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Cabinet pair take aim at £14.4bn lost to fraudsters

THE chancellor and home secretary are launching a joint taskforce to tackle the estimated £14.4billion a year lost to fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid (both pictured above) will chair the Economic Crime Strategic Board. Other members will include figures from law enforcement, and the banking, accountancy, legal and property industries.

Mr Javid said: ‘We need to take action on all fronts to target the corrupt fraudsters who are lining their pockets with dirty money and living luxury lifestyles at the expense of law-abiding citizens.’

Mr Hammond said: ‘We know more can be done which is why the home secretary and I are launching the first ever cross departmental board to prevent more people from becoming victims of economic crime.’

At the first meeting today, Mr Javid will confirm £3.5million of home office funding for the suspicious activity reports (SARs) regime. These reports flag up potential rogue finance deals to the National Crime Agency. A record 463,938 SARs were received by the NCA in 2017-18 — up 10 per cent in a year.

Bob Wigley, of UK Finance, said the industry supports the move to ‘ensure the UK is the safest and most transparent financial centre in the world’.

World’s longest aircraft finally gets off ground

Up, up and away: The Airlander 10 on a test flight in 2016 PICTURE: GETTY

PRODUCTION of the world’s longest passenger aircraft is set to go ahead — after a bumpy test period.

Bedford-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has been given approval by the Civil Aviation Authority to press ahead with the Airlander 10, a combined plane and airship. The £32million prototype collapsed to the ground in November 2017, less than 24 hours after its sixth successful test flight.

HAV boss Stephen McGlennan said: ‘The prototype served its purpose as the world’s first full-sized hybrid aircraft, providing us with the data to move to production standard.’

It is hoped the commercial model will take to the skies ‘in the early 2020s’.

Shoppers fail to give stores a festive boost

SHOPPERS shunned the high street ahead of Christmas, in spite of big discounts on offer, a study has found.

Footfall for bricks and mortar shops fell by 2.6 per cent year-on-year in December — the 13th consecutive month of falls, British Retail Consortium- Springboard data showed.

Diane Wehrle, of Springboard, said the figures are ‘undeniably strong evidence retailers can no longer rely on Christmas trading to redeem revenue lost earlier in the year.’ Footfall was down 2.1 per cent on the high street and in retail parks and 3.9 per cent in shopping malls.

BUSINESS BITES

■ BUSINESS confidence in the services and manufacturing sector is at its lowest level in two years after slower growth in the EU and China, along with uncertainty over Brexit, a study by accountants BDO LLP finds.

■ ALMOST two-thirds of jobseekers make errors in applications, says a study by jobs site Adzuna of 20,000 CVs. Commonly misspelt words were responsibilities and liaising, along with unnecessary apostrophes.

■ DEMAND for financial services has dropped for the first time since 2013, a CBI and PwC study finds. Business was ‘flat or falling’ for banks, building societies and specialist lenders but insurers were holding up.

■ THE value of housing stock in the UK rose to a record £7.29trillion last year. The £190.3billion increase came from outside London, said real estate advisor Savills, with the capital’s housing value falling by £26.2billion.

■ TANDEM Bank has unveiled plans to float on the stock exchange, calling an IPO the ‘natural next move’. The digital lender, which has nearly 500,000 users and 120 employees, plans to hire 60 people over the next 12 months.