Subsidising the French

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At an event in the West Country yesterday, to showcase a bunch of expensive new buildings built for quangos with names like “Space Applications Catapult”, the British government made one of the strangest announcements of the year.

The French owned satellite manufacturing company, Airbus, is selling a satellite called Quantum to the French-owned satellite TV operator EUTELSAT. One observer said the unusual, expensive and low capacity satellite might be designed to fly around space grabbing rights to spectrum at different locations which is called “Bringing Into Use”, christening the satellite “BIU-Sat”. The French giant made €303 million of net profit last year, so is clearly in fine fettle. However, for some reason that was not made clear in gushing press releases, the UK Space Agency has delivered a subsidy of €71 million to the French company.

British tax payers, in these straightened times must feel their hearts warmed that our love for the EU extends to handing out this kind of subsidy to French companies with no significant operation, employment or tax base in the UK. Let’s hope the French government feels the same and starts showering cash on British companies…

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