Conservatives and UKIP to team up?

The Guardian reports on a poll which shows that a significant proportion of voters would like to see UKIP teaming up with the Conservatives after next year’s General Election.

Three in 10 Conservative voters would prefer Ukip coalition in 2015 – poll

Tory support for Ukip pact narrowly trails that for another deal with Lib Dems in event of hung parliament next year

Nearly a third of Conservative voters would prefer their party to form a coalition with Nigel Farage’s party rather than any other, according to a survey.

The figure of 30% support for a coalition with Ukip compares with 31% who would favour a continuation of the current partnership with Liberal Democrats in the event of a hung parliament in 2015.

The survey by TNS UK found that the Liberal Democrats were the favoured party of coalition for supporters of both the Conservatives(31%) and Labour (32%) if either party does not win an outright majority.

Lib Dem voters preferred a coalition with the Tories rather than Labour by a margin of 36% to 26%, with 13% saying the party should go into opposition rather than joining another coalition.

Immigration hurts

The Mail reports on a top left-wing economist from Cambridge who has said that mass migration hurts us all.

Mass immigration will damage the living standards of everyone in the country as minor economic benefits are outweighed by the social pressures of a relentlessly rising population, one of Britain’s most eminent Left-wing economists declared yesterday.

Professor Robert Rowthorn, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Cambridge University and a longstanding adviser to Whitehall departments, said the economic advantages of immigration are ‘unlikely to be very large’.

But the downside – from building on the green belt to the overcrowding of cities – means that the consequences of large-scale immigration ‘are mostly negative for the existing population of the UK and their descendants’.

The findings are a major blow to claims that immigration has and will continue to bring major economic benefits. Over the past decade, widely-publicised studies by academics and liberal think tanks have repeatedly said that immigration will make us better off.

Among those reported by the BBC have been claims by the Labour-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research that immigrants are paying a disproportionate share of the nation’s taxes, and that they bring economic benefits because they do jobs that Britons will not take.

The Times is running a similar story.

Mass immigration is bringing down living standards, economist claims

The report says that if immigration continues at its present level it will lead to mounting pressure on UK infrastructure

High levels of immigration will undermine living standards by putting huge pressure on schools, housing, hospitals and water supplies in the UK, an economist warns in in a report published today.

The economic gains of large-scale migration to the UK will be outweighed by the need to build more homes and improve transport facilities to cater for population growth fuelled by newcomers and their children.

Portugal bailed out

The Daily Express claims a row has broken out over the hand-out to Portugal.

FURY erupted today after the EU gifted cash-strapped Portugal a £20 billion handout to help boost its crumbling economy.

Most of the money will be spent on training and education in a bid to cut rampant unemployment and revive Portuguese economic fortunes by the end of the decade.

Critics warned it means British taxpayers’ will be effectively forking out up to £2.7 billion over the next seven years to help prop up one of Europe’s basket case nations.

Unemployment in Portugal is currently surging at 14.3 per cent, while one of its biggest banks is teetering on the brink following massive losses.

It was also suggested that the ‘growth fund’ was a parting gift from Portuguese European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso before he leaves later this year.

Ukip MEP and the party’s Economy spokesman Patrick O’Flynn blasted the deal, saying that it was “tipping money down the drain”.

He added: “There is only one way for Portugal’s economy to recover and generate new jobs and investment and that will be to leave the Euro and restore its own national currency.

“This must amount to the most expensive sticking plaster in history and British voters will be outraged.”

Scots ‘No’ to Independence

The Independent claims Scottish leader Alex Salmond is in danger of being trounced by the ‘No’ vote in September’s poll.

Scotland is on course to vote No to independence in September’s referendum by a margin of 57 to 43 per cent, according to a “poll of polls” for The Independent.

Despite the heated battle between supporters and opponents of a breakaway, public opinion appears remarkably unchanged. Since March, the Yes and No camps have been within one percentage point of their current average rating.

The 57 to 43 per cent margin is based on the latest six opinion polls and excludes “don’t knows”. It has been calculated by John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who writes a blog called What Scotland Thinks.

After a pause for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the referendum battle will burst back into life next Tuesday, when Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, goes head-to-head in a much anticipated TV debate with Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign. David Cameron has refused to debate with the Scottish National Party leader.

Independence warning

Sky News suggests that RBS is warning over the Scottish Independence poll.

The bank, which is 80% owned by the taxpayer, restates the warning that its business could suffer it Scotland goes it alone.

RBS has said Scottish independence could have a “material adverse impact” and “significantly impact its credit ratings”.

Sources say the bank is restating the position it set out in its full-year results and annual report.

The referendum on Scottish independence takes place on September 18.

The bank – 80% owned by the taxpayer – said earlier this year in its annual report that “uncertainties” of a Yes vote “could also impact the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which the Group is subject”.

The report continued: “Were Scotland to become independent, it may also affect Scotland’s status in the EU.

“The occurrence of any of the impacts above could significantly impact the Group’s costs and would have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.”

NHS pays for agency staff

Sky News also reports that a nurse was paid a huge amount for covering a shift at an NHS hospital.

A Sky News investigation lays bare how hospitals rely on expensive agency staff to fill shifts on bank holidays.

NHS hospitals are so short staffed on public holidays they are paying almost £150 an hour for nurses to work, a Sky News investigation has found.

On May Day Bank Holiday this year a locum agency was paid more than £1,800 to supply a nurse for a 12-hour shift, new figures show.  And one hospital paid £2,500 for a doctor to work that day.

The statistics – obtained through a Freedom of Information request – lay bare how much the NHS is relying on private locum staff on public holidays.

In one hospital, half of the doctors who worked on May 5 were locum medics.  And at another, almost one third of the nursing staff was supplied by a private agency.

School meals

The Telegraph runs a report saying free school meals will break down classroom social divides and boost learning.

Giving free meals to primary school children will help poorer pupils get better exam results and break down social barriers in the classroom, a report has found.

Government trials for the new school meals programme, which starts in September, found those from poorer backgrounds performing better in the classroom.

They also detected “social benefits” of forcing rich and poor pupils from different classes and backgrounds to eat together.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said the results showed that free school meals would help children succeed in life regardless of “their parents’ bank balance”.

From the beginning of the new academic year, all children in their first three years of primary school will be allowed to have free school meals.

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