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Humza Yousaf Resigns

Travel Tuesday, resignation of Scotland's First Minister, Real Wage stagnation reports from the TUC, and world's largest airport set to be built in Dubai.

Travel Tuesday: Panama

Connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Panama’s world famous canal opened in 1914.

GDP $83.4 billion

Population 4.4 million

Biggest Industry Service Sector (75% of GDP)

Border Countries Costa Rica, Colombia

Canal Length 82 km

Next Election 5 May

Humza Yousaf Resigns

Yesterday, Humza Yousaf resigned as Scotland’s First Minister kickstarting an SNP leadership race to find his successor. His resignation means that he will no longer face the vote of no confidence which was tabled last week but will continue to serve as the First Minister until his successor is found.

Yousaf’s resignation follows a tumultuous few weeks in Holyrood which included his abandonment of the Bute House agreement. Since 2021 this agreement formally tied the Greens and SNP in a cooperation pact. Given that the Scottish parliament has 129 seats (of which the SNP hold 63), the Green’s 7 seats were crucial in taking Yousaf’s party above the 65 seats needed to command a majority.

Some of the suspected frontrunners for the leadership race include John Swinney who served as deputy first minister between 2014 and 2023 under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and leader of the SNPs from 2000 to 2004. Some are also expecting Kate Forbes to announce her intention to run. Forbes has been an MSP since 2016 and served as the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy from 2020 to 2023. Forbes lost out to Yousaf last year when she took 48% of the vote to his 52%.

TUC on Real Wage Stagnation

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) issued a report yesterday which indicated that historically low levels of real wage growth had left the average worker “£10,400 a year worse off” when compared against pre-GFC levels of wage growth.

With average wage growth coming in at 1.7% between 1997 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis against -0.2% after it, had the initial trend continued the average worker would be £200 better off each week.

According to the TUC, average wage growth in 212 out of 340 local authorities falls below that seen prior to the crash. This comes as real wages have fallen across 94% of London’s local authorities since 2008.

According to the Union “Not since Napoleonic times has there been such a sustained period of wage stagnation.”

The TUC notes that “the UK shows a very small improvement in real wages from pre-financial crisis peak in 2007 to 2022 (the most recent year for which data for international comparisons is available).”

Dubai Announces Plans for World’s Largest Airport

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced Dubai’s intention to build the world’s largest airport over the coming years. At a cost of $35bn, the Al Maktoum International Airport will take years to build and eventually cover 56km2 (around 100 times larger than the Vatican City).

Once complete, the airport will handle up to 260 million passengers a year through 400 gates and five runways.

Sheikh Mohammed also announced ambitious plans to “build an entire city around the airport in Dubai South” which will “host the world’s leading companies in the logistics and air transport sectors”.

Dubai continues to attract a growing number of tourists with passenger numbers up some 20% last year from 2022.

Sticking with airports, over the weekend Heathrow Terminal 2 (The Queen’s Terminal) welcomed its one millionth flight. This comes 10 years after the terminal opened on the old T2 site and it has since seen 144 million passengers pass through it. As Dubai looks to handle 260 million passengers through Al Maktoum International Airport, Heathrow is expecting to handle 82.4 million passengers this year (around 5 million lower than the number that passed through Dubai International Airport last year).

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