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Teenagers in England and Wales sat their maths GCSE exam on Thursday. To prove the relevance of the subject to real life, it is understood that the paper was given a Brexit and current affairs theme to help students grapple with political campaigns dominated by disputed figures. The FT has obtained a copy of that paper.
1a. The Leave campaign says that Britain’s gross contribution to Brussels is £350m a week. But if the net figure minus the amount Brussels then spends in the UK is actually only about £161m, can you find the extra £350m a week they are promising to spend on the National Health Service?
1b. Explain the difference between gross and net as if you were talking to a former mayor of London.
1c. The Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston has walked out of the Leave campaign because she is angered at that figure of £350m a week. Given that the number is painted on the side of the Brexit campaign’s battle bus, what took her so long to notice it?
2a. A well-known adage states that economists have predicted nine out of the last five recessions. Assuming that to be true, if 90 per cent of economists are predicting recession if the UK votes to leave the EU, what are the odds of them being right?
2b. If at least 40 per cent of voters support leaving the EU but only 10 per cent of economists do, isn’t there a serious market inefficiency?
3. If no more EU nationals are allowed to come to Britain, how long will it take the average person to get served at a Pret A Manger?
4. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn talks to no more than five party supporters each day. How long will it take until more than half of the party’s 380,000 members know what his position is?
5a. If support for Brexit rises one percentage point every two days, how long will it take until the prime minister promises to veto Turkish membership?
5b. If all 76m Turks come to Britain, how easy will be it be to snap up a cut-price house on the Bosphorus?
5c. David Cameron says it will take until the year 3000 for Turkey to win EU membership at the current rate of progress. If that rate doubles will he still be “well out of it” by the time the Turks join?
6. Vote Leave says Britain will need a new home every six or seven minutes to accommodate all the new immigrants. If the average builder takes three weeks just to give you an estimate, how many homes will be built at that rate before you find out how much your new kitchen will cost?
7. George Osborne, chancellor, says house prices will fall if Britain leaves the EU. How many times can he push this message to older voters without young voters deciding that Brexit might not be so bad after all?
8. A vote to leave the EU is likely to be followed by a move by the Bank of England to cut interest rates. What are the chances of mortgage lenders passing on this cut to homeowners?
9. The prime minister and other EU nations have said there can be no second referendum if Britain votes to leave. In the event of a vote to leave, how long will it take to organise the second referendum?
10. Pavel leaves his home in Poland to find work in the UK. If he takes 10 days to drive there, will he arrive before England’s football team is knocked out of Euro 2016?
1a. Donald Trump is fighting a number of lawsuits from students of his Trump University business course. How many of these cases would have been dismissed already if the judge had not been a Mexican rapist?
1b. A man pays $1,500 for a three-day seminar at the Trump University. He then pays $35,000 for the “elite” package of personal mentorship. Does he sound like someone you would employ in your business?
2. Hillary Clinton has amassed more than 50 per cent of the votes needed to secure the Democratic party nomination for president. How much longer should it take Bernie Sanders to realise that he has lost?