Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
Reported by Laura Clarke
Philip Hammond: a no-deal Brexit will threaten budget plans
On Sunday 28 October 2018, the chancellor announced the government will set a new emergency Budget if it is unable to reach a Brexit deal with the EU. The news came on the eve of Hammond’s Budget, which shall be presented to the House of Commons on Monday.
Speaking to Sky News, Hammond said in the event of a no-deal brexit, the government would need a “different strategy for the future.” Fiscal measures would have to be taken in order to protect the British economy, yet it remains unclear as to what these measures would involve.
It has been hinted that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would be pushed toward a ‘Singapore-style economic model’, involving significant tax cuts. John McDonell, shadow chancellor for the Labour party, has voiced concerns that the government is edging towards a no-deal Brexit. McDonell said the remarks made by Hammond show a reversion to a plan to turn the UK into a corporate tax haven, if the EU does not cooperate on a trade deal.
The upcoming budget plans, presented on Monday are centred around a hypothetical “average-type free trade deal” being agreed between Britain and the EU.
For more information, see the Independent.
- US Criminal Law
Reported by Sarah Mullane
Explosives sent to American Officials
Numerous suspected explosive devices have been identified this week as having been anonymously sent to high-ranking democratic officials in New York, Washington and Florida. According to the FBI, a total of eight packages were intercepted this week alone, all of which had been addressed to perceived ‘critics’ of President Donald Trump.
Included in this list are Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Former President and Vice-President Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and Former CIA Director John Brennan, who had his delivered to CNN offices in New York.
In addition to the eight packages intercepted (two of which addressed to California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters and sent to two separate addresses), it was supposedly found that all live packages were accompanied by an envelope containing ‘white powder’ – the substance is yet to be identified.
The influx of these packages comes two days after a pipe bomb was discovered at the home of George Soros, a liberal philanthropist and financier, in New York. It is believed that the packages directed to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which were intercepted prior to delivery, were intended to arrive at their private residences. It has been claimed that neither party was at risk of receiving the packages.
It appears that the intended recipients of the explosives so far have either been senior Democrats or CNN, both of which have been subject to frequent political attacks by President Donald Trump in the past. CNN’s New York office was evacuated early on Wednesday morning, after discovery of the package addressed to John Brennan was discovered.
It has since been revealed that a further package was sent to actor Robert De Niro’s New York restaurant, though it has not yet been determined if the explosives are related to the ongoing investigation. If these instances are linked, then it would be the ninth explosive device to have been discovered this week.
Following these incidents, the President sent a message to American citizens, urging them to unite and show that such incidents would not be tolerated, condoning the incidents as “egregious conduct” which is “abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans.”
However, CNN worldwide President, Jeff Zucker, has criticised the President, saying that “there is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media.”
President Donald Trump has stated that a major investigation is now under way to find the perpetrator of these “despicable acts”, with the FBI in New York confirming that the full weight of the
- UK Justice System
Reported by Dan James
Autumn Budget leaves no sign of end to justice austerity
The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, mentioned nothing of the justice system on Monday in his Autumn Budget. However, the Treasury’s budget document has outlined that there will be a decrease in the resource budget for the Ministry of Justice from £6.3bn last year to £6bn in the coming year.
The capital budget will see a fall from £600m in 2018/19 to £400m in 2019/20 while the law officers’ department spending allowance is set to remain at £600m.
The document outlines that the budget will help pay for the construction of a new £170m prison, HM Prison Glen Parva. A further £30m is set to help improve “security and decency” within prisons. £21.5m has also been set aside to be invested in the “wider justice system”.
This continued squeeze on the justice system is marked as a large contrast to the Chancellors’ speech explaining that we have reached the “end of austerity”.
The Chancellor faced a range of criticisms after the document was published.
Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, spoke after the budget speech saying, ‘Despite what the Tories promised, today’s budget does not end austerity. Justice has been cut to the bone, but there’s still hundreds of millions of pounds of justice cuts to come by 2020’.
A tweet from the former Labour justice secretary Lord Falconer read: ‘2010 to 2023 Justice budget reduced by 48%. Each Lord Chancellor since 2010 swore oath of office “to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts.” Now insufficient resources for efficient effective court system and it will get worse.’
Elsewhere, business rates are set to be cut by one-third for retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000, for two years from April 2019. This will provide smaller high-street firms with relief.
For more information, see the Law Gazette.