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Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski: ‘I was wrong about Britain not receiving war aid’

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published:

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has apologised and admitted he was incorrect in stating that Great Britain did not receive aid under the Marshall Plan after the Second World War.

Daniel Kawczynski received thousands of responses to his tweet about the Marshall Plan

Last week, Daniel Kawczynski took to Twitter to say that: "Britain helped to liberate half of Europe. She mortgaged herself up to eye balls in process. No Marshall Plan for us only for Germany. We gave up war reparations in 1990. We put £370 billion into EU since we joined. Watch the way ungrateful EU treats us now. We will remember."

His Tweet attracted more than 12,000 comments, with people correcting him on his knowledge of history. But he had staunchly stood by his comments in numerous press articles despite increasing calls for him to apologise.

The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a US program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of Second World War. Britain received an emergency loan of $3.75 billion.

How the story developed:

Now, after consulting academics and senior researchers at the House of Commons, Mr Kawczynski accepts that his tweet was 'misleading' and 'factually incorrect'.

He said: "It has been pointed out to me by eminent academics/professors and senior researchers in the House of Commons Library that Britain did receive aid under the Marshall Plan.

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"The line in my tweet which stated that Britain did not benefit was therefore inaccurate.

"I would like to apologise for putting this inaccurate sentence within my tweet. My own personal conviction however remains that the massive loans that Britain had to take out during the war from America outweighed the benefits of the aid received.

Assessment

"On December 31, 2006, Britain made a final payment of about $83m (£45.5m) and thereby discharged the last of its war loans from the US. By the end of Second World War Britain had amassed an immense debt of £21 billion.

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"I have asked the House of Commons Library for their assessment of what the £21 billion from that era is in today’s money."

Replacing the previous Morgenthau Plan, the Marshall Plan operated for four years beginning on April 3, 1948. The plan required a lessening of interstate barriers, a dropping of many regulations, and encouraged an increase in productivity, as well as the adoption of modern business procedures.

The largest recipient of Marshall Plan money was the UK, which received about 26 per cent of the total, followed by France (18 per cent) and West Germany (11 per cent). Some18 European countries received benefits under the plan.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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