Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
Reported by Radhika Morally
Pay rise expected for public sector workers
The government is expected to announce wage increases for up to one million workers in the public sector following Teresa May’s declaration of plans to lift the one percent pay cap last year.
The range of professions which are set to receive a pay rise of between one and four percent has now been extended to the armed forces, teachers and doctors, which will be revealed in a series of written statements to Parliament.
This will signal the end of a two year freeze for the public sector after the Conservative-led coalition came into power in 2010, followed by a one per cent annual limit from 2013. The move may also help to release some of the pressure the government has come under to address public sector pay, with many experts blaming it for problems recruiting and retaining staff.
Mrs May has pledged that the costly plan to remove the existing gap, which is estimated at £4 billion, would be implemented over a two year period.
However, it is understood that the extra money must come from departmental savings rather than extra funds from the Treasury, which may put further pressure on services.
Furthermore, despite the pay rise being a step in the right direction, unions have been arguing for pay rises closer to 5 per cent to make up for the austerity measures introduced by David Cameron’s government eight years ago.
- US Judiciary
Reported by Sarah Mullane
UK will not oppose death penalty for suspected terrorists
The UK government is facing fresh criticism after it was revealed that it will not oppose the extradition of suspected ISIS terrorists to the US, despite the risk of the death penalty.
The two suspected terrorists from West London, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, are believed to be the final two members of the jihadists nicknamed as ‘the Beatles;’ named for their British accents. The pair are responsible for a string of killings within Syria, reportedly having killed twenty-seven hostages, including two high-profile British aid workers, David Haines and Alan Henning. Following their arrests, the dual-national pair have had their British citizenship stripped and the government have been eager for their prosecution. It is now claimed that Britain will not require any assurances that the pair would not be potentially subject to the death penalty.
Unfortunately, the evidence held against the two by the United Kingdom has been described as ‘too weak’ to allow for prosecution, leading to discussions for their extradition to the US for trial. Should they be tried in the US, the intelligence held by the UK will play a key factor in their prosecution. According to a leaked letter to the Telegraph, Home Secretary Sajid Javid made clear that Britain is willing to provide the evidence needed in order to prosecute in the US, without the need for guarantees regarding the potential of a death penalty sentence. My Javid has come under fire for this letter, being accused of “unilaterally scrapping Britain’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty.”
Number 10 has now confirmed that Theresa May was aware of the decision, as this comes amongst claims that she had pushed for prosecution, despite the risk. The Prime Minister’s office released a statement saying that it was “a long-standing position of the government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle,” however, in this case it was “a priority to make sure that these men face criminal prosecution.” However, a security correspondent for the BBC has stated that the UK will look to withhold key intelligence from the US, should the men be sent to the controversial military prison, Guantanamo Bay.
A former reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, has said that “this exercise of discretion in relation to two people, however little we may like them, seems to me to be a departure from the rule of law.” A final decision regarding their fate is yet to be made.
- EU Laws
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
The fifth anti-money laundering directive confirmed
Despite leaving the EU next March, the UK has agreed to abide by any existing and future EU laws during the transition period until the end of December 2020.
This includes the recent fifth directive designed to combat terrorism and money laundering after the Panama papers, targeting off shores corruption and tax evasion.
The government has confirmed its intention to follow this directive in a letter by Lord Henley, a parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to Margaret Hodge MP. He wrote,
“You ask about the government’s plans in regard to complying with the requirements of the fifth anti money laundering directive. The deadline for the transposition of the directive falls within the implementation period and the UK will transpose this directive.”
The fifth anti-money laundering directive includes measures such as public registration of company owners, access to names of beneficiaries and cross boarder database overseen by the EU commission.
According to the pressure group Tax Justice Network Cobham, the confirmation will have a positive effect as the UK could adopt similar frameworks when it comes to tackling such issue after leaving the EU. This implementation will hopefully raise expectations and standards for transparency in the near future.
For more information, see the Guardian.