Your commercial news round-up: Supreme Court ruling, cabinet reshuffle, Israel-Gaza, inflation, McDonald’s

updated on 16 November 2023

Reading time: four minutes

Where to begin… this week has seen the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court, there’s been a cabinet reshuffle, Westminster voted against a ceasefire in Gaza, inflation has fallen and McDonald’s is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Find out more in the commercial news round-up below.

  • On Wednesday 15 November, the Supreme Court ruled the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as unlawful in a “unanimous” judgment. The ruling said the controversial immigration policy would put those sent to Rwanda at “real risk” of being returned home and concluded that there was “substantial grounds for believing that the removal of the claimants to Rwanda would expose them to a real risk of ill-treatment”. President of the Law Society Nick Emmerson said: “Today’s ruling was a clear and unanimous decision from five independent judges. The government should now switch focus to clearing the existing asylum backlog and tackling the severe lack of capacity in the sector to provide the asylum and immigration advice needed.” Emmerson also said that the ruling must “call into question the Illegal Migration Act as a whole”, with the Law Society having “repeatedly raised concerns about whether the act is workable in practice”.

    In response to the ruling, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he plans to introduce “emergency legislation” to determine that Rwanda is safe and “will not allow a foreign court to block these flights”.
  • Earlier this week, as part of a cabinet reshuffle, Suella Braverman was sacked as home secretary and David Cameron, who left his role as prime minister following the 2016 Brexit referendum, was appointed the new foreign secretary (despite him not being an MP). One former cabinet minister described the reshuffle as “bolder than anyone thought”. James Cleverly, the former foreign secretary, has replaced Braverman in the Home Office and Vicky Atkins has been promoted to health secretary. The move has seen Sunak promoting his supporters to key positions, with a Downing Street insider saying that the reshuffle is all about demonstrating unity and purpose around Sunak.
  • Wednesday 15 November also saw nearly 300 MPs vote against a ceasefire in Gaza, after the Scottish National Party (SNP) motioned an amendment to the King’s Speech to call for an end to the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. However, MPs voted 293 to 125 to reject it. The outcome has been described as “shameful” by SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn MP.
  • October saw inflation slow to 4.6% (from 6.7% in September), owed to a decline in energy prices – the price of gas is one-third less than it was at the same time last year. As such, inflation is at its lowest pace since 2021, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Although the news was welcomed by the UK government, which pledged to halve inflation from 10.7% at the end of last year, the head of statistics at the BBC said that the target is actually based on a three-month average, which is currently unknown. Plus, global factors such as energy costs have also played a role in the slowdown.
  • Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, revealed that the company faces “one or two” sexual harassment claims from workers each week. In the four months since July, the fast-food chain received more than 400 complaints about various issues. This news comes following a BBC investigation that took place in the summer, which found that McDonald’s workers as young as 17 were being groped and harassed. In response to the BBC’s report, Macrow set up an investigation handling unit to deal with the complaints, of which 157 have been investigated – 17 of these were relating to sexual harassment and resulted in disciplinary action, nine were about bullying and one was about racial harassment. Of the outstanding cases yet to be probed, 27 are related to sexual harassment.

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