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What the papers say: Britain’s soaring EU budget bill shows Brexit can’t happen soon enough

14 February 2017

8:43 AM

14 February 2017

8:43 AM

We’ve heard that Brexit could cost Britain billions in the form of a divorce bill from Brussels. But what is the price of staying in? That question is answered by the Daily Mail this morning which reveals Treasury estimates slipped out last week that the UK’s contribution to the EU will jump to £10.2bn in 2019 – up from £7.9bn this year. The numbers also show that if Britain is still in the EU by 2021-22, taxpayers will have to pay out £10.9bn to Brussels. For the Daily Mail this is proof that Brexit is the best course of action. ‘Doesn’t this revelation, slipped out by the Treasury, show precisely why we’re leaving in the nick of time?,’ the paper asks. It says this soaring bill shows that Brussels is ‘spending well beyond its means’ and suggests the money we’re sending to Brussels could easily be put to better use if it was spent at home. For one, the Mail says, that sum of money could ‘solve our elderly care crisis at a stroke – and still leave a few billion to spare’.

In the Times, it’s the euro which comes in for criticism, as the paper suggests the dismal state of the Greek economy shows exactly why the single currency is such a dreadful idea. The ratio of debt to Greece’s GDP now sits at 169 per cent, the paper says – meaning that, soon enough, ‘something will have to give’. But what can be done? Some say that leaving the euro is the only way ahead for Greece – an option which the Times pours cold water on, saying the damage would be so ‘immense’ that is simply isn’t plausible. Instead, the only path now – despite the reluctance of Germany to agree to it – ‘is further debt restructuring along with closer fiscal integration.’ What is most clear from this mess is that the ‘euro is a misconceived project’. And the miserable news is that without ‘financial collapse’ there’s no going back, says the Times.

Meanwhile, the Sun warns that we’re living through torrid times for the British press. The paper warns that the freedom enjoyed by newspapers has ‘never been in greater peril than it is today’. After the looming threat of a state-backed regulator, the proposals put forward by the Law Commission – that journalists who obtain secret information could be sent to prison – are the latest worry to emerge. ‘These recommendations place too much power in the hands of officials who would rather the public was always kept in the dark,’ says the Sun, which calls on Downing Street to show it ‘values a free press’ and ditch the idea.

Ken Loach grabbed the headlines yesterday after accusing the Tories of ‘callous brutality’ in his acceptance speech at the Baftas. The film director even went as far as saying the Government ‘would have to be removed’ before claiming that he – and other film directors – are ‘with the people’ on this. This is laughable, suggests the Telegraph, which says the truth is that most people think Loach and his friends ‘are living in la-la land.’. Despite the doom-mongering of his speech, in which he talked of ‘dark times’ and the bleak visions of Britain presented in his films, most people don’t recognise this view of modern Britain. The Telegraph says that there’s no doubt Loach is a fine director. Yet his skill behind the camera doesn’t mean that his view that ‘the welfare state has been dismantled and the poor left to starve and rot’ is accurate. Instead, the naked truth is that his films are nothing to do with delving into the ‘human condition’; they’re simply an ‘exercise in Left-wing propaganda’, concludes the Telegraph.


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