Towns including Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Bolsover compare badly with towns in London’s hinterland such as Redbridge, Barnet and Epping Forest.

Halifax in Yorkshire and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire also have similar levels of population as Aldershot in Hampshire but using public transport people can reach twice as many jobs within 90 minutes from Aldershot than from Halifax and more than four times as many as from Mansfield.

Aldershot is 30 miles from London, while Halifax and Mansfield are substantially closer to other big cities such as Leeds and Nottingham respectively.

And in some of Britain’s most important regional cities, public transport barely improves access to jobs at all. An hour on public transport in Newcastle and Glasgow boosts job access by a third but in London it quadruples.

James Blagden, a senior Onward researcher who authored the report, said: “Outside the south of England poor public transport is holding back opportunity and growth. Improving connectivity within city regions and between city centres and outlying towns will be key to the success of levelling up.”

Rob Largan, Tory MP for High Peak in Derbyshire, said that if levelling up were to mean anything it should be about fixing disparities in public transport that affect life chances and employment, adding: “I sincerely hope the government take this report on board carefully.”

Johnson’s conference speech was criticised by some for lacking in policy, instead only adding tonal flourishes to his plan to “level up” that he promised in 2019.

The Adam Smith Institute called it “substantively bluster and blither” and said the prime minister should have been “focused on the very real crises that are staring his government in the face”.

Richard Holden, the Tory MP for North West Durham, said he and his colleagues were “elected to level up opportunity for people in our overlooked towns and villages” and pressed ministers to help younger people and those on low incomes stay in the places they grew up in.

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Naira depreciates further to N614/$ at parallel market

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Naira depreciates further to N614/$ at parallel market

The Nigerian naira has dropped to N614 against the dollar at the parallel section of the foreign exchange market.

The figure signifies a depreciation of N7 or 1.2 percent compared to the N607 it traded last two weeks.

Bureaux De Change operators (BDCs), popularly known as ‘abokis’, who spoke to TheCable in Lagos on Tuesday, said they purchase the greenback at N608/$, make a gain of N6, and then sell at N614.

At the official market, the naira also depreciated by 0.21 percent to close at N421/$ on Monday, according to information obtained from FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange — a platform that oversees official foreign-exchange trading.

Nigeria operates multiple exchange rate windows ranging from the importers and exporters window (I&E) window, where forex is traded between exporters, investors, and purchasers of forex, the SMEIS window where forex is sold to importers, and others.

International organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have constantly advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unify the official and parallel market exchange rates.

But Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, had said that despite advice offered by IMF and the World Bank, developing economies such as Nigeria had the liberty of adopting “homegrown solutions to their economic problems.

According to him, the managed floating exchange rate, which allows the CBN to intervene in the market when there is a supply shock, would be in place as long as supply exceeds demand.

“They want us to free the exchange rate. And you do know that this has some impacts on the exchange rate itself,” he had said.

“When you allow that to happen, you will have an uncontrollable spiral on the naira.

“But what managed float means is that we have some measures in place to help control the spiral.”

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FG, states in trouble, as NNPC again fails to remit, despite N470.61bn revenue

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FG, states in trouble, as NNPC again fails to remit, despite N470.61bn revenue

These are challenging times for the federal and state governments as one major source of income to the federation account seems to be totally cut off.

On Monday, The National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) revealed it failed to remit monies to the federation account in May 2022 despite making N470.61 billion.

This is the fifth straight month NNPC has failed to credit the federal account while exporting crude at an average price of $100 per barrel.

Details of the June FAAC report obtained by The Harmattan News showed NNPC since the start of the year made N1.897 trillion, over N234.1 billion more than the expected revenue.

Sadly, however, NNPC said all the revenue had gone into various expenditure which includes petrol subsidy, oil search, Pipeline Security & Maintenance cost, National Domestic Gas Development and Nigeria Morocco Pipeline cost among others.

As expected, the bulk of the expenditure, N1.27 trillion, went toward recovery (also known as petrol subsidy).

In fact, NNPC said it has budgeted another N617 billion for petrol subsidy in June.

The report reads: “The Value Shortfall on the importation of PMS recovered from May 2022 proceeds is N327,065,907,048.06 while the outstanding balance carried forward is N617bn .”

“The estimated Value Shortfall of N845,152,863,012.97bn (consisting of arrears of N617bn plus estimated May 2022

Value Short Fall of N227,721,200,478.23) is to be recovered from June 2022 proceed due for sharing at the July 2022 FAAC Meeting,” it added.

The development means states have a tough road ahead and will have to look inwards to cover for the drop in federal allocations.

Already, some states have announced plans to slash workers’ salaries over dwindling income.

Kano Sate has already announced plans to slash workers’ salaries, following in the foot steps of the Ekiti State government that announced civil servants’ and political appointees’ salaries will be slashed in response to the present economic reality in the country.

Ekiti went further to suspend minimum wage implementation with no date of resumptions.

The Harmattan News had recently reported that pension contribution from governments dropped to a 16-year low in the first quarter of 2022.

From recent developments, it is more likely the figure will tank further.

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Nigerian govt to auction N225bn bond as search for funds continues

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Nigerian govt to auction N225bn bond as search for funds continues

Federal government bonds worth N225 billion would be auctioned today, Monday, June 20, 2022, by the Debt Management Office (DMO) at the primary market.

The debt instrument is being sold by the central government to raise funds to finance the 2022 budget deficit and in today’s exercise, the DMO is offering the notes in three tenors.

The debt office is anticipated to sell the FGN bonds at double digits to make the asset class more attractive to investors.

In a circular published on its website and obtained by The Harmattan News, all three maturities are re-opening, meaning they are from the previously sold bonds.

The circular noted that N75 billion worth of a 10-year bond with maturity in 2025 would be offered for sale at the auction. Another N75 billion worth of a 10-year note maturing in 2032 is up for grabs and N75 billion worth of a 20-year instrument with maturity in 2042 would be sold.

Intending subscribers would be expected to reach out to primary dealer market makers to buy the bonds for N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N50 million and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter.

The interest would be paid by the government semi-annually, while the bullet repayment will be done on the maturity date.

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