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Socialists 'to ditch EU budget ceiling' in move that will cost Britain £3bn

Socialists 'to ditch EU budget ceiling' in move that will cost Britain £3bn | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
Britain faces tax increases or spending cuts of £3bn as Francois Hollande, France's new Socialist president, prepares to ditch the EU budget ceiling freeze.

 

Francois Hollande, the Socialist French president, is preparing to a ditch a deal over the next European Union budget in a move which would force the British government to raise taxes or cut spending by £3bn.
In December last year Nicolas Sarzoky, Mr Hollande’s predecessor, signed a letter agreeing to freeze the EU’s spending from 2013 to 2020.
However, senior officials in Brussels have told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Hollande is poised to withdraw from the agreement.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is also reconsidering her support for an EU budget freeze and increasingly favours more spending to boost economic growth. Mrs Merkel recently gave her backing to a growth pact devised by the French leader worth €120billion (£95billion).
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who would be forced to raise taxes or cut public spending to pay for the increased cost of the EU budget. But officials acknowledge but Britain will struggle to prevent it if the budget rise has the backing of both Germany and France.

“Paris and Berlin have shifted,” a senior Brussels-based official told this newspaper. “Only David Cameron is in the same place as two years ago. He is out of step and he will lose.
“In Brussels last week Mr Cameron talked up the preservation of the rebate because a budget freeze is a lost cause.”
The tabled European Commission demand for 2014 to 2020 spending would mean that the British government would have to find an extra £1.4bn a year for extra payments to the EU.
This would mean that almost £3bn in extra tax rises or spending cuts would have to be found before the next election, in the spending period which ends in 2015.
With UK economic growth still low, raising tax receipts by £1.4bn a year would not be straightforward. A 3p a litre increase in fuel duty would raise about £1.5bn a year.
French diplomats confirmed that Mr Hollande’s support for Mr Sarkozy’s commitment was “not automatic”, potentially causing a massive problem for Mr Osborne.
“We have not decided,” one French official said. “Of course the president has supported an increase as part of increased investment in jobs and growth. A lot will depend on an auditor’s review of French government debt in July.”
EU budget negotiations have always been fraught, but they are likely to prove more bitter than ever as many of the continent’s economies lie mired in recession, with member states inflicting deep public spending cuts.
Britain currently pays 12.4 per cent net share of all Brussels expenditure. Any further rise is like to step up pressure on David Cameron to hold a referendum on Britain’s future in the EU.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend Mr Cameron said that he was not opposed to such a referendum, but that now was not the right time.
Stephen Booth, research director of Open Europe, the think tank, said: “There are clearly question marks over whether Hollande will stick to the deal signed by Sarkozy on freezing the EU budget.
“Although this would increase the likelihood of the negotiations becoming a political dogfight, it would also leave the UK with no excuse for not pushing harder for real reform of things like EU regional spending, which would actually reduce the budget rather than simply freezing it.”

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The quality of history teaching in our schools is a national disgrace

The quality of history teaching in our schools is a national disgrace | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
A poll asking secondary school pupils reveals that less than half of students know where the Battle of Britain took place, only 62 per cent recognise Winston Churchill and one in five thinks there has been a WWIII.

 

It was a turning point in the war, when only the bravery of The Few who took to the skies to defend their country stood between Britain and the might of Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe.
But less than half of today’s secondary school pupils know the Battle of Britain was fought in the air, a poll has revealed.
Only 62 per cent could correctly identify a photograph of Sir Winston Churchill, it found – but 92 per cent recognised a picture of Churchill the insurance dog.

More could identify Jedward, Wayne Rooney and Katie Price than their country’s wartime leader.
Only a third of 11 to 18-year-olds know the Second World War began in 1939, according to a poll by former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, while only one in five knows what happened on D-Day.

The survey of 1,000 children at secondary schools across Britain was commissioned to mark the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in London later this week.
Its results will heighten concern about the quality of history teaching in our schools.
It found that only 34 per cent of pupils – including 45 per cent of those aged 17 and 18 – knew the Second World War began in 1939. Only 39 per cent knew it ended in 1945, again including only 45 per cent of 17 and 18-year-olds.

Forty-three per cent knew the Battle of Britain was fought in the air, 29 per cent believed it was fought on land, and 8 per cent at sea. Twenty per cent admitted they did not know.
Just 34 per cent correctly said the Battle of Britain took place in the 1940s, and only 11 per cent of these – about one in 27 of the whole sample – knew it happened in 1940.
Only a fifth of children had any idea of what happened on D-Day, with the most frequent answer being the day the war ended.
Eighty-six per cent correctly said there had been two world wars – but one in 20 thought there had been three.
Nearly a third were unable to give any unprompted explanation of why Britain fought in the Second World War
And while 89 per cent identified Germany as an adversary during the conflict, only 15 per cent could name Japan unprompted.
Nearly a quarter thought Britain’s enemies had included Russia, France, China, the USA, Australia or New Zealand.
Only 61 per cent correctly named the USA as an ally of Britain’s in the Second World War. One in ten thought our allies had included Italy, Germany or Japan.

When the children were offered four different explanations for what Bomber Command is or was, only 36 per cent correctly said it had been part of the RAF.
There was some encouraging news, however - 95 per cent correctly identified the Royal British Legion’s poppy, and 84 per cent knew what it signified.
Lord Ashcroft, who made a £1 million donation towards the new Bomber Command Memorial, which is being unveiled on Thursday, said: 'It is sobering to find that so many children of secondary school age simply do not know important facts about crucial events in Britain’s recent history.
'My own father fought in D-Day, and I was keen to discover how much today’s young people know of what happened just 70 years ago.
'I don’t mean to criticise the children. We must all take responsibility for ensuring that what we know is passed to the next generation. These findings show we can never be complacent about our duty to remember.
'One of the ways we can do this is to build lasting memorials to those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country. That is the purpose of the Bomber Command Memorial, which I am proud to support.
'The Memorial is long overdue. Those who flew on countless missions over Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, many of whom were barely out of their teenage years, knew the odds were stacked against them, and many did not return.
'All of us should be thankful for the sacrifice they made to ensure that we can all live in a free society.'

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