50. Weekly Newsletter
Conservatives split over immigration policies
Division within the Conservative party exacerbated this week just before the vote on legislation aimed to revitalise plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. The original deal was announced in April last year where some asylum seekers arriving in the UK would be sent to Rwanda for processing and they could be granted refugee status upon arrival. The government had announced plans that anyone after 1 st January could be sent there with no maximum capacity. However, the UK supreme court had ruled the scheme unlawful due to the risks that asylum seekers would be sent to countries where they could be harmed.
However, the Home Secretary James Cleverly signed a new migration treaty in Rwanda this week which would mean that people sent to Rwanda to claim asylum would not be sent to a third country where they could be persecuted along with the UK paying for accommodation and living expenses of people relocated to Rwanda for their first 5 years. Former immigration minister, Robert Jenrich claimed the bill was “weak” as it would leave the door open to every asylum seeker refusing to be sent away on the grounds that it is not safe for them. The issue that Rishi Sunak faces in enacting his policy to “stop the boats” is that he will need a very high percentage of the Conservatives party to back the bill because the Labour party have already vowed to oppose. This means that only 29/350 Conservative MP’s have to oppose It in order for it to fail.
The UK’s front page news cycle over the last seven days has covered a wide range of topics. Inflation has seemingly drained the NHS budget by £3.5 billion, government set to reduce the BBC budget by another £90 million and Sunak faces a testing UK covid enquiry. Some of the newspaper front pages from this week were:
- Financial Times- ‘UK class-action targets mobile phone operators with £3.3bn damages claim’
- Financial Times- ‘UK reliance on ‘fickle’ foreign investors a risk to gilts, says OBR chief’
- The Guardian- ‘Wes Streeting says NHS uses winter crisis as excuse to ask for more money’
- The Times- ‘Average UK mortgage payments to rise by £2,900 a year’
- The Times- ‘Trading at London Stock Exchange halted twice in one day’
- Sunday Telegraph- ‘‘Very clear’ Rwanda Bill will not succeed, says Jenrick’
British American Tobacco takes massive hit
British American Tobacco said it would take a £25 billion impairment charge hit as they write off the value of some US cigarette brands as they no longer believe the traditional market has value. BAT shares fell around 10% to the lowest they have been since 2010 and this move comes at a time when stricter regulations are put in place and a rise in health awareness leading to a decline in cigarette sales. As a result, BAT have been trying to cut their reliance on traditional cigarettes but their transition to other forms like vaping has also been challenging due to regulations for those as well. BAT also announced this week that it will aim to generate 50% of its revenue from non-combustible products by 2035, whilst global tobacco sales have been down at 3% this year.