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Firms face fines of up to £20k for failing to pay living wage

Businesses that fail to pay staff the new national living wage face fines of up to £20,000 under plans unveiled by David Cameron.

David Cameron Credit: PA Wire

The Prime Minister said employers would "pay the price" and bosses could be barred from acting as directors if they did not ensure the wage boost was passed on.

From next April, firms will have to pay all workers aged over 25 at least £7.20 an hour - up from £6.50 now.

Currently a firm is fined 100% of arrears for non-payment of the minimum wage but that will double to 200% when the new living wage comes in to force. The maximum is expected to be £20,000.

Any employer found guilty of non-compliance could be prevented from becoming a company director for 15 years

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President Obama to run wild with Bear Grylls in Alaska

The president will join the survival expert to see the impact of climate change first hand. Credit: Reuters/PA

Barack Obama is to venture into the Alaskan wilderness with British survival expert Bear Grylls to explore the impact of climate change on the environment for a television programme, it has been announced.

The special edition of Running Wild with Bear Grylls will be broadcast later this year on NBC.

President Obama will meet with Grylls while visiting Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the area. The two will then come together in the Alaskan Wilderness.

President Obama will become the first US president to receive a crash course in survival techniques from Bear Grylls. The visit will be taped and aired on NBC later this year.

– NBC statement

Located on the northwest tip of America, Alaska is known for its icy terrain, mountains and freezing temperatures.

Grylls, who has served with the SAS and wrestled sharks and alligators, has taken a string of celebrities on one-on-one adventures to test their survival skills on the series.

So far, actresses Kate Winslet and Kate Hudson and Magic Mike star Channing Tatum have all taken part in the show.

Sturgeon: 'Arrogant' Osborne pre-empting Trident decision

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has criticised a £500 million investment in the home of the UK's nuclear deterrent as "Tory arrogance of the worst kind".

Ms Sturgeon said it was wrong of Chancellor George Osborne to pre-empt the outcome of a vote on the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, which is due to be decided by MPs next year.

The SNP leader said that while she wanted to see Faslane have a strong future as a conventional naval yard, the money should be invested in health and education and used to reverse "cruel" welfare cuts.

Willetts slams May over 96,000 foreign students claim

Home Secretary Theresa May has been criticised by a former colleague for using "unreliable" statistics to call for tougher restrictions on foreign students coming to Britain to study.

David Willetts and Theressa May Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment/John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ex-universities minister David Willetts took exception to Mrs May's claim that 96,000 more students were arriving in the country each year than were leaving.

In an article for the Sunday Times, Mrs May wrote: "The gap between the number of non-EU students coming to this country and departing each year is 96,000 - half the net migration from beyond the EU."

But Mr Willetts - who left government last year and is soon to join the House of Lords - said the figure was "not a solid basis for policy".

People who come here to study should study, perhaps do some post study work and then go back to their country...We are selling them a service, we reap a lot of benefits from that, but studying in Britain is not and should not be a means to settlement. My disagreement I'm afraid is that the particular figures that were being cited ... for number of students staying on is very unreliable. It is a widely disputed and doubted figure and would not be a solid basis for policy.

– David Willetts

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May calls for urgent EU action to tackle migration crisis

Theresa May and her German and French counterparts call for emergency meeting to address the migrant crisis in Europe. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Urgent steps must be taken by the European Union to address the growing migration crisis, Theresa May said in a joint call with Germany and France for an emergency meeting of ministers within two weeks.

The Home Secretary said the EU's "broken" system had exacerbated the issue - and called for concrete proposals, such as reception centres to register and fingerprint new arrivals and an agreed list of "safe" countries to speed up asylum decisions, to be drawn up.

The events of this summer have shown that the most tragic consequences of a broken European migration system have been borne by those at risk of exploitation.

And the greatest beneficiaries have been the callous gangs who sell false dreams and trade on the free borders within the EU.

As countries in Europe are increasingly realising, these tragedies have been exacerbated by the European system of no borders, the Schengen area, in which the UK has never taken part.

– Theresa May, writing in the Sunday Times

The discussions with her French and German counterparts took place during a summit in Paris on Saturday discussing rail security measures in the wake of the gun attack on a French train.

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