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Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 21st May 2018

Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 21st May 2018

Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:

£20bn cost to UK Businesses for post-Brexit customs proposal

Reported by Dan Petch

The “maximum-facilitation” or “max-fac” model relying on technology and trusted trader schemes in order to reduce border checks will cost a substantially higher amount than any other suggested alternatives to be implemented.

This model is preferred by leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Liam Fox. The head of the HMRC has however suggested that this model could cost up to £20bn for businesses. This is £7bn higher than the UK’s contribution to the EU in 2016.

Theresa May has faced recent pressure to abandon her preferred partnership method of customs management and to instead push ahead with the majority of the Cabinet’s and Conservatives’ ideal model, “max-fac”.

The “max-fac” model aims to implement new technology at border control in order to reduce physical checks at ports and airports. However, this technology is incredibly new and expensive, and could additionally take up to five years to be implemented. Trusted trader schemes also allow businesses to pay custom duties in bulk, for example on a month by month basis.

This is of course a real sticking point for the Brexit negotiations as one of the most fundamental principles of the European Union is the free movement of goods across borders. As the UK pulls out of the EU, it must also put plans in place in order to no longer benefit from this ease of movement across borders.

The UK is set to leave the EU by March 2019 with a transition period after that of 21 months. The EU will also have to agree to the method adopted by the UK at border control.

For more information, see the BBC and The Guardian.

Tax rises inevitable to sustain the NHS

Reported by Radhika Morally

A recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation in association with the NHS Federation has revealed that the NHS will need an extra 4%, equivalent to £2000 per UK household, over the next 15 years to cope with an increasingly ageing population. The analysis comes as the government considers its long-term plan for the NHS, promised by Theresa May earlier this year.

The study concluded that whilst in the past, increased government spending on health has been accounted for by cutting spending in other areas such as defence, housing and debt interest, there is no more room to make further cuts. The authors therefore concluded that tax rises are the only solution.

The report has been described by Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, as a much needed ‘wake-up call’. However, he also admits that the scale of the issue is ‘not widely understood’; without the increase in funding the country will most definitely face what he labels as ‘a decade of misery’.

Even more concerning is the fact that, as conveyed by the director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation and an author of the report, ‘the health service will need a sustained injection of funding just to [get] even, let alone modernise’.

It will be interesting to see what action the government decides to take in light of the recent report.

For more information, see the BBC, ITV News, The Times and The Guardian.

'Spotlight on Sudan: Noura Hussein sentenced to death for killing her rapist

Reported by Sara Saquib

On the 10th of May 2018, Noura Hussein was sentenced to death for stabbing the man that she was forced to marry. The marriage involved a contract being signed between Noura’s father and her husband, when she was only 16 years old. Noura stabbed the man after she found a knife in the kitchen, this being an act of self-defence after being raped the night before. It may seem that the ruling should be clear; a child, was forced into a marriage where she was raped. The stabbings of the man who had brutally raped her were down to Noura attempting to protect herself when no one else would. The court ruling however, justified giving her the death sentence after they ruled that she had committed an ‘intentional murder’.

The details of this event are shocking, but sadly it is not the only case of women being mistreated in Sudan. Practice of female genital mutilation, in addition to forced marriage and marital rape are all but too common in this part of the world.

Noura stated that: “I accept this verdict proudly and bravely. If this is justice of the human being, I prefer to die than to continue in such an unfair life.”

This highlights the dire situation of many women in Sudan, with Noura’ case being the fuel for potential change. Amnesty International’s Sudanese reporter, has stated that this is the first time a case of this sort has attracted such a wide amount of attention. This attention however, is a long time coming. These cases have been happening for a very long time, and a lot needs to be done to abolish the atrocious Personal Status of Muslims Act, which allows the marriage of boys and girls from the age of ten years old.

Noura’s lawyers have 15 days, from the day of the court ruling to appeal. Time is running out for her. The purpose of the law is to serve justice, but sadly in this case and many alike, it seems to do the opposite.

Read more here, here, and here.

Woman has spent 20 years in witness protection

Reported by Paige Waters

Twenty years ago a single woman gave evidence about a gang-related murder and she is still in witness protection. She has spoken out about the situation, making accusations towards the police that they have ruined her life as she is now feeling “degraded and dehumanised”.

Although she has been given a new identity, she has claimed the police have “wrenched” her from her life without her consent. This woman’s testimony has raised questions and concerns over the standard of care for people who were just witnesses, not criminals.

She has stated, “criminals went down for this and they served their time and they are now walking around. I am still in prison. I would like the police and witness protection service to take some responsibility for their actions. Over the years I have tried to obtain the truth but I have been obstructed and stonewalled. I have felt bullied, intimidated and shamed.”

She has tried to form friendships, but these have failed as she feels she’s living a lie as she can’t be trusting nor honest about her life. She has failed to tell organisations such as the Samaritans or victim support that she is in witness protection as she is still weary about the danger herself and her son may be in if she is identified.

The UK protected persons’ service has responded to these claims and stated that they are “committed to treating people fairly, honestly and professionally and operates only with the full co-operation of those for whom we have responsibility.”

Read more here at the Guardian.

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