Access to benefits

The government has reminded me of action taken so far to limit access to benefits by recent EU arrivals in the UK.I thought many of you might like to see it, as this is a matter you often write about:

“• New EU migrants who arrive in the UK as jobseekers will only be able to claim benefits for 3 months.
• This halves the amount of time EU jobseekers are able to claim benefits, from 6 to 3 months.
• After 3 months, any EU migrant claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will have a ‘genuine prospect of work’ test. If they don’t have an imminent job offer, they could lose their benefits and right to reside in the UK as a jobseeker.

These reforms are based on a simple principle. That EU migrants should come to the UK to work and contribute, not to claim benefits.

The reforms tighten up access to our welfare system for EU citizens and help ensure that EU migrants are not in the UK to take advantage of our benefits system.

These new measures are the latest in a series of Government reforms in the last 12 months to ensure the UK benefits system is increasingly focussed on EU migrants coming to the UK to work and contribute.

The following measures are already in place.

• From 1 January 2014, all EEA jobseekers have had to wait for 3 months before they can claim income-based JSA.
• After 3 months, jobseekers have to take a stronger, more robust Habitual Residence Test if they want to claim income-based JSA.
• Since April 2014, new migrant jobseekers from the EEA are no longer able to claim Housing Benefit (HB).
• Migrants from the EEA who claim to have been in work or self-employed in order to gain access to a wider range of benefits now face a new robust test to decide whether they should be considered a worker/ex-worker with a minimum earnings threshold.
• As of 1 July 2014, jobseekers arriving in the UK need to live in the country for three months in order to claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for their families too.”

More needs to be done. We await the Prime Minister’s speech on migration later this year, which he has said will be central to his renegotiation with the EU. Your thoughts on what the PM should demand for continued membership of the EU, or what you would rather see for an independent UK on migration would be useful and topical.


  1. Steve Cox
    November 13, 2014

    “• After 3 months, any EU migrant claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will have a ‘genuine prospect of work’ test. If they don’t have an imminent job offer, they could lose their benefits and right to reside in the UK as a jobseeker.”</i?

    Why the indecisiveness? A weasel word like 'could' offers all manner of get-outs, both for the government and for immigrants.

    1. Hope
      November 13, 2014

      If the UK was not in the UK there would be no debate or money lost on such people in addition to the huge contributions and drain on our public services. No case to answer.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        November 14, 2014

        Patently not true as the bill for non eu immigrants shows.

        There would however be fewer immigrants without the EU and greater pressure for business and schools to prepare our own for work.

        1. Hope
          November 16, 2014

          It is patently true. There would be no money lost on such people ie Europeans, this is in addition to those outside the EU. Please read.

    2. Handbags
      November 14, 2014

      What’s the alternative though – people starving in the street? Kids with no shoes on their feet?

      The truth is it’s never going to happen – the vast silent majority would be up in arms.

      No, a better solution would be much, much stronger border controls – we should be very selective about the people coming here in the first place.

      1. waramess
        November 14, 2014

        Most likely an industry will spring up in identity theft which will “entitle” the recipients to benefits nevertheless.

        Border controls are the ONLY way forward.

        Let’s not forget Cameron promised that last year he would have immigration down to tens of thousands. Could it be that a General Election is just six months away

  2. Lifelogic
    November 13, 2014

    The problem is not just people who are not working at all but low earners who are nearly always a large net liability to the state, especially if they have children, bring elderly relatives or have health problems. People can become self employed & yet earn only trivial sums, perhaps selling a few copies of the big issue, selling on ebay or just doing a bit of gardening or something then top up hugely with in work benefits.

    The solution is seems is for everyone to have a pot they build up from national insurance contributions. They should not be able to claim until this pot contains a certain minimum sum and claims should come off this pot, other than in exception situations.

    What on earth is wrong with a points based system that allows in only the people we need for anywhere in the worlds rather than the racist EU good rest of the world bad current system. What have the Government got against Doctors, accountants, businessmen, scientists & engineers just because they come from Australia, Canada, India, China, Hong Kong and the USA?

    I do not think that anyone healthy should get benefits without doing some public work of some description in return.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2014

      Much more nonsense on Rosetta from the BBC and “experts”. They keep implying that it is amazing to land on this rock when it is moving at 66,000 KM per hour. Complete drivel, it is clearly only relative speed (about zero) that matters. Heathrow is moving rather fast too (circa 150,000KM/H as it orbits the sun) and you have to put up with wind at Heathrow too.

      Then they go on about it being “a first”. Well few people have a billion pounds to waste on something rather pointless in terms of scientific or commercial benefit. If they are so concerned about global warming they should have spent the money on cracking fusion or other advanced nuclear power, better batteries, clean water, better crop production, better health care in poor countries, better war avoidance or something.

      The twenty £billion or so they are wasting on Davey & Miliband’s bonkers climate change act might also be more usefully used in such R&D, rather than plastering the country in pointless wind farms, making energy more expensive and pushing jobs abroad.

      1. JoeSoap
        November 13, 2014

        Oh come on, it is pretty impressive that they can land on a comet when Cameron struggles to land on the right side of an argument!

      2. Richard1
        November 13, 2014

        We read that Treasury officials are ‘tearing their hair out’ due to Mr Cameron’s pledge to cut taxes by £7bn, as they don’t know where the money will be found. Here are a few suggestions: HS2; the EU budget contribtution; subsidies to uneconomic fuels such as wind: overseas aid; welfare for people who could easily work; bureaucrats we don’t need (maybe there are some at the Treasury?). Should be able to find £7bn pa out of that with plenty of change for further tax cuts. Who knows, the extra incentives might even lead to an increase in revenues!

      3. Hope
        November 13, 2014

        Cameron has made it clear that he and his party have more in common with Labour, Liberals and Greens than UKIP. Hitchens is, once more, correct. Pro EU parties one side UKIP on the other. There is only one party to stop the nonsense stated above. UKIP. The others will include words such as “could” to later renege on what they say.

        1. Tad Davison
          November 14, 2014


          I listened to Peter Hitchens on YouTube, and he’s spot on!


    2. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2014

      After all people will never learn how to work sitting at home on benefits.

    3. JoeSoap
      November 13, 2014

      It is laughably stupid also to make students take out loans to learn to become doctors, engineers or scientists while those out of work get a non-repayable grant to sit at home and do nothing.

      1. miami.mode
        November 14, 2014

        Well said Joe.
        One of the most pertinent posts on this subject.

  3. Lifelogic
    November 13, 2014

    At least it seems that Libdums will almost certainly lose their deposit yet again in Rochester just to cheer us all up. Hopefully it will finally convince Cameron that Libdim policies of green crap, expensive energy, open borders, pro ever more EU tax, borrow and piss down the drain are not actually too popular with voters.

    It might finally convince Cameron’s Tories to finally abandon these damaging policies too, or is that too much to hope for?

    1. Leslie Singleton
      November 13, 2014

      Lifelogic–I’m still trying to work out why Cameron’s plea to other parties’ supporters to gang up on UKIP does not constitute a deal so therefore not something (says he but wrongly) that the Conservative Party does. I am also trying to understand how he can possibly consider that this latest piece of nonsense is going to help him, as he apparently thinks it will.

    2. Hope
      November 13, 2014

      As above, Cameron made it clear when he went to Rochester he has more in common with Labour, Liberals and Greens than UKIP. Pro EU and all that goes with it. The EU is a wealth distribution club using our taxes to achieve its aims. A socialist construct if ever there was.

    3. fedupsouthener
      November 13, 2014

      Quite right. When is this government going to get tough on the dismal policies forced upon us by the Libdimmers? Only a handful of the population actually voted for them and yet they are in charge of one of the most important policies in the country. What a gigantic cock up they have made of it too. God help us if they get into power with the next elected government. Green spaces and ‘Green Policies’ are at opposite end of the spectrum! How can bulldozing up acres of our arable farmland and wonderful landscapes, killing everything in its path be good for the planet? Then we get charged an arm and a leg for the privilege. My electric bill has gone up nearly 25% in the last year. I cannot cut down anymore than I have already so just have to find the extra money. On a wage that hasn’t gone up in over 6 years it is not easy. But still we have to find more money for more immigrants. I am sick of the whole thing and am sick of the biased reporting for staying in the EU already. We will be bombarded with smoke and mirrors before and IF we get a referendum. It will be just as boring as the Scottish referendum on independence and nothing important will get done while it is being debated. Politics has gone to the dogs in the UK.

  4. Mike Stallard
    November 13, 2014

    This evening I am going to be teaching immigrants English. I have had a lot to do with them since the first inrush of Poles. I am glad about this gentle tightening. It won’t hurt the people who are sleeping rough and who need a night shelter now winter is coming and it will encourage the more bibulous to go to the JobCentre and look for some work. I notice, actually, that the bibulous are slowly disappearing anyway.
    etc ed
    So – good old government!

  5. Dame Rita Webb
    November 13, 2014

    Dave lost my vote when I lost my Child Benefit. There is nothing here to stop the UK taxpayers support of kids who do not live here. Is Dave going to still keep up the old excuse that if we stop it someone will take us to court and we will lose, even though the German case showed this to be an absolute load of cobblers? I will vote Conservative again when I see Dave doing something that shows he means it. For starters he could get himself down to Calais and tell the huddled masses there that you aware not welcome and you are not coming in.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 13, 2014

      It’ll take a change of leadership then before you vote Tory again.


    2. Anonymous
      November 13, 2014

      Dame Rita,

      Even John Major is now saying enough is enough and that the record levels of immigration this year are unsustainable.

      Coinciding with an economic recovery, perhaps. But what will happen during the next downturn when we are obliged to pay benefits to far more people ?

      David Cameron clearly has contempt for us and would still be doing nothing about this situation were it not for Ukip.

      Dr Redwood. Do you think Mr Cameron is deliberately trying to offend us ???

      1. Tad Davison
        November 14, 2014


        ‘But what will happen during the next downturn when we are obliged to pay benefits to far more people ?’

        Good point, and that is something politicians fro the three main Westminster parties rarely reflect upon, possible future liabilities. Cameron keeps crowing about reducing the deficit by a third, but a downturn in the economy, and a subsequently massive benefits bill would push up borrowing again so his efforts thus far would count for nothing.

        They exasperate me, they really do!


  6. Mark B
    November 13, 2014

    Good morning.

    All this could have been done four and a half years ago and even longer.

    You had to wait on the out come of an ECJ judgement on a case brought before the court, by a Romanian against the German Government.

    What this tells me, is that you, the political class, have taken the easy route. You have ‘off-shored’ both your duties and responsibility, so that you can concentrate on using your positions for both self interest and personal gain.

    Only when forced to do so, do you react. Well, as they say; “Too little, and too late.”

    Because all the above could have been done some ten YEARS previously, you have been paying monies, our monies, to people who have had no right to claim it. And all the while, while your own electorate have had to both go without, pay the taxes to support people who should no longer be hear, and be pushed down whatever queue (housing, NHS, education etc) you can imagine.

    And while we are talking about EU/EEA immigrants, can we talk about non-EU/EEA immigrants ? What measures are the government going to take to stop the never ending flow from there ? For to do that, one would have to take on both our own Judges, and those of the ECHR.

  7. Peter van Leeuwen
    November 13, 2014

    An important element lacking here?
    Just days ago the European Court of Justice implicitly reminded the UK, that , just like other EU countries, it could have legislated limitations to the access to benefits for EU citizens. Why didn’t the UK realise this earlier?

    1. Tad Davison
      November 13, 2014

      Maybe they did Peter, which has its own commentary.


      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        @Tad Davison: Well, the high pitch and anger that the UK government has been showing over EU issues IMHO is only helping the UKIP campaign. Contrast this with the Dutch government’s approach – instead of anger over the the extra bill, summoning eurostat to explain and have a normal debate in parliament, on immigration there are some strict laws in Holland, and problems not yet solved, but if our government would make as much noise as the UK government, it would only help the PVV (Wilders’ party) a lesson learned years ago.

        1. Tad Davison
          November 14, 2014

          I’m in favour of anything that gets the UK out of the EU.


    2. Mark B
      November 13, 2014


      Because we are governed by idiots. Our kind host being the exception of course.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        And on these EU issues the host is more likely to oppose than help his government’s policies 🙂

    3. Mondeo Man
      November 13, 2014

      The UK did know, Peter.

      The Govt refused to do anything about it until Ukip started making serious ground.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        @Mondeo Man: You’ve got a point there, but that doesn’t mean support for UKIP is all that good. It does deserve a voice in parliament considering its popular support, but populist policies are far too simple in reality. We’ve seen that in the Netherlands with the PVV (more radical than UKIP)

        1. Tad Davison
          November 14, 2014

          Too simple you say. Why do you suppose certain policies are popular?

          I suggest it’s because they make sense. The positive reasons for the UK to get out of the EU far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

          The problem has always been the democratic deficit. That the people want one thing, but the politicians who are supposed to be their representatives, go in a different direction and do something else entirely. And when the politicians mess up, they are suddenly starkly awakened and frightened out of their skins when a new dynamic political force fills the vacuum they have left and provides an answer.

          People in the UK are gravitating towards UKIP because they can see what a disaster the three main Westminster parties have delivered. That’s as simple as it comes, but isn’t wrong, it’s absolutely right.

    4. Robert Taggart
      November 13, 2014

      Vanity, vanity all was vanity !
      The last Liebore government was far too busy trying to be ‘good’ Europeans !!

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        @Robert Taggart: Mind you there is nothing bad about being a good European. I consider myself to be one too. The British gut-feeling about better off out is just that, a gut-feeling fed by various factors I won’t bore you with again.

        1. Robert Taggart
          November 15, 2014

          Indeed my good Dutchy – it be very much our gut feeling – which is why our continued membership ‘sticks in our gut’ !

    5. Edward2
      November 13, 2014

      Its only advice not law and could be appealed successfully by any one of dozens of State subsidised charities who support new arrivals, asylum seekers and benefit claimants in the courts.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        Edward2: There aren’t any EU nationals who are asylum seekers, are there?
        The precedent working of this verdict will be quite strong and anyway, in a number of coutries legislation preventing limitless access to welfare has been in place for years.

      2. stred
        November 14, 2014

        These ‘charities’ now contribute to GDP under the UN/EU rules and, together with horizontal sex working, are the main reason for our 1.7 billion bill for increased conributions. The large advert by Oxfam asking us to contribute to the campaign to reduce income inequality seems to be purely political, as was their advert to stop the ‘bedroom tax’. Perhaps someone should ask whether this is a proper use of money given to relieve famine.

    6. Hope
      November 13, 2014

      Blaire. He wanted mass immigration. Why have you not realized this earlier.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 14, 2014

        Indeed! Countries like the Netherlands have used years to gradually open the borders for the ten new EU members. That gave them much more time to address the issues of housing, ghetto forming (12 (migrants ed) in a room), misuse of low wages by employers, etc. There are still problems remaining and new ones propping up in 2014, but by addressing them together in a European context is happening and will give positive results. At the same time our independent and authoritative “national planning office” has calculated the net benefit to the economy of immigrants from the former USSR countries and this has been in the public domain for several years already. This helps to prevent the hypes and headlines now seen in the UK. Your current government’s approach is really helping UKIP.

        1. David Price
          November 14, 2014

          You euphiles are so full of it.

          In April 2013 a Dutch television news show showed your country’s deputy finance minister, Frans Weekers, a video of dozens of Bulgarians boasting they had defrauded the Netherlands’ government of welfare benefits.

          The surprise revelations (ie despite your boast the Dutch government had not shared this information previously)sparked a scandal and Mr Weekers narrowly survived a motion of no-confidence in your parliament. Opposition MPs from both right and leftwing parties attacked him for allowing more than €95m in taxpayers’ contributions to be wasted on domestic and overseas fraud, with an unknown amount going to criminals abroad.

          So much for positive results.

          You really should look at getting your house in order before coming here to sneer at our problems.

          1. Tad Davison
            November 14, 2014

            I’ll second that! Europhile drivel makes me even more hostile to the cursed place. It’s one big cesspool and yet we are supposed to love it and share in the fanciful dream that the EU can bring prosperity and good governance to the continent. It hasn’t in fifty odd years, what’s holding it back?


  8. Mick Anderson
    November 13, 2014

    We shouldn’t pay any benefits to anybody who hasn’t been in the country in work or full time education for at least five years. That includes tax credits, housing allowances and child benefit, and excludes those who have only been here on student visas.

    If anything that can be thought of as “free money” is given out, you see Sangatte. A more robust approach to illegal immigrants also needs to be applied – internment on capture until they can prove that they deserve to be here. To those who say we shouldn’t imprison the “innocent” I refer them to the first word of “illegal immigrant”.

    We have enough problems with the economic and social effects of the EU citizens that politicians have opened to doors to; how about some consideration for the people who are expected to put up with (and pay for) the current lunacy?

  9. Richard1
    November 13, 2014

    Immigration isn’t the problem with EU membership. Sure let’s restrict benefits to EU migrants all we can, but as the UCL study shows EU migrants have to date been a major net positive contributor to UK tax revenues. The problems with the EU are: sclerosis in the eurozone; forced expensive energy and green crap; lack of roll out of the single market to services; feet dragging on international trade agreements; protectionsim and subsidy in agriculture; expensive and interfering bureaucracy; damaging anti market regulation especially in financial services; and interference by non-UK courts in matters of justice.

    Let’s focus on the things that matter. UKIP started out talking about some of these things but seem to focus now on immigration only, which shouldnt be the main issue.

    1. Mark B
      November 13, 2014

      Would this be the same UCL that is in receipt of EU monies per chance ?

    2. Mondeo Man
      November 13, 2014

      Richard – You don’t have to Google much to find the UCL study debunked. One of authors is on record having got his predictions on migration woefully wrong.

      The study is selective in time frame and omits to mention many costs of open door policy. Our debts, public services bill and our welfare bill attest to this.

  10. Andyvan
    November 13, 2014

    Britains demands should be
    1. Non participation in the common fisheries policy
    2. Non participation in the common agricultural policy
    3. Non participation in the European Arrest Warrant scheme
    4. A right to ignore any and all laws that are to the detriment of this country and it’s citizens
    5. Absolute control over it’s borders
    6. The right to negotiate free trade with any country we want to.
    7. A very large reduction in contributions (as we are dropping out of so many of their schemes)
    8. An absolute right to refuse to sign any future treaty dreamt up by Brussels.
    A failure to agree any one of these terms should result in immediate action to commence a referendum on whether we should remain in the EU.
    Since there is no chance at all of the Brussels control freaks giving us any of the above why don’t we just stop the pretence and get on with it anyway?

    1. Tad Davison
      November 13, 2014

      A straightforward exit would seem to cover all of those points Andy. Let’s cut loose and gain some escape velocity.


    2. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2014

      Yes please. Just get out now, why even bother with a referendum we never had one when we were dragged in by Heath? Get out, then after 5 years see if anyone wants to join. I cannot imagine there will be more than 10% of Cameron, Ken Clark, J Major types loopy types who would want to.

      Cameron is not even asking for anything substantive anyway – pure long grass deception and political expediency.

  11. Narrow Shoulders
    November 13, 2014

    Measures that could equally be applied to the indigenous population Mr Redwood, it remains far too cosy for some UK citizens to live off the taxpayer.

    None of those measures mentioned above deal with the bigger issue of EU workers being entitled to in work benefits including housing benefit. Taxpayers are subsidising business to import cheap labour and then we provide that cheap labour with a comfortable standard of living. Highly attractive for business and the immigrant.

    How much of our deficit is residing in business’ balance sheets as increased profits through subsidised wages?

    If immigrants can not survive on the basic wsge (having made the free decision to come here) they should return from whence they came.

  12. Ian wragg
    November 13, 2014

    Today we learn that 42000 Bulgarian and Romanians have come since January
    Yesterday we are told that 35000 East Europeans are drawing job seeker allowance. All the measures you trumpet are cosmetic. If they say they are self employed they can get the whole range of benefits.
    As we don’t record them in and out we have no way of knowing if they’ve been here 3 months or 3 years.
    Immigration is going to lose you the election and every time an announcement is made more people join Ukip.
    We learn that these regulations have always been on the statute book so why aren’t they applied . The same with the NHS
    no one is asked about eligibility. It’s a joke John and the game is up.

    1. Hope
      November 13, 2014

      And they claimed Romanians and Bulgarians were not coming here in the numbers suggested. It turns out they are.

  13. Lifelogic
    November 13, 2014

    Anything that stops the government paying people to encourage them not to bother to work (or even learn how to work) is surely most welcome. Beneficial above all to the people concerned, be they immigrants or not.

    Three months is not very long and how do we even know how long the claimants have been in the country? They can claim anything and pop in and out in a couple of hours on very cheap flights at will.

  14. Hope
    November 13, 2014

    No mention of of child benefit to children who have never been here, no mention of free public services ie hospitals, schools and to boast a three month wait to a lifetime of benefits is pathetic. In-work tax credits increases their wage by twice the amount they are paid! Child care vouchers paid by UK taxpayer. This is why the tax take has not increased but public service bill has. Is this success?

    Every piece of land built on to accommodate mass immigration not a housing crisis spun by your colleagues. No social cohesion and MPs still wanting to rid us of our way of life ie culture, lifestyle, the non equal opportunity babble to suppress free speech. Now the Balkanisation of England because Cameron mucked up on Scottish devolution.

  15. bluedog
    November 13, 2014

    The emergence of the Eurozone has fundamentally changed the complexion of the EU. When Gordon Brown decided to bait Tony Blair by submitting advice against British participation in the Euro he unwittingly ensured that Britain would remain separate to the inevitable federation of the countries in the Eurozone. No currency can exist without a sovereign and until the Eurozone nations create such a sovereign entity, the Eurozone remains an unexploded bomb. Of course, we all understand that in the event of a run on the Euro, all eyes will be on Germany.

    Britain therefore has no need to reverse itself out of the worst of the EU’s projects, the European Monetary Union. But Britain does need a free trade agreement with Europe, participation in the development of European standards (which are very good) and a legislative environment that does not inhibit or threaten the British financial services sector. In the latter regard, certain EU personalities are unflinching in their hostility and determination to destroy the financial services sector, and a broad exemption must be obtained from these designs.

    As an independent state, Britain also needs to see the termination of the EU’s foreign service and proposed defence force. The EU foreign service seems to have been a key player in the unfolding disaster in the Ukraine and clearly cannot be trusted to act competently as an agent for the UK. The EU defence force is clearly designed to surplant NATO and end the Atlantic Alliance, neither of which should be permitted.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 14, 2014

      Good post, and look at Germany’s performance of late. As I and others predicted many months ago, they’re in decline, and they only just scraped 0.1% growth. And if the German economy goes down, I wonder where all the unemployed people from all over Europe will want to move to?


  16. Nick
    November 13, 2014

    You write new jobseekers.

    We want no migrants to be on welfare.

    Migrants are optional. We can choose. The EU freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital is subject to “public policy”.

    Ask the Cypriots who are not allowed to move their capital.

    How can the left complain? They claim migrants pay their way. So introduce a law, no welfare for any migrant. If the left are lying then they will complain.

  17. Mike Wilson
    November 13, 2014

    I am not the slightest bit bothered about benefit migrants – as there are so few of them. The latest wave of immigration – from Eastern Europe – has largely brought young, decent, hard-working people here.

    I do wonder if this stuff about benefit migrants is part of a smokescreen.

    What I am bothered about is spending 55 minutes yesterday morning driving 6 miles – and missing an appointment because of it.

    Mr. Redwood, forget the ‘benefits’ issue and concentrate on the infrastructure and public services issues. Too few school places. Queues for doctors appointments. Too much traffic. Trains with people packed like sardines.

    The argument is simple – there are too many people here.

    1. Mondeo Man
      November 13, 2014

      In-work top-ups and welfare to displaced Brits.

      You forgot to mention this. Plus the size of the welfare bill of which uncontrolled migration is a contributor.

    2. fedupsouthener
      November 13, 2014

      Might have something to do with the scale of immigration from Europe and elsewhere! In that case you should be bothered about immigration because unless there is a halt to it you won’t be able to get on a train at all.

  18. Sandra Cox
    November 13, 2014

    Well finally, in the year 2014, almost four years after coming into (albeit coalition) power, after allowing thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians unfettered access to jobs – in the wake of public outcry, and in the build up to the EU elections, the Conservatives started to concern themselves with this.

    John, following on from your topic yesterday on the EU-funded CBI, and years of assorted opinions of ignorant broadcasters, politicians, journalists, even celebrities etc, I am sick of hearing about bone idle UK workers who do not wish to take low paid jobs, and just how keen immigrants are to sign up to low paid work. Now that the added in work benefits payable to immigrants on low pay are being brought to the public’s attention, is there any wonder why the European workers are so keen?

    I saw this on a website a while ago and brought it to the attention of my MP; I’ve dug out the relevant part of the email – I’m not sure that the figures are accurate and, of course, the minimum wage increased from October 2014 to £6.30 for over 21s (£5.13 for 18 to 20s, £3.79 under 18s and £2.73 for apprentices) but the underlying message is still there:

    “To illustrate the difference in wage expectation between residents of the A8 plus Bulgaria and Romania, and UK citizens, let us imagine a standardised minimum wage across the EU set at the current UK hourly rate (£6.31), and make a comparison using the actual minimums. This shows that economic migrants are effectively getting the following hourly rates when they take a minimum wage job in the UK:

    Bulgaria – £47.18, Romania – £43.30, Lithuania – £28.10, Latvia – £25.49, Czech – £24.50, Slovakia – £24.41, Hungary – £24.31, Estonia – £23.15, Poland £21.28, Slovenia £10.82

    Who can blame people from any of those countries for working themselves into the ground for a minimum wage job? Why be surprised that their willingness to graft creates a favourable comparison with the “lazy” unskilled English youth? They are getting up to a 700 percent pay rise. Wouldn’t you be tempted to leave the UK if the going rate in the Sofia branch of Starbucks was £98,000 a year? Or if picking crops in a Carpathian field paid £7,500 a month? But for Brits that isn’t the going rate, (it would be £1,700 a year in Starbucks, and £159 a month in the fields). The argument that EU immigration is a two way street falls at the first fence.”

    John, I suggest you ask David Cameron and George Osborne to do the sums, and don’t forget to add in the taxpayer funded child benefit, generous tax credits, in work benefits, access to services such as housing, education, NHS healthcare (our government is too lax and weak to enforce reimbursement from its European partners – yet, disgracefully enforce the sale of our pensioners’ homes to pay for their care).

    Can I also suggest you tell Mr Cameron that we want something done now, not sometime in the airy fairy future! Otherwise, take it out of the foreign aid budget because that’s what it is – foreign aid being paid right here in our towns and cities!

    1. Sandra Cox
      November 13, 2014

      Oops! The minimum wage increased to £6.50 in October – as you can tell, I’m no economist and therefore rarely comment on such matters.

      1. Sandra Cox
        November 13, 2014

        John, not being too familiar with your blog, I thought I’d submitted this additional comment as a reply/amendment to my earlier comment that hasn’t appeared yet – perhaps you’re still wading through it!

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    November 13, 2014

    We need a migration system where we have the ability to control the quantity and quality of immigration into the UK. That is not compatible with membership of the EU. Just one reason why we should leave the EU.
    As for awaiting the Prime Minister’s speech on migration later this year, what is your leader waiting for? Doesn’t he know what to say? Is he deliberately waiting until after the Rochester and Strood by-election? As Margaret Thatcher might have said “is he frit”? Is he being his normal duplictous self and taking the Bristish people for fools?

  20. David Price
    November 13, 2014

    After contributing to the economy for over 30 years I was made redundant but deemed ineligible to claim for either form of JSA or other benefits. Why should I accept an immigrant from anywhere being able to claim any JSA or benefits at all on entry to this country or even after a measly 3 months or before having made any contribution?

    Why should I work harder, or at all, and pay more taxes when you actively discriminate against me and my children in favour of minority interests, immigrants and foreign interests?

    1. Mike Wilson
      November 13, 2014

      Yes, that happened to me in about 1990. I had ‘paid in’ all my working life – a fair bit of which has been self employed. But, I have never worked in a ‘cash’ business and have always paid my full whack of tax and national insurance. I had taken a job as an employee to try to shelter from the TORY created boom, bust and recession in the mid to late 1980s and, as I said, was made redundant in 1990. Fortunately I am not one of these people that lives hand to mouth and I had some savings. But, with a wife and young children to take care of, I thought I ought to ‘sign on’. I was amazed to find that all I was entitled to was that ‘they’ would pay my ‘stamp’ – a couple of quid a week. That was it. NOTHING ELSE.

      I clearly don’t know how to work the system. I see other people come here from abroad, get a council flat very quickly and settle down to a comfortable life on the dole and working in the cash economy.

      1. stred
        November 14, 2014

        MW. Same thing happened to me in 92. Also. although not eligible for anything, they expected me to visit the Job Centre to discuss job applications and possible skills. The interviewers were young and dressed like actors in a Doctor Who episode. I found one who was interested in my answer of Quantum Mechanics and he put me down for a possible Quantum mechanic.

      2. Tad Davison
        November 14, 2014

        Kinda makes ya sick doesn’t it Mike.


  21. Old Albion
    November 13, 2014

    An end to open -door immigration would be a good start.
    All immigrants should arrive by invitation only and should be financially capable of looking after themselves upon arrival.
    No access to any benefits whatsover until income tax has been paid for five years.
    Immigrants should have medical insurance cover also for five years and no access to Englands NHS, other than in emergency. Which would be covered by the insurance.
    All those arriving here claiming asylum, should be returned to the last safe country they crossed in order to make their claim there.

  22. Know-Dice
    November 13, 2014

    If there is a “benefit tourism” problem, then it’s because the UK is seen to be more desirable than other European countries.

    So, shouldn’t we be looking at those other countries and “mirroring” what they do?

    1. Hope
      November 13, 2014

      Not a problem if we were not part of the EU. We could also save £55 million pounds a day club fees and not need to build over every piece of land. Redundant argument really.

    2. CdBrux
      November 13, 2014

      I certainly think we should look for what other countries do in terms of limiting the rights and abilities of others to profit from their systems. Too often it seems to me we don’t, then blame Europe for all that is wrong without really accepting there is a certain ammount we could do ourselves already. I think that would lead to a more realistic debate around the EU and possibly help our case for achieveing the reform it needs, or at least changing our membership terms.

  23. Atlas
    November 13, 2014

    To make the EU a partnership of equals, so the abolition of Qualified Majority Voting. … and no superstate aspirations either.

  24. Bert Young
    November 13, 2014

    The restraints on immigrants seeking one sort of benefit or another are steps in the right direction ; I get completely fed up reading of abuse after abuse and of the millions wasted on irresponsible “don’t give a damn” individuals . The only policy I support is granting permission to an immigrant who obtains a work permit before arrival and is able to speak English . Employers should always have the right to employ the most suitable individual for a vacancy and to recruit those able to add to its present and future needs .
    We have been far too tolerant in the past towards immigration ; we have neither the resources nor the infrastructure to continue with the open ended policy of the past years . The NHS have insisted that all its employees must be able to communicate clearly and effectively no matter what their qualifications and the same condition should apply to other employers .
    We exist in an ever increasing world of competition where only the best will be able to compete and survive ; there is absolutely no reason to drop our standards and to absorb those from abroad who are not able to get to the starting line . Our resources have limitations and we must employ good judgement in the way they are dispersed .

  25. Gina Dean
    November 13, 2014

    3 months is to short, it should be at least 3 years of working and contributions before anything can be claimed. Child benifit should also only be given for 3 children, in the 5 o’s and 60s the first child was not allowed any benifit. Why is the government topping up money for people in work, strange way to go about things.

    1. JoeSoap
      November 13, 2014

      3 months is little more than a holiday, I’d like to see the look on an insurance company’s face if you claimed long-term after 3 months where you hadn’t even started to pay premiums. A joke. As always.
      And the government tops up money for people in work because it is itself forcing up property costs via Help to Buy and Housing benefit to a level where it has to subsidise wages. Rather like a snake eating it’s tail.

    2. Cliff. Wokingham
      November 13, 2014


      I suspect the answer to your question is socialism! The state and EU just redistribute the wealth via benefits and credits. The cost of living in our country is too high because too much of our GDP goes to the state to waste.

      You are right about child benefit in the 1950s and 1960s. It was only brought in because Nanny couldn’t trust men to hand over the tax relief they got for having kids to the wife, for the benefit of the child. Back then, and indeed even today, I can not see the reason for paying people to have kids.

      I think the old policy of “Nothing for the first born” was a good policy and I would suggest the idea of giving child benefit to a maximum of two children is desireable…..,That is if we really must keep paying people to reproduce at all.

      The head of John Lewis, according to the state’s broadcaster yesterday, said that there are too many basic, low skilled jobs in this country and not enough high skilled, highly paid jobs…..He even said that these basic jobs only required the educational standard of a twelve year old. Anyone employed in a basic job, cannot afford to live in the UK.

      I noticed last night that we will be getting new “bullet” trains built in Japan for FGW to use in this area…..It annoys me that firstly, we closed our train building companies and secondly, that we are buying them from Japan; we should be making them ourselves using our own people.

      Industry have stated that there is a skills shortage in this country so, it begs the question why are they not training staff rather than importing cheap workers from overseads?

      1. David
        November 13, 2014

        Yes, Cliff. I too feel very annoyed at the FGW trains being built in Japan. If Britain can’t build its own rolling stock after all our history of providing railways to the world then it is a tragedy. There are many small scale engineering companies within our shores, but big business would rather close down facilities and take short term profit from sale of land. Ho hum.

      2. Anonymous
        November 13, 2014


        New tube trains for TFL have been designed and are being put out for tender for build.

        That won’t go to Britain either.

        Tories cut subsidies to skilled British jobs in the ’80s and now Tories subsidise foreign unskilled workers to undercut British workers at home.

        Record levels of immigration of this sort on their watch.

        What else are we to infer from these actions than that they are not on our side, as Mr Carswell said ?

    3. behindthefrogs
      November 13, 2014

      The rules about paying benefits for spouses and children not resident in the UK need to be carefully evaluated. They should never be higher than the benefit that would be paid had the claimant been working in the country where their family is resident.

      1. Tad Davison
        November 14, 2014

        That could have come straight from Nick Clegg. It’s great to be generous with other people’s money. I can think of a lot of good causes and worthy people right here at home without being an international philanthropist. This seemingly inexhaustible supply of British tax-payer’s money is a myth.


  26. John E
    November 13, 2014

    How does the recent ECJ ruling help? I think they said there is no requirement to pay universal benefits to people who come here solely to claim benefits? That seems helpful and should be acted on immediately.
    Personally I can see no reason for us to pay any benefits to people who have never worked here or been educated here. That surely was never the intention of the freedom of labour principle. And given the ECJ case was one involving Germany I would imagine our interests are aligned so change should be easy to accomplish.

  27. majorfrustration
    November 13, 2014

    Some form of health insurance would be good – say covering their first three years.

  28. Colin Hart
    November 13, 2014

    There should be no entitlement to Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit where dependents are not resident in the UK.

    I told my local plumber his Polish competitors were getting this and he said he’d be voting UKIP now.

    If the current entitlement is enshrined in some EU Treaty none of us (plebs, that is) ever voted for, tough. That is precisely why we need a wholesale renegotiation.

  29. Martyn G
    November 13, 2014

    Well and good so far as it goes but our borders are so porous and our immigration control system is so clearly not fit for purpose that almost anyone can get into the country and claim to be either a job-seeker or refugee.
    Then there are so many ways once into the country of disappearing under the radar that no one actually knows the true numbers and cost situation and until these key issues are resolved we will continue to suck in large numbers of additional people.
    To my mind there needs to be a clear re-definition of those wishing to or entering the country viz: (1) tourists on an open length visit entitled only to access to the NHS (ii) those who can provide evidence of employment within the UK before being allowed to enter enter the country and (iii) refugees who should be entitled only to food, accommodation and health support until their status is defined and nothing else (e.g. money). The latter need of course to be effectively contained, otherwise like so many others have already done so, they will disappear under the radar and pop up elsewhere with perhaps having obtained a NI number – another aspect which needs resolution as it appears to be far too easy to obtain an NI number in all sorts of devious ways.
    Despite the measures taken so far by this government (and welcomed by ordinary folk) the UK remains a honey-pot to so-called job seekers, benefit tourists and refugees which, bearing in mind the awful strain placed on our infrastructure (parts of which are already crumbling), must be resolutely constrained.

  30. Roy Grainger
    November 13, 2014

    “As of 1 July 2014, jobseekers arriving in the UK need to live in the country for three months in order to claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for their families too.”

    Of course their children don’t need to live in the country for Child Benefit to be claimed.

    You are using a very narrow definition of “benefits” here – all EU migrants, whether working or not, are able to put their children free of charge into UK state schools and use the NHS free of charge. etc ed

  31. yulwaymartyn
    November 13, 2014

    In the light of these changes and Mr Cameron’s speech later this year outlining further restrictions I would then like to see what actions all the other EU member states will take in respect of the British living in their countries.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 13, 2014

      Perhaps we could also get a breakdown of how many of those Brits who live abroad have retired there, rather than go there to work. Personally, I can’t see many youngsters from the UK wanting to go to places like Spain or Greece to find employment.


      1. yulwaymartyn
        November 13, 2014

        Oh I think you will find many Brits studying and working in the EU member states. Especially Spain because of the cheap housing costs. Tuition fees at Lisbon university (a place near to my heart) start at EUR 1250 per annum. and Phd courses are only EUR 3000 per annum.. This compared to the ludicrous £9000 per annum in the UK and the even more ludicrous housing costs. Students I know in Lisbon are renting flats for EUR 600 per month.

        1. Tad Davison
          November 14, 2014

          Attracting the brightest and the best is beneficial to whichever country – that’s a given. But opening the doors to just anybody, including unskilled workers who haven’t a job to go to, or a place in education, is just madness. The UK’s infrastructure is creaking under the strain of immigration, and we are effectively being penalised for the success of our economy, where less successful economies can off-load their surplus workforce in this direction.

          Cheap properties might well be available in places like Spain and Portugal, given the disastrous crash in their respective housing markets, but have you ever seen how many immigrants to the UK are now sleeping rough in cardboard boxes under bridges and in doorways?

          And are you really suggesting that if the UK adopted a sensible immigration policy and took in only those whose skills we could not source in this country, that all other member states would then kick out the Brits who were making a valuable contribution there?

          That would be nonsensical and even more damaging to their already faltering economies.


        2. Mark
          November 15, 2014

          There are not many students from the UK who study abroad. The most recent ONS data record just 7,000 British and 15,000 non-British emigrating to study abroad anywhere in the world. The non-British will include those who came here for a first degree going elsewhere for postgraduate study. That compares with some 38,000 EU and 124,000 non EU students arriving here to study.

    2. bigneil
      November 13, 2014

      Mr Cameron’s speech will undoubtedly be full of “promises” “pledges” ” IF a conservative govt has a majority” “IF he is Leader” “guarantees” “undertakings” and whatever else his Thesaurus can come up with -and all of it will have the worth of all the promises and weasel words he has already used for the last 4 and half years. He will do -and achieve -nothing – he has waved them all in to a free life, “nothing to pay – come on in – ALL for free on the UK taxpayer”. Nation destruction well underway Brussels -keep my seat warm -love Dave.

  32. DaveM
    November 13, 2014

    Appreciate benefit tourism winds people up. But in response to the lot who constantly remind us that “most come to work not to scrounge”:

    They lower wages, they deny young people temporary jobs in unskilled labour, they undercut our workmen then (some might ed)carry out sub standard work (not a 100% rule, but building standards have dropped where (some ed) workmen are involved). they use housing, public services, etc etc etc., they tax thier cars abroad, they send benefits back to their home countries.

    Foreign benefits tourists are the worst of the worst, but please don’t let this policy become another smoke and mirror attempt by the PM to pull the wool over our eyes without mentioning the cheap labour issue.

  33. Alan Wheatley
    November 13, 2014

    As to migration, I start from a general proposition: an island nation of about 63M people should be self-sustaining as to its population. Indeed, generally there is no need for migration to achieve growth and prosperity.

    Every time I hear the argument put as to the general necessity for immigration and the benefit we get from immigrants I think of the consequential argument, never put, as to the insult made against those of us who are already here and deemed inadequate. With 2M unemployed there is no shortage of labour. We are told of a skills shortage, but that is a failure of previous governance that has produced the people with the wrong skills. We are currently being told our productivity is woeful, in which case more people can not be the long-term solution, even if immigrants do have the the missing skills for that still leaves us with those with the wrong skills unemployed.

    That is the general picture.

    There are, of course, specific circumstances where we do need migrants, but that should be the exception.

    We are told the UK has benefitted from immigration. This is true. But it does not follow that what happened in the past at a rate and in a manner compatible with those times is proof of the need for different rates in a different manner in these times.

    1. yulwaymartyn
      November 13, 2014

      I think the taboo is that there are 2m people in this country who will never work. They are the forgotten, the mentally ill, physically ill etc. Or so uneducated that no reasonable employer could be expected to take them. They are the wholly indadequate. Against this a migrant worker, educated and keen to work will always win the day. We have all seen it.

  34. Ian wragg
    November 13, 2014

    It looks like earlier comments have vanished.

  35. Mark
    November 13, 2014

    I recently provided a breakdown of migration statistics here that showed that EU migration “looking for work” had soared to 56,000, compared with 80,000 coming to take up a job they had secured (which might include “self employed”). It is to be hoped that this figure will now fall back sharply – it far exceeds the numbers of British returning to the UK at the end of a contract or period of study abroad who return to find a new job (17,000). However, it still leaves substantial numbers coming in from the EU for work – net EU migration for work related reasons has soared from 26,000 in 2004 to 97,000.

    This still leaves overall immigration at high levels, dominated by students , two thirds of whom have then stayed on legally or illegally. Perhaps the change from large numbers coming from India /Pakistan – many discovered to be bogus during Grayling’s purge of sham colleges – to large numbers coming from China in the past couple of years will see more return to their country at the end of their studies in future years, and fewer illegal overstayers.

    It would be better still if more of our own students and younger people were sufficiently well educated and/or motivated to take on the roles that foreigners come to fill. Teaching the Chinese technological and business skills that they use to develop their own economy and export to us things that once we made for ourselves seems an odd choice.

  36. Angry of SE1
    November 13, 2014

    As I understand it, the problem is not JSA but in work benefits claimed by european migrants. Latest figures show that amoung European migrants the proportion of those claiming in work benefits is proportionately many times that of the domestic population.

    In work benefits can be claimed by big issue sellers and the like, so they are not even supporting real jobs.

    The “success” you detail is a smokescreen to give the impression of real progress, when other benefits are where european migrants cost most.

  37. Mark
    November 13, 2014

    N.B. I note that the new definitions for Balance of Payments statistics now exclude any attempt at assessing migrant remittances to their home countries (presumably they now hide in the residual error on a net basis). This purposeful statistical oversight will mean that the economic benefit of immigration will be greatly overstated by those who pretend to analyse such things. With much higher levels of migrant populations generally, such flows are surely becoming more, not less, important.

    1. Mark
      November 13, 2014

      I have found some World Bank data for 2012 that shows remittances abroad by those in the UK were estimated at some $23.6bn – hardly a sum that can be just ignored.

  38. Antisthenes
    November 13, 2014

    The EU is protectionist so there is not even a common market that is truly free or encourages real competition. The EU does not have democratic legitimacy as it is governed by unelected officials and the EU parliament is a remote body that is not in reality accountable to EU Citizens. The EU is an unnecessary and highly expensive layer of government that dictates to it’s member states instead of facilitating mutually beneficial agreements between them. The EU dictatorship subsumes national sovereignties where as it should be the servant of those sovereignties (but then all public bodies start out serving the public only very quickly reversing that so that in the end the public serve them).

    Unless these deficits are properly addressed then the UK would be better off out.

  39. A different Simon
    November 13, 2014

    Those Briton’s who did the jobs at the bottom of the food chain have had their jobs taken by overqualified often younger immigrants .

    The immigrant workers might not be claiming many benefits but the people they are displacing have to .

    Most people who come here aren’t benefits seekers but are looking to displace the job of a Briton – often a low wage Briton who may be unable to do any other type of job .

  40. David
    November 13, 2014

    1) Migrants should not have access to benefits for the first x years apart from child benefit if they earn more than £y p.a.
    2) Migrants who have a criminal record should not be allowed to come here, if they lie to get a visa then they should face prosecution and in the case that serious crimes are covered up they should be imprisoned.
    3) Migrants who support extreme political positions e.g. the dictatorship of one part of society, killing people who change their religion should not be allowed to stay here – even if their lives are in danger were they to be expelled this principle would have dealt with Abu Qatada a lot quicker.
    4) Migrants should only be allowed to get British citizenship if a) they have a clean criminal record , b) they endorse freedom of conscience including the right to change religion c) pay their way) and d) declare that they are not wanted for a crime anywhere in the world
    5)Migrants who lied to get British citizenship (I know someone who did so) should lose it and face criminal sanctions, including losing any property or pension they have obtained whilst a British citizen – crime must not pay. This will help stop war criminals coming here and get a British passport.

  41. The Prangwizard
    November 13, 2014

    Whilst moving in the right direction, all this is no more than tinkering, and depends a very great deal on how firmly the rules are applied. I suspect they make next to no difference. They are I imagine easy to get around.

    After 3 months, any EU migrant claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will have a ‘genuine prospect of work’ test. If they don’t have an imminent job offer, they could lose their benefits and right to reside in the UK as a jobseeker.

    They ‘could lose..’, not ‘will lose’. How many do lose benefits, and ‘all benefits’ I wonder, and if they lose the right to stay what action is taken? Answers on a postcard.

  42. stred
    November 13, 2014

    Few British people would have any objection to a single person coming from a European neighbour or the Commonwealth, with ability in English and taking a job at normal wages. In fact it is quite difficult for foreign friends or partners of a British person to arrive and do so. The first is the requirement for a British bank account in order to receive pay and get a job. But first they have to show proof of residence by statutory bills, when they do not have a permanent residence of their own. Many British do the same when visiting EU and other countries for a period. It should be possible to make banking regulations more reasonable, say by proof of residence in their home address abroad + ID. On the other hand, asylum seekers are handed an allowance and given accommodation.

  43. BobE
    November 13, 2014

    Child benefits should only be paid for children that are resident in the UK.

  44. Dennis
    November 13, 2014

    “If they don’t have an imminent job offer, they could lose their benefits and right to reside in the UK as a jobseeker.”

    Is ‘could’ the operative word?

  45. Robert Taggart
    November 13, 2014

    NO foreigner should be allowed access to any Benefits until they become naturalised.
    Once that becomes the case Blighty should put out the message loud and clear.
    Besides, ‘charity’ begins at home – all the more for us homegrown scroungers !

    November 13, 2014

    To test whether these measures would be acceptable purely from a financial perspective: consider the UK an insurance company. Which insurance companies pay out money in advance of contributions? How many companies, internationally, even EU companies would find these UK Benefit measures acceptable in the slightest?

  47. Terry
    November 13, 2014

    Are the Government and the Whitehall Mandarins that run them, so out of touch with the real world?

    para left out ed
    And why should any foreigner who arrives here, be entitled to JSA just because they arrived here. Anyone can say they are looking for work and then be paid for three months for doing nothing. Then all they need to do, is leave and camp out in Calais then return the following month to start the process again.

    Furthermore and very importantly, just how many civil servants are there to Stress Test the thousands of applicants? If it takes an hour per Job Seeker we would need thousands of extra staff to carry out the questioning. Where will they come from or will there be another expanding department within the Whitehall over-bloated behemoth? More debt to add to the deficit, then.

    I note there is no mention of Income Support. Will these immigrants be entitled to that specific benefit when the JSA is stopped? Or will they receive Food Stamps in lieu?

    This weak, half-hearted attempt to stop the rot is exactly what many voters are regularly seeing from this Government. Spin, smoke and mirrors. All talk and no delivery. AGAIN!
    These measures will NOT stop the rot. Whitehall does not and never will, understand the minds of the poor and deprived.

    The ONLY answer is to halt ALL benefits to ALL immigrants until they have paid into the Welfare State for an uninterrupted minimum of 5 years. Britain is no longer great and we can no longer afford to be the World’s main charity.
    Let the ultra rich Chinese and the Russians take on that burden now. We’ve already done enough.
    Without doubt, this country needs to cut back, heavily, on it’s internationally renown soft, compassionate and dumb image, if we are to survive economic collapse and bankruptcy over the next 20 years. For the UK are currently world leaders in total National debt.

  48. fedupsouthener
    November 13, 2014

    There should be no benefits payable at all for the first 2 years unless they are working. When we lived in Spain we were only entitled to free health care based on full NI contributions for 2 years and after that we had to either be working or go private to get health care. We were allowed NO benefits at all and had to provide our own housing. We are too generous and this is why people want to come here. Added to which they know there isn’t much chance of being thrown out if they don’t comply with the rules. This is what the British people are sick of. Having to prop up people from other countries while they get low wages, high energy prices, high property prices, high rents, full up dentists, no appointments with doctors and long waiting lists for the schools of their choice and hospital treatment. What did our parents work for? They set this country up only to give it away to the EU. We are at the beck and call of Germany. We need our country back and we need to be able to fully govern our country. My husband is self employed. His wages have not risen in 10 years and he has just been told a load of new regulations have been imposed by the EU. How much more bureaucracy do we have to put up with from Brussels? The whole system is unfair against British citizens and this is why people are going over to UKIP.

  49. miami.mode
    November 13, 2014

    If I leave my job voluntarily it states on the website that my local Jobs and Benefit Office can delay my Jobseekers allowance for up to 26 weeks.

    You claim that from 1 January 2014 all EEA jobseekers have to wait 3 months before they can claim income-based JSA. How are you able to verify their income prior to arriving in the UK and does this mean that it is assumed none have left a job voluntarily or are they twice as well off as the indigenous population?

  50. lojolondon
    November 13, 2014

    John, all sounds very good in theory, but the UK is still a massively soft touch – just look at the people in Calais!!

    For example, have you heard of the “Big Issue” loophole? – Apparently the person gets onto the Big Issue vendors list, starts effectively begging, but it counts as a job and they start to qualify for all benefits.

  51. David
    November 13, 2014

    The Government keeps banging on about out of work benefits but the biggest scandal is in work benefits that subsidise EU migrants that take low paid jobs..

    1. A different Simon
      November 14, 2014

      Couldn’t agree more David ,

      The immigrant workers are often younger , fresher , over qualified and unencumbered by kids .

      That doesn’t help Britons who used to rely on those low paid jobs or youngsters who are trying to get started .

  52. Michael
    November 13, 2014

    Immigration is far too high and is putting enormous pressure on housing, schools, health and other public services apart from changing the very nature of some of our major cities .

    The country, particularly Southern England, is grossly overcrowded.

    Free movement of labour across the EU is exacerbating this problem and cannot stay a non-negotiable feature of the EU if the problem is to be resolved.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2014

      It’s not free movement of “labour”, it’s free movement of “persons” in general.

  53. Richard
    November 13, 2014

    If England remains a member of the EU then its only hope to control and limit immigration will be to persuade the EU to adopt a policy of harmonising population density.

    England already has the highest population density in Europe of any major European country.

  54. CdBrux
    November 13, 2014

    When I moved to work in Brussels (internal promotion within the company I then worked for) I was required to provide proof of employment as part of registering to live in the local community (and pay taxes, get services etc…). Something similar should be done in UK if possible. Then you are sure people are at least moving for a job of some description. Companies found abusing the system should be open to heavy fines.

    To me it’s essential to preserve free movement of people to take up work, it benefits the UK. We just need to find a way to do that without excess paperwork. We also need to retain the ability for UK welfare to look after those, at least for a limited time, who come but later are made redundant, but certainly not to pay any welfare to those not even living in the country.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2014

      Your ideas seem very confused and self-contradictory.

      1. CdBrux
        November 14, 2014

        No, people move for jobs is fine, for benefits is not. If you work in a country for a period of time then you should be allowed at least for some time, access to unemployment benefit should you have the misfortune to lose your job

  55. Richard
    November 13, 2014

    I see no chance that the UK will be able to change the EU rules on the free movement of 485m+ people (expanded to include Turkey and all countries between the Atlantic and the Urals if Mr. Cameron has his way).

    So either the UK will have to leave the EU or abolish completely our free-at-the-point-of-delivery NHS (or rather IHS) and our generous non-contributory unemployment and in-work benefits.

    At the very least non-UK nationals should not be receiving any non-contributory benefits.

  56. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2014

    Actually I don’t think I have ever written about this, except to point out that immigrants getting social security benefits once they are here is very much a secondary issue and in importance a very long way behind the primary issue of our supposedly democratic government allowing and encouraging literally millions of immigrants to come here in the first place, despite knowing perfectly well that this policy of mass immigration is directly contrary to the wishes of the great majority of the citizens of this country.

  57. M Davis
    November 13, 2014

    Instead of bending over backwards to give immigrants any Benefits, the Government should be looking after the most vulnerable, indigenous people of this Country, most of whom have paid many years of contributions into this Country and who are now being treated like criminals because they are not fit for work, by the DWPs’ American private Company ATOS, soon to be Maximus, another American private Company, both profit-making Companies, of course. IDSs’ welfare reforms disgust me!

  58. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2014

    I note that the Tory party, and others who should know better, are now assiduously trying to propagate a myth that the EU’s central principle of “freedom of movement” actually relates only “workers”.

    The utter falsity of that proposition is easily confirmed by doing simple word searches in the EU treaties, which are here:

    and can easily be searched by pressing “Ctrl” and “F” together and entering the search term into the “Find” box.

    The references to freedom of movement are primarily to the freedom of movement of “persons”, starting with the preamble to the Treaty on European Union:

    “RESOLVED to facilitate the free movement of persons, while ensuring the safety and security of their peoples, by establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”

    and so on throughout the text:

    “The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime.”


    “The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.”

    and so on; with that last paragraph ultimately going back to provisions of the 1957 Treaty of Rome to establish the European Economic Community, Article 3(c):

    “the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”.

    Where the EU treaties do make specific references to “workers” as just one category of “persons”, those who are paid employees, it is mostly to ensure protection of their rights not to restrict them.

  59. Qubus
    November 13, 2014

    But is it still true that someone can come to the UK, claim to be self-employed, when all this entails is selling magazines at the side of the road, and thus be able to claim full benefits?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2014

      Yes even if they only earn a trivial sum for a few odd jobs or a few ebay sales.

  60. Ian
    November 13, 2014

    The recent ECJ ruling only clarifies existing law relating to freedom of movement. Ie foreign nationals who are in another country solely to obtain benefits, or who come to that country looking for a job (aka benefit tourists), are not entitled to certain non- contributory benefits.
    This has been law since 2004 under the Freedom of Movement Directive 2004/38. The Directive statest that no benefit is due for the first 3 months of residence, and that for residences of 3 months and 5 years, individuals must have sufficient resources of their own.
    In other words there has never been a requirement to pay non-contributory social benefit. The issue has been with our governments, since 2004 and maybe earlier, in their complete failure to enforce this – Consider how much that has cost the taxpayer!

  61. Kenneth R Moore
    November 13, 2014

    3 months-why such a triflingly small amount of time?. Mr Cameron needs to refuse to pay in work benefits. Full stop.

    This is just another sticking plaster solution to a problem that should not exist. The answer is to have a contributions based benefit system.
    How long before agencys spring up offering immigrants help and coaching to pass the ‘Habitual Residence test’. I can almost guarantee it will not be fair to taxpayers and will be widely abused.
    What about those like me that cannot see the logic of allowing ‘jobseekers’ into the country who do not have a firm offer of a reasonably well paid job. Haven’t we enough ‘jobseekers’ here already.
    If employers are having trouble filling vacancy’s they should pay a little more…not advertise in the Eu and expect taxpayers to subsidise them.
    Secondly why is the Uk government offering to subsidise the work of migrants with tax credits?. How is this a good deal for the taxpayer if a migrant is paid the minimum wage and thus pays minimal tax ..and then gets their income topped up with tax credits and child benefits ?. This is a net loss to the economy. It’s a great deal for the migrant who is entitled to free NHS care, school meals, education.
    Dr Redwood has already alluded to revenue from additional jobs being eradicated by increases in in work benefits – this will do little to change this situation.

  62. Paul
    November 13, 2014

    We should only let in people who are exceptionally skilled and talented (Tier 1). By all means, if a low skilled EU worker wants to come here and work as a waiter, cleaner or serve coffee for a few months then they can but it should be restricted. Our own unemployed can do the low skilled jobs – if they refuse then they lose all benefits, simple as that. We are a small overcrowded island with real problems and current immigration levels only add to our woes.

  63. Peter A
    November 13, 2014

    Access to jobs and benefits are a small part of the problem and it is good to see some progress.

    However, robust reform of benefits for UK nationals is just as important:

    What is the job centre doing?

    1. DaveM
      November 13, 2014

      Nothing. The Job Centre just hands out benefits and tells people to go online to look for work. My wife was nearly crying with frustration when she was looking for a job in that ridiculous white elephant.

  64. English Pensioner
    November 13, 2014

    Can I go to, say, France, Spain or Germany and claim benefits whilst I’m looking for a job for three months? It would seem a good way of getting a cheap holiday in Spain, sitting on a sunny beach with the benefit money coming in to pay for my drinks!

    1. Mondeo Man
      November 13, 2014

      You can take UK benefits with you. Seriously.

  65. Mondeo Man
    November 13, 2014

    There should be no benefits for newly arrived job seekers.

    There should be no benefits for anyone not born here who hasn’t paid enough tax. If there is no work for them then it is an indication that it is time to go home.

    The alternative is madness – the whole world can come here for a life on benefits after a short, failed, foray into ‘work’. What happens during the next down turn when there are many more people here to become unemployed ?

    It is utterly bonkers that a Big Issue seller can get an NI number and claim more than someone in full time work. Are we so successful a country that we now have to import Big Issue sellers ?

    There should be no in-work benefits for anyone. A proper living wage for work would mean lower taxation. If there is a Laffer curve which says lower tax means more revenue then there must be a similar curve stating that better wages = lower welfare.

    People would be more accepting of a harsh benefit regime if British people weren’t forced to compete in a race-to-the-bottom on wages with newcomers at the same time. Otherwise going on the sick or being ‘unemployable’ is the pragmatic thing to do – getting a job can be stupid and is seen as such in some communities.

    As it is British businesses are subsidised to take in ‘cheap’ foreign labour and ignore indigenous workers.

    “But the economy would collapse without mass immigration”


    We would manage perfectly well without coffee outlets and sandwich factories. In fact we’d probably be better off without them. It is one thing creating non-jobs for our own people – but importing people to fill non-jobs (and paying them top-ups to do so) is the road to ruin and we see it with the massive benefit commitment and the stubborn national debt as well as the housing, public services and infrastructure crises.

    I don’t buy the new welfare measures. They are still far too soft and bound to be full of loopholes. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful but the situation is still insane

    If people can’t exist without subsidy then it’s a good indication that they’re not needed here in the first place.

    1. Mondeo Man
      November 13, 2014

      “There should be no benefits for newly arrived job seekers.”

      By ‘newly arrived’ I mean a lot longer than three months.

      – No in-work benefits

      – Out of work benefits realistically commensurate with tax paid and limited at that

      We simply cannot afford to import people who are not skilled enough to get a job that pays tax.

      Our biggest problem is not actually the benefits system but that we have no way of selecting. the people who can come here. In many ways the welfare issue distracts from this crucial point and is secondary to the governing class’s worst abrogation of responsibility to its people and country.

      1. Qubus
        November 14, 2014

        The problem is that, on the whole, the political class don’t have the guts to do anything about it. They no that they would not be re-elected. What did Bismark say: politics is the art of the possible.

  66. Robin Davies
    November 13, 2014

    In all the talk about restricting immigration surely there is a difference between long-time residents of European Union members (including Poles etc.) and illegals from Libya, Somalia etc who should never have been able to get into the EU in the first place if the Mediterranean borders had been properly policed. The correct action for the French in Calais is therefore to return them to whereever they entered not to set up a camp for them hoping they will eventually go by climbing into Britain-bound lorries. Of course if they regard Britain as an El Dorado because of our benefits system this is something which should have been tackled long ago; doing so would have the additional merit of helping get to grips with our welfare bill.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2014

      Yes, there is a difference.

      The Poles who have come here have done so not only on the basis of rights freely granted to them by our Parliament and government but effectively with a positive invitation to come here having been issued by our own politicians, while the others have come here with the connivance of foreign governments on the basis that they can be allowed into those foreign countries because it is understood that they are only passing through on their way to our country. That shows the kind of friends that we have in the EU, and why it is so stupid to let them rule us.

    November 13, 2014

    These benefits are far superior to those on offer by British Trades Unions to their paying members.
    Entitlement to a number of their benefits have a membership duration and contribution requirement. These Trades Union financial rules seem in stark contrast to their wishy-washy Marxist head-banging

  68. Iain Gill
    November 13, 2014

    It’s not just benefits, its access to free healthcare, and free schooling for the children. When you know what my dad was left to die by the NHS after having paid into the system his entire adult life. And you know what the decent schools are already full.
    It’s not just money it’s also being free to bring a non EC partner into this country in circumstances when a Brit could not.
    And don’t forget those EU treaties that commit us to allowing non EU immigration like the EU/India (inappropriately named because it’s nothing of the sort) “free trade” deal
    Not to mention the Brits being displaced from the jobs market you are not costing into these equations, or the lack of incentive to train Brits or pay reasonable rates to employers.
    So a lot missing before you have a story anyone’s going to vote for.

  69. John Robertson
    November 13, 2014

    The City of London if you make estimates for income tax and vat on top of the company receipts would get close to the cost of the NHS. It’s under attack from the EU, that is far more important than the debate on saving £20m quid or what ever it is and yes it does need to be saved. So I would want assurances on London being able to operate as an international hub not under attack from Brussels.

    On immigration I think if we had time we could find research perhaps that indicated a level that can put too much strain on the collective services. When it gets to X level we should have the means to choose where immigration is from. We are forced to take economically low providers from EU in favour of say an American derivatives expert or an Australian chief engineer that would benefit our country more. I’d like a cap of free EU movement so keep the principle but reach a certain number parliament decides and we can take the expertise from where it is in the world. London is a global city it can’t be shackled to just employing so many from the EU when there is better elsewhere.

  70. margaret brandreth-j
    November 13, 2014

    Iam looking forward to going to live in Germany so I do not need to work and get all their state benefits.I wonder if there is a good looking German chap who will marry me or at least pretend. I could have dual citizenship ( if I needed to being European ) and i feel assured Mrs Merkel would look after me in the same manner as the Germans who have resided and worked hard in their country for 50 years or more. What fantastic people they are.

  71. Javelin
    November 14, 2014

    Too weak and watery – they beg for faith.

  72. Lindsay McDougall
    November 16, 2014

    The highest bar we could set is to refuse to pay any benefit to any citizen of any EU Member State until they have contributed £10,000 in employee NI to the UK.

    Would that be legal?

    Would it give the degree of control over immigration levels that we wish to have?

    What is the Government’s position on this in renegtiations?

  73. John G-D
    November 21, 2014

    It seems clear that mass immigration as engineered by Labour, and on which the Tories were disgracefully silent, was designed, in part, to deliver Socialist voters.

    It is hard not to draw the conc;lusion – faced with the obvious wooing of minority groups – that the present leader of the Tory Party similarly has an eye on ethnic and non-indigenous votes.

    The – unsurprising – bucking of the UKIP trend in Metropolitan London was in no small part due to the abnormally high migrant population.

    It would not be unreasonable for migrants to this country to be unable to vote until they have fulfilled at least 5 years of lawful residency.

    Perhaps then, politicians might concentrate on representing the views of the indigenous population.

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