Over the last two weeks an incredible list of extra benefits for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been declared, none of which will be available in England but all of which English taxpayers will pay for. At present what Scotland alone pays into the UK Exchequer falls £11 billion short of the amount they receive from it to pay for services. The extra benefits will all be paid for in their entirety by the people of England.
It has been announced by the Scottish Executive that all Scotland's infant pupils are to get free school meals as from August 2010 costing between £30 and £40 million. The Review Committee set up by the Welsh Assembly is recommending that all Welsh university students pay only £1200 per annum in fees while England's pay £3000 (Scottish university students do not pay tuition fees as it is, not even when they are at English universities) and that Welsh students from poorer backgrounds should receive grants up to £6000pa. In Northern Ireland prescription charges, already scrapped in Wales and about to be scrapped in Scotland, will be scrapped in 2010.
The Scottish Executive has now come up with a demand for its own national high quality TV digital channel costing £75 million and asking for broadcasting powers independent of the BBC and responsible just to the Scottish Parliament. Scotland already has its own BBC Scotland, Wales its own BBC Wales, NI its own BBC NI and British citizens of Asian origin have their own Asian Network. England in contrast has no BBC England at all; and while all three countries have their representatives on the Board of BBC Trustees, England does not. All it has is a representative of 9 separate BBC English regions -just one for a population which amounts to 80% of the whole UK population.
Gordon Brown, the Scottish UK Prime Minister, has also appointed a new Secretary of State for Scotland with a seat in the UK Parliament. He is Jim Murphy MP for Rendrewshire. Wales and NI likewise both have a Secretary of State with seats in the Cabinet. England, however, has no Secretary of State, no one at all to represent its interests in the Cabinet..
Mr Brown has also set up the Calman Commission to investigate ways and means of improving what is on offer to Scotland since devolution and how to improve its processes. Lord Calman has already announced his commission will be considering providing more financial powers to the Scottish Parliament.
'The total situation beggars belief,' Mrs Scilla Cullen, CEP Chairman. 'It simply is impossible even to attempt to justify, let alone quantify, the degree of discrimination being imposed upon the people of England by the Union government. Just one statistical fact might show it for it is. Birmingham has the highest child poverty rate in the whole of the UK. That alone is enough to illustrate how utterly unfair it all is. One would think at least one English MP would rise up and demand justice and equality for England.'
End of Press Release.
Head of CEP Media Unit. Tel: 01260 271139 Email: email@example.com