Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that in July British car output was 108,239 units, 10.6 per cent lower than the same month in 2018, a 14-month decrease in a row.
According to SMMT, output for the domestic market rose by 10.2 per cent, production for export fell 14.6 per cent. In the year-to-date, British car production plummeted 18.9 per cent year-on-year.
The SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said another month of decline for British car manufacturing, a sector overwhelmingly reliant on exports is alarming.
“The global headwinds are strong with escalating trade tensions, softening demand and significant technological changes.
“With the UK market also weak, the importance of maintaining the UK’s global competitiveness has never been more important.
British Envoy calls for celebration of caregivers in Nigeria
Mrs Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, has called on Nigerians to give more respect and recognition to both formal and informal caregivers in the country.
Thompson made the appeal on Thursday during a Webinar an online programme with theme: “Carers Week 2020”, organised by the British Deputy High Commission’s Office in Lagos.
“This year we want to mark it in Nigeria as well, in order to recall the important role professional health workers and informal carers play in supporting the society through this really difficult times,” Thompson said.
According to the Envoy, being a carer is not widely recognised in Nigeria as an official responsibility.
She noted that it was mostly attributed to the African family structure, where family members were obligated to cater for their old, disabled or mentally challenged family members or relatives.
According to Thompson, this explains why Nigeria does not have a lot of care homes.
“It is important to celebrate all those who have taken up these extra responsibilities as a result of COVID-19.
“It is essential that we encourage informal carers during this COVID-19 pandemic to continue to ensure that older family members and those with underlying health conditions are protected from exposure to the virus.
“Also, doctors, nurses and other aspects of the health industry in Nigeria who have worked tirelessly since the outbreak of the Coronavirus should be appreciated.
“We urge Nigerian Government to adopt this initiative and create a special day to celebrate carers in the country,” she said.
On the role of informal and formal carers in Nigeria, Dr Chinwe Ochu, Deputy Director, Research, Training and Knowledge Management of NCDC, said that the outbreak had made it a very challenging period for carers and the country as a whole.
According to Ochu, in most cases informal caregivers are now first responders as most patients would have been staying at home before getting tested for the virus.
“They are responsible for helping family members who are infected to self isolate and also provide necessary care for them at distance as the virus is transmissible,” Ochu said.
She said for formal carers, the pandemic had also been a huge learning process for them, noting that most times the number of cases were more than they could handle.
Ochu noted that another challenge faced was the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the workers to wear while attending to patients.
The deputy director said that a lot of health workers had also contracted the virus, while treating patients.
She said that more priority should be given in terms of safety for formal and informal carers.
The Chief Medical Director, Lagos State Teaching Hospital, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said that this period had been a challenging time for most health workers.
“It has been a very tough time for health workers, because we need resources to work and most times there are still complaints on inadequate Personal Protective Equipment.
“The nurses, who are formal carers, are also scared to go too close to patients for the fear of getting infected.
“As we speak, a lot of our health workers have been infected by the virus in spite of the fact that we take universal precautions and wear Personal protective equipment,” Fabamwo said.
Also, Dr Josephine Okechukwu, Director, Public Health Department, Federal Capital Territory, said that a lot had been done in Abuja in terms of tackling COVID-19 pandemic.
“Currently, we are faced with some challenges, but the response to COVID-19 has been very good, FCT has the highest testing rates,” Okechukwu said.
Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Anglo-Dutch company Unilever to become British holding
British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever on Thursday announced plans to unify its legal structure under a single parent company headquartered in London.
According to a statement by Unilever, the goal of the structure change is to create a simpler, more flexible company, better positioned for future success.
“After a comprehensive review over the last 18 months, the board continues to believe that moving from the current dual-headed legal structure to a single parent company will bring significant benefits,” Unilever stated.
In March 2018, Unilever, producer of consumer goods brands, including Lipton tea, Dove soap, Axe deodorant and Magnum and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, announced that it intended to change from two legal entities into one single legal entity. However, at that time the plan was to become incorporated and tax-resident in the Netherlands, with Rotterdam as single headquarters.
This plan of 2018 meant Unilever would leave London as headquarters. Pressured by a group of British shareholders who turned against the plan, Unilever abandoned that move half a year later.
Unilever has been owned through two separately listed companies, a Dutch NV and a British PLC, since its formation in 1930. The unification will now be implemented through a cross-border merger between Unilever PLC and Unilever NV into one Unilever PLC.
Unilever will maintain its listings on the Amsterdam, London and New York stock exchanges. According to the company nothing will change in its presence in the Netherlands and no jobs will be lost.
The headquarters of Unilever’s foods and refreshment division will continue to be based in Rotterdam and the research and development center will stay in Wageningen, the central Netherlands.
“Unilever is very proud of its Anglo-Dutch heritage and has significantly strengthened its presence in the Netherlands in recent years,” Unilever stated. “We have engaged with the Dutch government ahead of this announcement and have confirmed that our commitment to the Netherlands will not change as a result of this proposal.”
British PM Johnson tells China, ‘We’ll not walk away from Hong Kong people’
Britain will not walk away from the people of Hong Kong if China imposes a national security law that would conflict with its international obligations under a 1984 accord.
The United Kingdom has urged China to step back from the brink over the national security legislation for Hong Kong that it says risks destroying one of the jewels of Asia’s economy while ruining the reputation of China.
“Hong Kong succeeds because its people are free.
Mainland security and intelligence agents may, for the first time, be stationed in the city.
“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” Johnson said.
China said its decisions on national security in Hong Kong were its own affair and that Britain’s link to the territory stemmed from aggressive colonisation and unequal treaties.
“We advise the UK side to step back from the brink.
“The UK said the legislation is authoritarian, but this word is the exact characterisation of the UK’s former rule over HK,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
“I call upon the UK government to impose necessary sanctions and restrictive measures,” Wong said.
Even though, for the first time, an annual vigil for the anniversary has been cancelled over concerns about coronavirus contagion.
Demonstrations are also planned for the June 9 anniversary of last year’s million strong march against a now withdrawn Hong Kong bill to allow for the extradition of offenders to mainland China, as well as protests three days later that police tackled with tear gas and rubber bullets. (Reuters/ NAN)
British study suggests minorities more likely to die from coronavirus
People from ethnic minority groups in Britain are up to twice as likely to die after being infected with coronavirus as members of the white majority, a government report said on Tuesday.
Allowing for demographic differences in age, class, income, and region, “people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death,” Public Health England reported.
The agency said that the death rate was up to 50 per cent higher for “people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean, and other black ethnicity” compared with white British people.
The British Medical Association (BMA), a trade union for doctors, said the report did not offer any insights into which actions could be taken to protect ethnic minorities and “missed the opportunity for looking at occupational factors.”
The health researchers were “not able to include the effect of occupation” in their analysis.
Many of the nearly 200 British health staff who have died after coronavirus infections were from ethnic minorities.
“More specifically, the report fails to mention the staggering higher proportion of BAME healthcare workers who have tragically died from COVID-19 – with more than 90 per cent of doctors being from BAME backgrounds,” Nagpaul said.
“Families are living in fear… The government must take urgent action to protect at-risk groups,” tweeted Labour’s David Lammy, one of Britain’s most prominent black politicians.
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim