The Independent

Business news in brief


Heathrow told to cut passenger charges again

Heathrow airport must cut its passenger charges after numbers recovered quicker than expected, the Civil Aviation Authority has announced. The regulator said the cap on the London airport’s average charge per passenger will reduce beyond previous expectatio­ns after a better-than-expected recovery in demand for flights. The regulator said in its final decision that the charge will drop from £31.57 for this year and last, to £25.43 over the next three years. A spokespers­on for Heathrow said: “The CAA has chosen to cut airport charges to their lowest

real terms level in a decade at a time when airlines are making massive profits and Heathrow remains loss-making because of fewer passengers and higher financing costs.” PA

Travis Perkins set to train 10k apprentice­s

Constructi­on company Travis Perkins has revealed plans to train 10,000 apprentice­s by 2030 to address what it calls a “critical industry skills gap”. Nick Roberts, chief executive of the company, said the ambition will bring “fresh talent” and improve diversity in the industry. It comes two months after the latest Constructi­on Skills Network (CSN) report indicated that an extra 225,000 constructi­on workers may be needed by 2027 to address labour demand. Mr Roberts said: “We aim to bring in fresh talent, improve the diversity of our industry and upskill existing colleagues, at a time when net zero and new safety legislatio­n means the building and constructi­on industry is undergoing its biggest shake-up for more than 30 years.” PA

Frankie & Benny’s owner warns of job losses

Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito owner The Restaurant Group warned job losses are imminent after revealing plans to shut around 35 of its loss-making casual dining locations in efforts to boost earnings. The group, which also owns Wagamama, said the closures would help it shore up cash after reporting widening losses over 2022. Andy Hornby, the executive, said the move forms part of a “robust plan” to improve the group’s margins over the next three years. Up to three of the sites will be converted into Wagamama restaurant­s over the next two years, and the rest will be sold or the leases will be exited or left to expire. “People are still being careful what they spend, but they are spending. There may be some minor trends, like people ordering one less starter, or one less drink, but they are going out and enjoying going out.” PA

Admiral slashes dividend after profits plunge

Car insurer Admiral has revealed annual profits slumped by 39 per cent after it was hit by soaring inflation and the rising cost of motor claims during one of its most “challengin­g years” for decades. The insurance group reported pre-tax profits of £469m for 2022, down from £769m in 2021. It slashed its full-year dividend payout by 40 per cent to 112p a share. Insurers across the sector have been impacted by surging motor repair, parts and labour prices, which have sent claims costs rocketing. Admiral has responded to steep cost rises in motor claims by hiking its car insurance premiums by more than 20 per cent since March last year, which impacted demand from new customers. Weather damage has also led to hefty payouts for home insurers, with Admiral revealing a £31.6m hit from last year’s storms and freezing weather. PA

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 ?? (PA) ?? Frankie & Benny’s owner to c l ose dozens of sites putting jobs at risk
(PA) Frankie & Benny’s owner to c l ose dozens of sites putting jobs at risk

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