EU pledge sets election battlelines
THE battlelines over Europe for the next general election were becoming clear today after Prime Minister David Cameron promised an in/out referendum by 2017 and Labour leader Ed Miliband set his face against it.
The Prime Minister cheered eurosceptics in his party with the move, even though he vowed to campaign “with all my heart and soul” for continued British membership of a reformed EU.
He faces a stiff test of his negotiating powers in Europe after saying he would try to achieve a “new settlement” for Britain which, if the Tories win the planned 2015 election, would be put to voters in a referendum by the mid-point of the next parliament.
PM seeks clampdown on tax evasion
DAVID Cameron will call for greater international co-operation on tax evasion today in a speech to the World Economic Forum.
The Prime Minister will urge world leaders to work together to tackle problems with evasion and avoidance which allow multinational companies and the super-rich to keep their tax bills down.
The issue is a key focus for Mr Cameron during Britain’s presidency of the G8 leading economic powers.
16,000 immigrants in backlog chaos
AN “unacceptable” backlog of more than 16,000 immigrants waiting to hear whether they can stay in Britain was discovered in a fresh investigation into UK border controls, inspectors have said.
Some 14,000 applicants, growing at a rate of 700 a month, had already been refused the right to stay but are still pleading with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to reconsider.
An additional 2,100 cases – shipped in a box from an office in Croydon to Sheffield – were still waiting for an initial decision at the time of the inspection – with some dating back a decade. The UKBA said these have since been cleared.
More snow expected before the thaw
RECENT heavy falls of snow across Britain will be replaced with milder temperatures next week, raising fears of flooding as the snow begins to melt.
But before the welcome respite, a final heavy fall will hit Britain tomorrow, focusing on northern England and southern Scotland which will see up to 15cm in high ground.
Today will see only light flurries of snow compared to recent days, falling along the east coast and in the Midlands.
Pupils ‘being let down by schools’
TENS of thousands of teenagers are being let down by schools which are failing to ensure pupils leave with decent GCSE results, new league tables suggest.
Around one in four schools and colleges are not producing any students with top grades in subjects that will help them win a place at a leading university, according to an analysis of the latest statistics.
In total, 195 schools in England, collectively teaching around 167,000 children, are falling below the Government’s new floor target for secondaries, the figures show.