Does the EU need free movement of people?


The free movement of workers was a central plank in the original EU idea. It is now at the base of much of the discontent and antagonism towards the EU manifest in big minority votes for anti EU parties in many parts of the region.

There are three different elements to free movement. The first is the deep unpopularity of free movement for the small minority of crooks, terrorists and criminals that attract considerable attention. It is bad enough for a country to have its own home grown crooks and criminals, but even worse if you have to allow them in from other places without sensible border controls to tackle the issue. Many people in the UK want the UK government to have more control over our borders, and to have our own criminal justice powers to deal with cross border crime issues as well as with home grown.

The second is the widespread opposition to benefit tourists. The original idea was the free movement of workers. Few think someone should be able to travel around the EU to find the parts of the region that offer the highest benefits for being out of work and then settle down to a life of living off the state. Surely the EU countries could come to an agreement that benefit tourism is banned?

There remains the related issue of workers moving to countries with the most generous benefit top ups in employment. That too is against the spirit of the free movement of workers. A member state which has to pay the bills for subsidised housing or top up benefits should be free to make its own rules of whether it wishes migrant workers to qualify or not. If it has a skills and labour shortage it may wish to be generous. If it has a lot of home unemployed it may not wish to offer migrants such generous terms.

The third is the issue of migrant labour under cutting home employees. This has become an issue since a number of countries with much lower wages joined the EU. Free movement of workers is easier to  manage and produces less mobility where a group of relatively rich countries with high employment levels form a grouping. As soon as you allow low wage countries in, or countries in the area develop very high unemployment levels, then rates of pay for migrants becomes an issue with established workforces. The EU partially recognised this by allowing countries to delay opening their labour markets to new entrant countries – a freedom the Labour government did not use in the UK. The next development could  be to have restricted  opening of the wider employment markets, geared to levels of average earnings in their own countries.



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  1. Old Albion
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    No. Nor does the (dis)UK need the EU.

    • Hope
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Cameron cannot control the quality of quantity of people coming here from the EU. People with convictions freely enter the country to live. Cameron claimed recently that the opt in for the EU arrest warrant was to prevent terrorism, what utter rubbish.

      I note Clarke spoke in contrast to Cameron’s stance on the he appointment of Junker. Still in office without port folio.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      “Many people in the UK want the UK government to have more control over our borders,”

      Actually 70% of people according to an ONS survey commissioned by channel 5 recently. So that’s MOST people in the UK want the UK government to have more control over our borders. I expect doorstep canvassing by MPs reflects this in the run up to elections so should come as no surprise to them but it remains a taboo subject.

      Whatever the ‘debate’ about free movement of people (we don’t actually have one because we aren’t allowed) it has caused disharmony in previously settled and harmonious countries – as shown by the rise of the ‘minority’ anti EU parties. So is it fair to cause such disharmony and unhappiness in settled countries even if it is among ‘minorities’ (which the polls show it isn’t) ? After all, Dr Redwood tells us that, as an MP, he frequently has to go against manifesto pledges in order to satisfy minorities. Some minorities are more equal than others, it would seem. In terms of those who would like control on immigration I only use the word ‘minority’ to be consistent with the fact that our host does.

      The alleged ‘minority’ in our country who voted for anti EU parties in the UK during the EU elections. Does this count those who voted for the Tory party too seeing as they were enticed by its pledge of a referendum ?

      Are they recognised as anti EU ? It would seem not. So already we see how pointless voting Tory is and that their vote is automatically counted as pro EU and a mandate for more EU immigration.

      • APL
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        Anon: “So that’s MOST people in the UK want the UK government to have more control over our borders.”

        And 50% of the rest, are immigrants themselves, so are likely to be more permissive about restricting immigration to the land of welfare and subsidised housing.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      @Old Albion: Does that also include the return of all the UK ex-pats from all points within the EU, an elephant the europhobes are very quite about, and many if not all would be fully entitled to state benefits as any other UK citizen.

      Also, considering the number of British pensioners who are residing in areas such as the Spanish Costa’s for example, their return to a colder, wetter, climate could mean that the NHS might well become quickly swamped with bed-blocking illnesses and disabilities.

      There are three strands to any free movement of people;

      1). Visa free travel.
      2). The right to also settle.
      3). The right to work (including receiving work related benefits).

      Each pose their own individual problems whether in or outside of the “EU” [1], non have a single blanket answer (never mind a two letter answer…), but almost all would support the first, many will support the second, it is the third that causes the problems, I hope that when you say “No” you are referring only to the third?

      [1] just as many of us travelled around western Europe before the UK became a member of the EEC

      • Hope
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        Utter rubbish. What an unsubstantiated load of guff. The NHS is swamped because of mass immigration and an artificial increase in population brought about by the same. There would be fewer expats than the number of immigrants. Ex pats always have the right to return in any event and perhaps should be taken into the equation. Then there is the issue that benefits are already sent abroad, in some cases to people who have never set foot in the country or contributed in any way!

        • Jerry
          Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          @Hope: “Utter rubbish. What an unsubstantiated load of guff.”

          Then you will have no problem in citing the actual number of UK expats living in the EU, otherwise who else is also talking a load of unsubstantiated guf?! – ho-hum…

          • Timaction
            Posted June 28, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

            Its about 2 million. The vast majority in Spain and France. The next is Cyprus, small numbers in Germany. The vast majority are retired and NO burden to the indigenous population. They do not undercut the local wages or act as a drain on local public services. However, I read that Spain has taken action to ensure that foreign patients are charged for their medical services but I believe that is being challenged by your beloved EU.
            The numbers moving to the A8 (2004) accession Countries are so small as can be ignored. So who gets the good deal here?
            Politicians talk about national interest but distort who is the beneficiary. Big business should be ignored. The test should be is it in the interest of English or other UK nationals for mass migration? Answer NO by any measure.
            Immigrants have to earn substantial wages before they contribute to the tax base. Especially those with children.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            @Timeaction: “Its about 2 million.”

            I see no citation, surely the HO or FCO will have such figures? (note to self…)

            Two million seems rather low, considering the many British families, not forgetting the many working are people in other EU member states.

            Also, do remember that a lot of expats are elderly, so are more likely to be a drain on NHS resources, not just cash flows as they are anyway, that is why I refereed “bed-blocking” in my original comment. 2m elderly needing NHS care will be far more of a burden than twice, three, four time the number of economic migrants (possibly paying UK taxes) who are not using the NHS beyond the odd visit to a doctor.

            @Timeaction: “However, I read that Spain has taken action to ensure that foreign patients are charged for their medical services but I believe that is being challenged by your beloved EU.”

            I hear, from family and friends living in Spain, that they are requiring either proof of residence (thus paying local Spanish taxes etc.) or the correct paperwork such as the DWP S1 form etc.

            @Timeaction: “Immigrants have to earn substantial wages before they contribute to the tax base. Especially those with children.”

            Correct, but only if you are talking about personal taxation, many will have motor cars and thus pay fuel and VED, all will be paying VAT, then there is the effect of their labours and the money (thus tax paid) by the company they work for.

            I’m not supporting either side in this, I’m calling for a open and frank debate on the possible effects of working age and -especially- elderly expats being all but forced to return the the UK should bilateral EU agreements start to unravel upon a Brexit. These people might well return with nothing but for what they can carry on the aircraft or fit in their car. It is an elephant in the room, how ever much UKIP try and avoid the issue.

          • Timactionth
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

            Give it up Jerry. Immigrants get old too. Its like a giant Pozi scheme. You forget most British people emigrate highly qualified with their asserts to other more democratic and dynamic parts of the globe. You know where and are just peddling EU propaganda and myths. See reports today of more benefits in London of our recent accession nations. People are experiencing the mass migration problems in all their public services, overcrowding and cobjestion. Fools choose to ignore the real issues.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Timeaction: ” Fools choose to ignore the real issues..”

            Yeah, and they then find scapegoats, after all it is easier than actually bothering to understand the real facts – you know what “Timeaction”, it’s opinions like yours that get the political right a bad name, it’s people like you who get the political right called crack-pots, extremists or worse. 🙁

          • Timaction
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

            Name calling doesn’t make you right. The facts put you firmly in your place. Mass migration and free movement has NO benefit for the indigenous population (The English).
            Imagine we were the Amazon Rain Forest and its indigenous population. Would you support mass migration there? Or would you consider they had a right to a homeland, culture and heritage that was worth saving? The left always resort to name calling when their indefendable arguments are lost.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction: “Imagine we were the Amazon Rain Forest”

            But we are not, whilst many of the indigenous population are the ones doing the disastrous logging [1] – it’s not the migration that is the problem but capitalism, ho-hum! Want to talk mass migration, then sure try talking about the USA, probably the most successful country there is in modern times, a country built on mass migration…

            [1] which is also the cause for infectious contact with the last of the ‘non contacted’ tribes

          • Timaction
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            The USA is very much larger than us and immigrants are made to integrate. Unlike many who live in isolation here. Young girls/women prohibited from contact.
            USA taxpayers are not expected to subsidise new arrivals through the provision of free health, education and other public services. Minimum wage jobs don’t have tax credits or child benefit subsidies making them a drain on the taxpayer. You know all this. We are very overcrowded. Health and education provision will become a problem in a few years. Our greenbelt is being built on to accommodate new arrivals as we have no control over our borders.
            We have a right to our homeland, its culture and heritage. You simply don’t care.

  2. ian wragg
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    The free movement of people is one of the prime movers for the EU to destroy the nation state. By trying to homogenise the peoples of Europe all our culture and history will be lost and we will all bow at the altar of the EU.
    Problem is, with the corruption and stupidity of our rulers, the peasants are starting to revolt. Rather than ensuring peace in Europe, with the debacle of the Euro there may very well be civil strife and indeed wider conflict as seen in the Ukraine.
    It’s time to wiond up the whole failed experiment and go our merry way.

    • Patryk
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      It will do no such thing. There were no border controls until the early 20th C and it was the “borderless” 19th C that allowed the nation states to flourish.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        You need to go out and buy some new history books Patryk

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink


        A) There weren’t nearly as many people
        B) There wasn’t the transport
        C) There wasn’t the wealth gap

        Mass immigration did not happen then.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        There wasn’t much mass movement of people before either. I might be wrong but I think Ryan Air and Easy Jet are a recent creation.

      • Gary
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        precisely. The nation state, the most effective looting machine ever devised. Perfected mass killing by industrial war. Run by the elite for the elite where the serfs are bludgeoned by patriotism and their wounds swaddled in the flag. The last refuge of the scoundrel etc.

      • Bob
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink


        “There were no border controls until the early 20th C and it was the “borderless” 19th C that allowed the nation states to flourish.”

        That was before the welfare state, Eurostar and Easyjet.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        It doesn’t necessarily make sense to have the same immigration policy now as we had before the advent of cheap long distance mass transport and communications, does it?

      • APL
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Patryk: “It will do no such thing.”

        But it will ‘balkanise’ and destabilise large tracts of European cities.

        Good point about border controls. The mass of the population were largely static, there was no incentive to up sticks and travel half way across Europe in the sure and certain knowledge that the government of the foreign country you’d wash up in would house and support your family free of charge.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 28, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

          @APL: “But it will ‘balkanise’ and destabilise large tracts of European cities.”

          But that only happens when people have an irrational fear of something, be it religion, culture, wealth, what ever.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink


      Though I am in favour of some fairly selective immigration from all over the world. This restricted to people who will be an asset to the country and whose skills are actually needed. Workers or the wealthy who can pay their way. People earning less than about £42,000 in the UK are generally likely to be a net liability to the system. Paying less in tax than they cost in benefits, education, health, roads and share of government overheads and government interest. The majority of EU migration is thus clearly lowering the UK’s GDP per head and putting more pressure on housing, school, the NHS, the police and countless other areas.

      Though these government overheads are, of course, far too high due to generally incompetent management, government and corruption.

      • Hope
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        Benefits higher than their living wage, in-work benefits better than their living wage, free education, free health treatment, free dentistry, and free house. Why should they not come here when the Tory led Government is prepared to tax us to the hilt to provide for them?

        Mass immigration continues because the Tory led Government is content for it to do so. The rhetoric is to placate the public.

        Big business gets cheap labour at the taxpayers’ expense, why would it want it to stop.

        Cameron is all hot air and no action.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          400,000 increase in the UK population this year. A record, I believe.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Why does the government and the head of the bank of England think he can judge what mortgages to grant. It is getting like the soviet union and their tractor production targets.

        What is needed is higher base rates, lower rip off bank margins, more competition in banking and some sensible bank lending managers. Not top down, complex, silly rules, arbitrary from Carney.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Interesting from someone who is against the minimum wage. Who should subsidise this shortfall the state or employers easily able to pay more? Which is it?
        For your information drawing a line in median income comes to about £23000 per household. The office for National statistics more wisely focuses on the middle fifth of the income scale which comes out at between £35-40000. How much of a luxury life you will have on this depends on where you live and other entitlements. London would obviously need a lot more to lead a Chavlis swilling life of dinner parties and wine bars.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      ian wragg: “By trying to homogenise the peoples of Europe all our culture and history will be lost and we will all bow at the altar of the EU.”

      What utter nonsense, London will always be London, Berlin will always be Berlin, Paris will always be Paris etc. – and thus the people [1] of such places will always have their unique identity.

      [1] well most people, except for the British, who like to carry their culture with them, seeking out the “English Bars (with there warm English beer)”, the English full breakfast, English style Fish ‘n’ Chips and so on. In fact such is the ignorance of your comment I suspect that you might be judging other nations cultures on such tourist delights!

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I see a proliferation of Polish delis and (off subject but related) Indian, Chinese and Pakistani stores. The English may shop there but it is the immigrants from these countries which make them profitable because they do as the English do abroad.

        Fairness in your critiques would be appreciated.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          @Narrow Shoulders: Compared to the number of British/USA style supermarkets and shopping malls etc. the number of truly Polish, Chinese [1], Indian and Pakistani [2] stores etc. is small, of course were-ever a migrant/minority population gather there will be local shops run by such migrants or their descendants – and that has been true for the last 200 odd years, in fact some have gone on to be regarded as typically British institutions, M&S anyone…

          [1] many of whom will not be Chinese, rather British Passport holders from Hong Kong.

          [2] many are likely not actually Indian or Pakistani, more likely Ugandan Asians who picked up their lives after having to leave Uganda with nothing but what they stood up. Many being eligible to UK passports anyway.

      • JA
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink


        You’re the one talking nonsense.

        At least the British take their own money with them to spend on tourism. Can you really not see the difference with what is happening here ?

        I expect you fell for the “Health tourists are a bit like visitors at Disney in Florida.” bunk. I despair of people like you.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          JA: What the hell are you talking about, did I mention health, no I was talking about culture, go look the word up!

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        There was a song famous in Germany during the war about Berlin; ‘Berlin bleibt doch Berlin.’ Well, I’m not sure if the Berliners would have been singing that song in April 1945 surrounded by smoking rubble and thousands of their fellow townsfolk lying dead under the bombed and shelled buildings while the survivors ran the gauntlet of the Russian Army and its atrocities.
        And to say that currently the people of Berlin, London and Paris ‘will always have their unique identity’ is quite absurd.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        That’s right, Jerry, even if the present population of London was entirely removed tomorrow and replaced with Chinese it would still be London, wouldn’t it? Of course it would, unless they changed the name.

        You really do come out with the most unspeakable tripe.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          Dennis Cooper: “even if the present population of London was entirely removed tomorrow and replaced with Chinese it would still be London, wouldn’t it?”

          Straw-men, rather than terracotta, no doubt….

    • Timaction
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      The legacy parties and Sir Humphries signed us up to the free movement of people knowing fully well the consequences of their gross stupidity. Where else with open borders would poor people go?
      They also signed us up the other treaties allowing over 70% of our laws to be imposed on us by an unelected foreign body.
      Therefore the legacy parties have lost their right to pretend to be in charge and should make way for an elected legitimate patriotic party to take back control of our democracy, sovereignty and secure our borders.
      The legacy parties are more interested in their party and personal interests than the indigenous peoples of these islands. Rushing to give away our taxes in EU and foreign aid as well as our public services. I started to read the recently imposed EU cross border health directive and realised the depth of treachery.
      After 4 years in office remind me how you are doing protecting our health services from health tourism? You’re not even trying as you’ve given up providing free health care for all at GP level.

    • Mark
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      It’s an often forgotten fact that in the aftermath of World War II there were massive flows of refugees in Europe, mainly in repatriation to former homelands (although there some who fled communism). This unwinding of cross-cultural pressures within countries did much to make it possible to create the EEC in the first place. For example, without the French withdrawal from Saarland (which was key to the formation of the European Steel and Coal Community), it is hard to see that it could have been formed at all.

  3. Mark B
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Leaving the EU will not solve the issue of ‘free movement of people’ as this is enshrined in the Single Market / EEA, which we will still need post any exit.

    Successive UK Governments have signed treaties and are now obliged to abide by their obligations. The fact that at the time of these negotiations, that neither the UK or any other Government felt the need to explore the issues raised above is not the EU or the Commissions fault. The blame lays squarely on both the Government, the Opposition and Parliament as a whole.

    The ONLY way, and it is the ONLY way to solve this and other problems relating to this is, to reduce the ‘Pull Factors’ associated with immigration. By reducing the benefits that people can claim, and the amount of time that they have access to such benefits, will dissuade some people from coming here. But here is the catch. Because of the agreements we have signed, we simply cannot do this just to EU immigrants because, the EU does not see them as immigrants, its sees them as Citizens of the EU (thanks Maastricht) . And because of that, you cannot, in the eyes of the EU, discriminate. So what goes for the EU immigrants goes for the people of the UK.

    Now here is a question:

    Which political party do we think has the cojones to cut the benefits, nt just to EU immigrants but also, the people of the UK ?

    Talking about these things is easy. Thinking up workable solutions, a little harder. Getting the right people in to fix the problem – impossible ! Well, at least under the current ‘system’.

    • Chris
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Mark: once we have left the EU, but accept membership of the EEA as an interim measure before full withdrawal, surely we are not still bound by the benefits rulings that require us to treat EU citizens as our own, as we would no longer actually be an EU member, but a hybrid, with greater powers to determine how we treat EU immigrants. Yes, we would have to allow free movement, but that does not automatically entail all our generous benefits.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I posted this early in the morning, and only NOW, after I sent another post complaining, does our kind host feel it OK to post what I said.

      Clearly both he, and those he would call, colleagues in the HoC, are ashamed. And so they should be.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Mark: “Leaving the EU will not solve the issue of ‘free movement of people’ as this is enshrined in the Single Market / EEA, which we will still need post any exit.”

      This is exactly the sort of reason why I’ve come to the conclusion that the UK needs to either be 100% in or out, not halfway down the corridor as the EEA/EFTA are, having to sign up to rules that we (would) have no ability to influence – it would be far worse that it is now.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        No, you do not understand. The EEA is only a temporary solution until full withdrawal.

        The problem with MASS-immigration is, that the whole subject has been poisoned by accusations of racism from those who want open boarders, regardless of the consequences and, political pygmies, unable to make important and realistic decisions which, will not prove popular, but will be effective.

        The UK government can ask the Commission and other member states to temporary abrogate free movement, or at least, the ability of those to claim benefits here. But what the UK Government can do, is cut benefits for ALL, UK and other EU Citizens. If it does that, there is no discrimination – simple !

        • Jerry
          Posted June 28, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          @Mark: I understand more then you do, the EEA is not a solution, not even a temporary one whilst we decide which hat to wear before stepping outside of the lobby marked exit.

          Oh and both sides have poisoned the migration debate.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have hit the nail on the head in all three of your thoughts. Well done!

    The problem is that you are regarding the EU as a Gentleman’s Club – a sort of Golf Club or the MCC where decent people tweak the rules until they assume a perfect fit.

    How many times do I have to tell you, that is not how the continentals see it. They have Rules. Things go Right. It is all done Properly. A Rule is a Rule. If you have to adapt a rule either you just do and see if you can get away with it (we don’t do that here, old chap) or you “persuade” the people enforcing the rule by giving them, perhaps, a little present.(Bribery? Are you really suggesting Bribery? Gadzooks!)

    FIFA is normal. We Brits are the odd man out, as the Polish Ministers pointed out recently.

    Reply Fifa denies wrong doing. Of course I understand the nature of the EU and voted against staying in.

    • Vanessa
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      They are very happy to break their own rules when it suits them but we are not allowed to break their rules if they do not suit us – we are fined.

      Bail-outs were banned in the Lisbon Treaty as no “state” was supposed to be responsible for another’s bad practice – oh, well they are the gods who make the laws so they can break or adhere as they choose !!!

  5. Walter Hinteler
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    The free movement of people has been a major goal of European integration since its very beginning.

  6. Patryk
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    As per 1: Total agreement.
    As per 2: Again total agreement. However with the caveat that the “benefit tourism” from the EU is much overstated. There are communities in the UK from outside the EU with 60% unemployment rate and 90% council housing rate.
    As per 3: This shows total understanding of macroeconomics. I will use an example to illustrate why “undercutting”, in other words cutting costs, is beneficial in the long term.
    Imagine I have a car to fix. I can take it to Mr Jones who will do it for £200 or to Mr Polinski who will do it for £150. In the latter case, I save £50 which I can then spend on food, entertainment, save towards buying a car or deposit for the mortgage, i.e. in the long term creating demand and job opportunities in other sectors of the economy.

    The issue with free movement and undercutting has, in my opinion, coincided with the 2008 economic crash. It is natural and historically evidenced that whenever there is hardship most people’s instinct is to blame the outsider.

    Serious politicians would do well not to pander to those instincts.

    • Patryk
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      In 3 that should have been “lack of understanding”! 🙂

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Let me give you a personal example as to why having foreigners under cut us is bad for the economy.
      My cousin who is a builder was earning about £90 per day a few years ago. Now due to East European cheap labour the rate is down to £50 per day. This means that very few are paying tax and many are claiming in work benefits. My cousin now struggles and as most of the East Europeans a young and single, they live 5 or 6 in a house and send most of their money home. How does that help pay our pensions?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      We have seen a lot of the economics you have described over the last decade, with the result there has been a transfer of wealth from the low paid to the high paid. With this transfer of wealth we have also seen employers dumping their social responsibilities, like training and pensions, onto the state, and with their ability to circumvent the wages market here, by shipping in cheap labour immigrants, we have seen the Government also having to step in to subsidise wages.

      Like most things in life a little can do you good, but lot can be bad. What we have experienced with mass immigration means we have gone well past the good and well into the bad.

      What we are doing at the moment is robbing the good high value added companies to subsidise the employment costs of the low wage employers. Not a clever forward looking strategy.

      We have problems of low productivity, and low capital investment, having a mass immigration low wage economy isn’t going to change that. Sometime rising wages are good for the economy as it incentivises employers to invest in productivity , and where low wage employment that has to be subsidised by the tax payer is made uneconomic, like the salad packing jobs that Romanians and Bulgarians were doing in Norfolk the BBC was extolling are jobs we could well do with out, for they act as a drain on the wealth of the country, they don’t add anything to it.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        “What we are doing at the moment is robbing the good high value added companies to subsidise the employment costs of the low wage employers. Not a clever forward looking strategy.”

        This sounds very like the bad old days of the late 60’s and 70’s. Companies like British Leyland could not function without Government subsidy. And in turn, Government could not withdraw due to political fall out.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Like rain, a certain amount is beneficial, but too much is not.

        However as we have had far too much immigration over recent decades I would now vote for zero immigration if given the chance.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      @Patryk: “Imagine I have a car to fix. I can take it to Mr Jones who will do it for £200 or to Mr Polinski who will do it for £150. In the latter case, I save £50 which I can then spend on food, entertainment, save towards buying a car or deposit for the mortgage, i.e. in the long term creating demand and job opportunities in other sectors of the economy.”

      All very true as long as you have not put Mr Jones out of business and thus cost the nation in added benefits, fine you say and in a way I agree, after all Mr Jones has a lifetime of paying his tax and NI and thus he is only getting some of that back, but what of the 17 year old apprentice also made redundant, his JSA has to come out of the DWP pot too and as he hasn’t paid much if any tax or NI it becomes a direct cost to the nation. On the other hand if Mr Smith undercuts Mr Jones, if the 17 year old apprentice simply moves from Mr Jones to Mr Smith and carries on doing his apprenticeship… Also one has to ask why Mr Polinski can so substantially undercut, considering that the costs should be the same, is he really working for free, does it really cost him less to live, but that is another issue and thus debate.

      @Patryk: “The issue with free movement and undercutting has, in my opinion, coincided with the 2008 economic crash.”

      etc ed

    • formula57
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t Mr Jones spend the extra £50 as well as you? (And with the benefit, a sound chap though Mr Polinski doubtless is and a welcome neighbour, that there would be fewer people and so less pressure on the infrastructure?)

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The 2008 economic crash involved people borrowing on the inflated value of their homes caused by unexpected demand.

      Mr Jones has less money in his pocket to spend in the economy and now he has to compete for his housing with Mr Polinski.

      Meanwhile rich Mr Patryk reaps the benefit of ‘cheap’ labour and the rising value of his property portfolio. Boom time for him so of course he’s not worried.

      Did I mention old ladies being displaced from their doctor’s surgeries for fear of discriminating against newcomers ? Haven’t you noticed how overcrowded Britain is ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        And what Patryk saves in cheaper car repairs he loses in higher tax owing to the increased demand on the supplementary benefits system. Or should lose in tax were it not for wily accountants.

        (Not saying that Patryk does have a portfolio or avoids tax – but many who are immigration enthusiasts do.)

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Then along came Mr Stanescu who said he would do it for £100. Wow! you have now saved £100 to spend on ” food, entertainment, save towards buying a car or deposit for the mortgage”. What happens then to Mr Jones and Mr Polinski and their families? Unemployment or a job at McDonalds perhaps? At the same time the country has now additional pressures to provide, housing, education and health services for a larger number of people. What happens when it is not Mr Jones but Patryk who finds that as a result of this endless ‘beneficial’ immigration his income too is undercut?

    • Bob
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink


      “I have a car to fix. I can take it to Mr Jones who will do it for £200 or to Mr Polinski who will do it for £150. In the latter case, I save £50 which I can then spend on food, entertainment, save towards buying a car or deposit for the mortgage, i.e. in the long term creating demand and job opportunities in other sectors of the economy. “

      But Mr Jones could also spend it on food, entertainment, saving towards a new car or deposit for the mortgage, i.e. in the long term creating demand and job opportunities in other sectors of the economy.

      • APL
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Bob: “But Mr Jones could also spend it on food, entertainment, saving .. ”

        Yea, but more than likely Mr Jones has to hand it over to the government, in which case it will be about 60% wasted.

    • S Matthews
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Your response to point 3 is incorrect. If you pay Mr Jones £50 pounds more, then Mr Jones has an extra £50 to spend on other things. It doesnt matter if its you or Mr Jones who spends it, the long term effect on the economy is the same.
      The question is; is Mr Polinsky causing income (and other) tax to rise due to increased benefit spending to support Mr Jones and his ilk who is now earning at low wage country rates, or out of work completely? Or does extra competition in the market outweigh this effect? Its certainly not clear, and the cost of the social consequences needs to be considered.

      • JA
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Does Patryk at least agree that – though mass migration is agreeable for him – the people should have a say on such a dramatic issue ?

  7. James Winfield
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I enjoy my free movement around Europe, thank you very much.

    I may well need another country to go and work if Labour get their hands on the ec0nomy and complete their destruction of it.

    Also my best friend is from one of the 2004 accession countries, plus various other friends and colleagues – it has been of great benefit to myself to meet and work with folk from similar but different cultures and countries.

    The free movement of people within Europe is one of the few clear benefits that the EU gives it’s members.

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      I have worked and lived all over the world in and out of the EU with my job. It has never been a prerequisite that we get subsumed into foreign rule to be able to live and work all over the globe.
      The EU is modelled on the Soviet Union and will ultimately suffer the same fate.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      @James Winfield: “I may well need another country to go and work if Labour get their hands on the ec0nomy and complete their destruction of it.”

      No problems then, if Labour are returned to government in 2015 (no doubt with the help of UKIP) it is very unlikely that the UK will change its relationship with the EU, if there is any change then it is likely to be towards that ever closer union…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        If you don’t want a Labour government then you’d better tell the Tories to get their act together and attract voters away from Labour. UKIP can do that, as well as attracting voters away from the Tory party and even the LibDems, and getting non-voters to come back to voting and vote UKIP, but it seems to be beyond the capabilities of the Tory party. Maybe that’s because the Tory party has such a rubbish leadership?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          Dennis: You really think that UKIP can get europhile ex LibDem voters to vote for UKIP?!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 28, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            There is substantial polling evidence that a significant part of UKIP’s support is coming from people who voted LibDem in 2010, however many of them will have first switched to supporting Labour before later making a further switch to supporting UKIP. All those voters who have abandoned the LibDems have gone somewhere, and some of them have gone to UKIP.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            Dennis, care to cite this polling?! I find it extraordinary, although not impossible, that vast numbers of europhiles have become europhobes – this “evidence” would not have come from UKIP (commissioned) polling by any chance…

            Far more likely that disaffected LibDems are moving towards either Labour or the Greens (perhaps even the harder, even further, left), perhaps first moving to Labour but then switching to the Greens as Ed Miliband copies or expresses support for Coalition policies.

    • Roger
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Your friends would still be able to come providing we invite them.
      Quantity and quality must be under our control.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      lucky you.

      and so say the rest of the liberal elite.

      mainly because they don’t have to live on the worst estates with mass recent immigration where law and order has broken down.

      and they don’t work in jobs where Brits are being displaced from the jobs market in mass numbers.

      when you are struggling to feed your family, and there is crime outside your door every day, then you will think differently.

      I have worked abroad, including Europe, and enjoyed it, however I see enough of the problems of mass immigration and lack of integration here to be very much concerned at this lazy attitude of the elite.

      • James Winfield
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        I used to live in Hull in the 1990’s next door to rough estates, where there were almost no immigrants whatsoever and law and order had completely broken down.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      James – I’m watching yet another Crimewatch UK packed with European names.

      I suspect our economy is going to go bust whoever gets in power.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous: “I’m watching yet another Crimewatch UK packed with European names”

        But English names are European, even if you did mean central european, migration to the UK didn’t start 40 years ago, not even 100 – duh!

    • Bob
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      @James Winfield

      “I may well need another country to go and work if Labour get their hands on the ec0nomy and complete their destruction of it.”

      Like where? Greece? Spain? Portugal? Ireland? Italy?

      • James Winfield
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Germany? Luxembourg? Sweden? Denmark? Poland? Slovenia?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      We had fairly free movement for centuries even before the EU existed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Just not freedom to claim benefits or to remain when the country no longer wanted you if your were a criminal or something similar. Few countries would prevent people who were benefiting the country and paying lots of taxes coming in.

      • James Winfield
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Because we ran most of the world.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        On and off. Sometimes the government decided that there were too many foreigners in the country and took measures to deal with that.

    • APL
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      James Winfield: “I enjoy my free movement around Europe, thank you very much.”

      The EU didn’t invent free movement on the European Continent. I’ve flown to Switzerland ( outside the EU ), Norway ( outside the EU ) frequently, shown my passport at their border and been granted entry – next to no inconvenience.

      The idea that you appear to be suggesting, we need the EU for free movement, is false.

  8. mick
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Invasion of England without a single shot being fired or castle being stormed,Thank you politicians :((

  9. Andyvan
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    When a country convinces itself that it can afford large amounts of people living at other’s expense via benefits and then foolishly open it’s doors to all and sundry it really isn’t a shock when foreigners want to live at other’s expense too. How about reducing benefits to all? That would make it benefit tourism less attractive and cut the gigantic deficit as well. If you reduced them enough maybe our layabouts would go somewhere else to claim their free money. Ah but then the state doesn’t have large amounts of people bound to vote for more state. Then people would start to wonder if big government was actually good for ordinary people or just those on the gravy train.

  10. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Where else in the world is there free movement between separate countries? Of course that is the essence of it, viz the EUphiles don’t want separate countries. I think part of the reason is that the separate Continental countries (definitely not Switzerland) are somehow ashamed of their own nationalities and still fearful of Germany. The NAFTA countries seem to get by OK and they speak English (to a large extent in case of late entrant Mexico) and drive on the same side of the road.

    • Mark
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      I did not find English to be widely spoken when I lived in Mexico. On the other hand, Spanish is widely spoken in the USA.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Mark–The point was that most, including in Mexico, can speak English well enough

  11. formula57
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Would the EU response not be that a good part of the unfavourable outcomes you show would whither away with greater harmonization within the EU? Accordingly, whatever problems arise are in the main temporary, pending “more Europe”.

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    It’s not just housing or top up benefits, it also free state schooling and medical care which in a lot of cases can be significantly better than they have access to in their home country.
    “migrant labour under cutting home employees” is a massive issue, not just at the bottom of the wages spectrum either but all the way through the wages spectrum. It’s not just the obvious undercutting either it’s a massive disincentive for employers to train local employees, or hire them at the bottom or lower rungs of the ladder, and a disincentive for British students to study certain subjects where they can see most of the jobs are being flooded with foreign nationals.
    And it’s not just European nationals either, it’s also those other nationals given access to the jobs market here as part of the many and varied so called EU “free trade” (they are nothing of the sort) agreements, hence one of the reasons we print so many work visas for Indian nationals, in skills already in oversupply, displacing Brits from the jobs market. And it’s also the way we hand out indefinite leave to remain here, and British citizenship, far too easily and readily compared to the rest of the world.
    Other things that frustrate are the lack of reciprocal nature about it. So British benefits claimants get kicked out of Denmark, for instance, regularly, but we seem to tolerate the opposite situation without kicking anyone out. Many European jobs, especially EU state funded jobs, demand knowledge of two European languages which just acts as a barrier to the British working class in a way that does not work in reverse, and in any case most Brits working abroad pick up local languages after starting work not before.
    It’s also the conspiracy of the political class to impose mass immigration on the people against their will. No real democratic debate. No real choice for the ordinary citizens. No provision of housing, healthcare, schooling, policing, in appropriate ways to handle the numbers or differences. Different standards of law enforcement where locals are handled very sharply but other entrants to the jobs market are allowed to break multi-dimensional laws across the board from copyright protection, data protection, health and safety, discrimination, tax, and so on without any noticeable enforcement by the state.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The question should be ‘does the UK need free movement of people?’ The answer to that should be determined by its people and not forced upon it by an anti-democratic foreign organisation determined to eliminate the nation state. Your party made a promise at the last election to reduce net migration to tens of thousands – a promise you must have known was impossible to keep whilst we are imprisoned in the EU. Don’t expect us to believe any promises you make next year about anything – remember deficit elimination by 2015? – particularly about the EU and immigration.

    • JA
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      This year has broken records apparently.

  14. acorn
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “In the case of the UK , up until the early 1990s there was relatively little immigration. Since then, however, the immigrant population has grown substantially – from around 4.8 million in 1995 to 9 million in 2011. This is at a time when the native population has remained relatively constant at about 52 million. [the 9 is nearer 11 million now – A]

    However, although a lot of emphasis has been placed on the impact of migrants from the EU (and the wider European Economic Area countries, who are also part of the EU Single Market), following the accession of East European countries, in practice, since 2000, immigration from non EEA countries has been twice as large as immigration from EEA countries (2.9 million compared to 1.5 million from the EEA ).” (CityUK)

    You could make the State or Region of “primary residence”, always responsible for paying the out of work benefits and possibly, some or all of the in work benefits, when a person is roaming in other States or Regions

    And, we could do even more of what we do now. Import the goods and services from non EEA countries. That way we can undercut the price of home employees and EEA migrant labour in one fell swoop.

  15. John E
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    There is little chance that the EU will restrict freedom of movement. I can’t see ny point in even raising the topic. Things look very different driving round the Continent than they do from our island.
    In fact as the Polish minister pointed out Mr. Cameron has so botched things that no significant changes in any area are likely to be negotiated. He is just an embarrassment. Even his natural allies can’t work out how he has so misplayed his hand.
    So it is simply a case of staying in and properly engaging with EU politics or leaving.

  16. Jerry
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “The second is the widespread opposition to benefit tourists. [..//..] There remains the related issue of workers moving to countries with the most generous benefit top ups in employment.”

    If anyone thinks that any member state government would voluntarily stop such traffic then they are on a promise to nothing, after all a benefit paid to an unemployed or low waged person citizen residing in another country and being paid by the host country is not a benefit needing to be found by their country of origin, the only sure way of stopping such benefit tourism is to have a common benefits system through out the EU but that would need a common tax system and that needs a common executive…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Another Tory closet eurofederalist.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Dennis: What ever, but I guess my irony was lost on you…

  17. Bert Young
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    No matter what we may think or criticise about the free movement of people , integration of one sort or another , the abuse of our public funds , the inability to rid ourselves of criminals and the unwanted , we are not going to achieve anything from negotiating with Europe . If we are ” In ” we are ” In ” and we have to conform according to the rules made by others ; if we believe we can be ” In ” with special concessions we are deluding ourselves . The fact is a Federal Europe is the driving force and interference to this objective will be overcome by some means or other ; our belief that the extent of the net contribution we make to the EU is a significant negotiating factor is unimportant – the IMF and the manipulations of the ECB rule this out . Our independence can only be achieved by taking ourselves ” Out “. The Common Market no longer exists . Germany has finally won its domination . France can now smile at our ” Waterloo ” and go on making warships for Russia .

  18. Kenneth
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have cited economic arguments with regard to eu immigration.

    However, the cultural changes that arise from immigration (from whatever source) are perhaps even more important.

    We are a social race with the need to belong to a community.

    I have learned not to joke with people on the tube train or on a telephone as, nowadays there is a fair chance that the other person does not share my sense of humour.

    London and many other cities consist of many people who share the same space but do not interact. Multiple cultures are making our country a sadder, duller place and eating away at our community spirit. Other things have also damaged community spirit such as ease of travel and television, but excessive immigration is now a major cause.

    Once immigrants from a particular community overseas reach a critical mass they no longer need to integrate. This is true of Italians who settled in concentrated areas of the UK after WWII. It is true of the British living in Spain and it is true of many communities that have settled here from Asian countries and now Eastern European countries. This is not the fault of the immigrants for they are only acting as any group of people would act. This is all our own fault for allowing this level of immigration to happen.

  19. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    The free movement of people within Europe worked reasonably well until the fall of the Berlin wall. The first signs of stress were within Germany itself when economic parity was declared between the two Germanys. This re-uniting of one people caused, and still causes, friction and bad feeling which are continuing to this day such as the property inflation in the east created by richer western investors.
    If Germany can have these issues within its own borders, then the question of parity and free movement of workers between other countries can be seen to be unworkable and impractical, especially when most of the former communist economies are so asymmetric in relation to our own.
    Not only have we seen profound changes in the membership of the EU in the past 20 years, we have also witnesses a massive increase in world travel and the ease and cheapness of this travel and this has piled the pressure on to an already overstressed and overpopulated Europe through massive third world immigration. These immigrants are determined to get in and will find the weakest entry point.
    The problems of British border control are one thing, but the political will to protect the native population by our own government is quite another. On the one hand we still have passport checks at our borders but once people are past this obstacle there is virtually no risk of being stopped and asked for proof of identity or reasons for remaining in the country. In Europe, the border controls have been removed but the police do stop people and ask them for their identity papers unlike the UK.
    In some respects the issue of ‘free movement of people’ within Europe is not relevant to this country as we still have border controls and the barrier of the English Channel. The real problem is our own government and the climate of fear that has been imposed upon the population if they dare to speak out about the invasion of their country. The suppression of free speech and draconian punishments for the pettiest of ‘thought crimes’ has cowed the people and fuelled a great deal of resentment and distrust of all the main political parties.
    Free movement of people in Europe is not the fundamental question. It is the promotion of the evil ideology of multiculturalism and its enforcement in our own country that is the real problem that needs to be addressed.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Great post.

  20. Neil Craig
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Leaving would be much easier than getting the EU bureaucracy to allow this change in rules. It may even require us not to have the sort of association Norway has. However the EU can do free trade agreement with Singapore without requiring them to have unlimited immigration.

    Cameron’s promise to cut immigration to “10s not 100s of thousands” when he knew the EU would not allow this is an even more blatant bit of dishonesty than his cast iron promise. Either makes him somebody no self respecting voter can vote for.

  21. Terry
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Put it all together and what have we got? A total mess. Freedom of movement is essential to the EU Marxist doctrine. It’s the best way to undermine nations and breakdown Nationalities which is their ultimate aim to create the European Federation. Britain must be a prime target for we have the best benefits and the worst security.
    Our country has become too liberalised and too compassionate for its own good. Now is the time for all good politicians to come to the aid of the British citizen. Withhold all payments until the EU has had its annual accounts certified or leave the nation demolishing behemoth altogether.

  22. sjb
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    there is no evidence at all that so-called “benefit tourism” is a significant issue […] as [Home Secretary] Theresa May admitted last week, it’s about perception not reality.

    • Mark
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        @Mark: That problem says far more about how the UK governments have been financing Further Education and University courses in this country. Also, just how many UK students will end up defaulting, or paying back just a fraction, perhaps never reaching the trigger point were payment is taken automatically via the income tax system, what is more this system has been extended to almost all 19+ Education by this government…

        That Daily Mail article says that 49,100 EU students are liable to repay such loans since 2006, but only 2,000 are currently “actively repaying” these loans, but these loans are given on the same terms as those to UK citizens, so how many ex-students from the UK will be “actively repaying” their loans no more than 8 years since taking them out (meaning that we are likely talking just 5 or 6 years since graduating [1]), how many will already be in such well paying jobs to have reached the trigger point for such payments, never mind how many might never be paid back -something not even mentioned in the article… This is not just a EU student problem but one that the SLC will face from students closer to home in the years to come.

        Sorry but that newspaper article reads like a ‘hatchet job’, pandering to commentators and readership who want to blame everything on the EU, the facts are rather different.

        [1] a short enough period of time in an average career even during an economic boom

  23. Eddie Hill
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The other thing is that free movement of workers might be useful if a surplus of labour drove down employment costs, but we have a minimum wage, so thta won’t happen.

    In a free market, supply and demand tend towards equilibrium, but as soon as you interfere with that mechanism, you get disequilibrium.

    Your bloggers are correct – the free movement of labour can only have a negative impact and none of the measures you propose, such as “banning benefit tourism” or trying to figure out which immigrant is a crook, are workable.

    I’m afraid we’re done for! What we are seeing is merely one adverse consequence of the planet being massively over-populated, and that situation will only get worse too.

  24. Richard
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    You are absolutely correct and the situation will get much worse as the EU expands further.

    Mr. Cameron is on record as wanting Turkey to become a member of the EU and for the EU to extend from the Atlantic to the Urals.

    From November this year, QMV (Qualified majority Voting), will mean that we will have almost no influence for many important issues including the decision to accept new states into the EU.

    By the way, it should also be noted that the total QM votes of those states who are net recipients of EU money will be greater than the QM votes coming from countries who are net payers into the EU coffers.

    However, it is not only the free movement of people within the EU which is causing our problems but our leaders continually allowing too much unsuitable immigration from outside the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      “From November this year, QMV (Qualified majority Voting), will mean that we will have almost no influence for many important issues including the decision to accept new states into the EU.”

      Somebody set this hare running, and it runs and runs long after it should have stopped … must be powered by those superior batteries they advertise …

  25. BobE
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I assume that DC is waiting for a few years before having his EU vote so that a few more million people will arrive. This will improve his YES vote chances.
    Or am I just an old cynic.

  26. Vanessa
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    A little off topic – but where is the piece on the PRIME MINISTER’s apology for Coulson?
    This is a British PM in Contempt of Court (usually carrying LIFE IMPRISONMENT) because he cannot wait for the trial to finish and obviously thinks he is either god or above the law – a system of law which is/was respected throughout the world.

    First he employs a criminal in Downing Street, then he upsets the Nigella Lawson trial and now the phone hacking trial – the man is an idiot.

    We were told he went to Eton – which I understood was our top school and producing many British Prime Ministers but I think this is a lie and he actually went to a sink comprehensive in the East of London and has been schooled to speak the way he does. Nobody from Eton would be so ignorant and stupid or inconsiderate or selfish as to make the errors of judgement in every aspect of his time in 19 Downing Street that he has. The conservative party, I hope, are inconsolable for having voted this schoolboy as their leader. We must be a laughing stock in the EU.

    • Vanessa
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      P.S. that should be 10 Downing Street !!

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Vanessa: “A little off topic – but where is the piece on the PRIME MINISTER’s apology for Coulson?”

      I suspect, waiting on any statement from the CPS, considering that a retrial could be pending…

  27. John
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The problem with free movement is that not all occupations have the same level of free movement. For instance, the legal industry is a well protected industry within the EU. I was working with an attorney in Brussels but then needed him to work the case in a nearby township. He is not allowed to practice law outside of Brussels. In other words I had to hire another lawyer within the adjacent district.

    The idea behind free movement is to shrink salaries through neoliberal means for everyone except those industries the EU protects. Guess what background most politicians come from? The legal profession. Protect the industry and you stand a good chance of staying employed if politics does not work out for you.

    As to be expected, EU politicians who pontificate about the greatness of free movement fail to utter a word about the exempted industry sectors, like the legal profession.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The answer to the headline question:

    “Does the EU need free movement of people?”

    is obviously “yes”, because otherwise you would have to restrict the movement of citizens within their own country, the projected new country called “Europe”, the new country that those leading the Tory party have wanted to see created for the past half century, with its own body of EU citizens as agreed by the Tory Major at Maastricht.

    However the answer to the alternative and more pertinent question:

    “Do the British people need free movement of people within the EU?”

    is just as obviously “no”, it is doing us far more harm than good; and if it is considered indispensable for membership of the EU then it is one good reason for leaving.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I see Cameron is now making the same kind of “we would not let matters rest there” threats over the appointment of Merkel’s favoured candidate Juncker as the President of the EU Commission as he did over Merkel’s Lisbon treaty, and as he did over the use of the EU institutions for the purposes of Merkel’s “fiscal pact”:

    And no doubt the threats will prove just as empty this time as previously.

  30. peter davies
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    This analysis sums it up well. Free movement was ok when the club membership consisted of countries with similar living standards. Now that has changed with Eastern Europe, etc the whole principle of free movement needs to change with it. If the EU think this is not an issue, why did they have the accession rule in the first place?

  31. JA
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood

    How do we know how many people are anti EU in Britain ? “Big minority votes for anti EU parties.”

    Many people voted for the Tory party in the EU elections for the sole reason that they are anti EU and the Tories have promised a referendum.

    How can we discern between those voting for pro EU Cameron and referendum promising Tories ? We can’t. Thus we can only say we have a ‘large minority’ against the EU because the Tory party split the anti EU vote and then deliberately hide their share of it.
    Reply In most countries the overall anti vote was a minority. In the UK just over50% was split between two parties

    • JA
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      To re word:

      “Many people voted for the Tory party in the EU elections for the sole reason that they are anti EU and the Tories have promised a referendum.”

      Many people voted for the Tory party because they think it is the only way to get out of the EU – via a promised referendum.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        JA–Given that Cameron’s white hot hope is to renegotiate away the worst aspects of the EU (if he wins an outright majority–unlikely in any event), it seems to me that a subsequent Referendum, ie after he has done that if he can, is more likely to have us staying In than one now because many may be mollified. Those wanting Out should therefore lobby for a Referendum ASAP. Those hoping for major renegotiation benefits might like to reflect on what the Juncker episode tells us, viz there will never be any such benefits so forget the idea of supporting Cameron’s approach. Of course Cameron would win some change but any such is likely to be negligible. Those who want Out like me would need huge fundamental change even to consider staying In and that just ain’t gonna happen. They are different from us over there–we should get Out and let them get on with it.

  32. Alte Fritz
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Peaceful mass movement of people did not happen before railways were developed. From then, mass movement has caused discontent and worse. If the state has obligations to those who live within its borders, then there has to be a limit on how many people can cross borders or even, in extreme cases, move within them. Failure to observe that simple and uncontroversial principle lands us in our current unhappy predicament.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      You are actually blaming the industrial revolution for the worlds ills and advocating everyone to live and die where they are born. Technology has made things worse cannot be seen as a credible argument. Not so good if you a Tsar for sure or even Prince Charles. Both only need medical technology to advance and only for them. I don’t fancy living like 17th century peasnt no matter how romantic. No effective anaesthetic is a one to think about. Still a problem today.
      This mindset still exists today in many locals minds, who are not happy to see you go and even less happy to see you back. It’s a sort of cheating of fate that they are unable to do for whatever reasons, not always real. LOL!

  33. JimS
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    We were told in 1971:

    “The Community as a whole has been regularly short of labour. The Six have attracted large numbers from outside, while the movement of workers within the Six has diminished. When we join, the pattern is likely to be similar.”
    [Britain & Europe – A Short Version Of The Government’s White Paper]

  34. acorn
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    With your indulgence JR. Recently there was a question to me about how a currency gains credibility. I said, in the UK; a sovereign fiat currency issuing economy, it is taxation that drives the Pound to currency credibility. Prof Randy Wray (UMKC) has put it better than I can:-

    The lack of economic knowledge in the UK is frankly frightening. I understand that it would not be in the interest of the Conservative Party and its sponsors, for the proletariate to understand any more than they current do. But surely, inequality has been stretched beyond reason now. The shift of GNI to profits rather than wages, has gone so far that you are literally taking the piss out of the little people now. History tells us that situations like we currently have, will not end well.

    • Mark
      Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Taxation doesn’t give a currency credibility. I recall living in Argentina in a period of rapid inflation (20-50% per month). Taxes had to be paid in pesos, but people swapped their paychecks as rapidly as possible for other stores of value if they could. White goods were popular – as were illegal stashes of US dollars. Of course, real tax revenues collapsed along with the currency and the ballooning budget and trade deficits. What eventually gave the currency credibility was dollarisation i.e. convertibility (at least until the budget deficits got out of control again and it was abandoned – a cycle that has been repeated several times there).

      • acorn
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Argentina had lost control of its currency by pegging and running up debt (public and private) in US dollars. They were continually reliant on export income to remain solvent. Once their export markets became recessed they were unable to pay their foreign-currency debts.

        Further, by abandoning the peg, they effectively created the same dilemma as Greece would do if it abandoned the Euro. They had massive liabilities in a foreign currency and had to take their chances on default.

        And, once they abandoned the peg (because they could not longer gain the foreign exchange reserves to maintain it), Argentina’s currency went into freefall for a while, with all the negative short-term consequences that come with that dynamic. (HT Bill Mitchell)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      There’s internal credibility and there’s international credibility. Of course the government of a country can force people in that country to use a particular currency if it insists that they must use that currency to pay their taxes on pain of imprisonment. But that doesn’t apply to people outside the country who are not under the same duress, it takes something other than the non-enforceable threat of jail to induce them to trust and hold the currency.

      • acorn
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        It just takes those external countries wanting to “save” in a foreign currency. be it mansions in Chelsea or government bonds. All denominated in Pounds, they take the currency risk.

        The current strength of the Pound is floating on some froth caused by a lot of hot capital flowing into the UK.

  35. Mark B
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Shame on you Mr. Redwood MP ! Shame on you !

    You have not posted my reply to your article today. Why ? I broke no rules. I slandered no individual or corporation. I made no disparaging remarks against you or anyone else yet, you choose not to post my reply. Why ? Why in heavens name do you do this ? It was neither long or, had any links for you to check. I never made any party political statements, I merely stated the facts as I see them, and asked a simple rhetorical question.

    Shame on you, sir ! Shame on you !

  36. Bazman
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Lower labour costs help if you run a building company or the like and enables the lowers costs to be passed onto the customers. Just shows you greedy British workers are at the lower end of the labour market. If East Europeans can cut living costs and pass on these savings to employers by living five to a room/car allowing them to live in high cost low employment areas then why can’t the British do this instead of scrounging benefits and asking for ever higher rates of pay in a country that needs to compete with extremely low wage countries?
    The problem of a large amount of tradesman needed to be employed by the BAE shipyard to build the new nuclear submarines could be solved by allowing foreign workers to do this for their average rates of pay and should the ten thousand plus workers of the past laid off not be press ganged back into this work as they where trained at great expense in the 1990’s to build the Trident system before instead of paying extortionate contractors rates through agencies? Barrow is not a very expensive place to live so why are they paid this?

  37. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I am a supporter of the nation state, and the sovereignty thereof. It follows that I believe each nation must have the right to control its own borders in order to decide who comes in for what purpose and for how long, and that state must have the unencumbered right to require people to leave should it chose where they have breached the terms of their stay. This must be done in firm but enlightened manner, but there should be no open borders. But there is almost point in debating the problems we have with the EU as there seems to be little we can do while we are a member. Only a declaration of an over-riding national interest by government, that there is a crisis in healthcare or in housing, for example will make any difference, and thus entry restrictions are being imposed, but no doubt I will learn that such is impossible too. So, if so, we remain trapped and ignored by an unresponsive Elite. It took more than debate to end the Divine Right of Kings. There is a big enough minority, if not a majority requiring change, and thus change should be introduced.

  38. David Hope
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Some people regularly say that if you are a free marketeer you must believe in free movement of people. Otherwise you believe in protectionism.

    Personally I don’t buy this though even though you can see similarities in a company abroad undercutting by selling something cheaper and a person selling their own labour cheaper.

    If say a computer manufacturer starts selling their hardware in the UK at a cheaper price than an existing UK manufacturer, that may result in less sales for the UK manufacturer, perhaps some goods building up in the warehouse, maybe even bankruptcy if the gulf can’t be bridged. That is pretty much it though and at the same time consumers get cheaper goods which benefits society as a whole.

    Now with free labour (inevitably cheaper labour) there can be similar benefits, e.g. cheaper food. However, it may disproportionately reduce costs for the well off rather than the poor – e.g. cheaper nannies, taxis, cleaners, restaurants as we are quite service based. Free movement of goods seems less discriminating.

    In addition, if you have cheap labour undercutting our unskilled workforce it is more complex – those displaced can’t just pile up in a warehouse, they need money (benefits) and accommodation. The new workers will require homes, NHS care, schools, water, electricity, internet, roads infrastructure. This is a lot more complicated than new cheaper goods appearing on our shores from Europe. We can’t just replace the british workers with the new ones, we are stuck with both – this doesn’t happen with goods where the better one replaces the less good.

    It may also be less reciprocal, people tend to move from poor places to richer. Free movement of goods allows us to buy and sell both ways, whereas recent migration only sees movement of people in one direction (this isn’t a problem with say germany of course). We might sell services or high tech goods to Romania, we sure as hell aren’t all moving there.

    New people also come with ideas, social and polital. We have worked hard in the UK to make a friendly open society where you are free to live your life whatever you religion sex etc. Newcomers may embrace the same but they may not and you may end up importing problems you spent a long time trying to eradicate.

    Therefore it strikes me that we can’t lump free movement of people in Europe with free movement of goods, it is a separate thing and in my view, requires controls so as not to cause infrastructure, social and economic pressures.

  39. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Minimum wage is £12K per year which delivers £400 tax and around £480 national insurance to the treasury.

    Let us assume that the immigrant in receipt of that £12K per year has prevented a Brit from getting the job then the Brit is costing JSA of £2.5K per year. Net negative before the immigrant claims any other benefits.

    If the immigrant earns £25K (mean wage) then they are contributing £3K in tax and £2K national insurance but if the Brit who they have unseated is getting £100 housing benefit per week as well as JSA then the Brit is costing the taxpayer £7.5K per year Net negative before the immigrant claims any other benefits.

    If the immigrant has a school age child, the child is costing the taxpayer at least £5K per year (more if English is not the language spoken at home and they are entitled to free school meals) – Net Negative.

    The immigrants’ VAT and duty contributions would be picked up by the Brit in work if the immigrant was not here.

    Take Premier league footballers and other rarefied stars (who would be here anyway under the points immigration system) out of the tax and spend equation and it is difficult to fathom how mass immigration can be anything other than a drain on the ordinary tax payer.

    This is demonstrated by the reduction in per capita GDP and income in this century.

    Unfortunately while the EU is with us so will mass immigration because we pay better than most other countries and have no invisible barriers.

  40. matthu
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Slightly OT, but in the telegraph today we read:

    “However, there was embarrassment for Mr Cameron as a former Conservative government adviser claimed the Prime Minister was not “committed” to his pledge to offer voters an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

    Dominic Cummings, who served as an adviser to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, claimed that members of Mr Cameron’s inner circle believe he can “dodge” the need to hold a referendum in 2017.

    He said: “People assume Cameron feels totally committed to a referendum if he stays as prime minister but that’s not right.

    “9/11 scuppered Blair on the euro referendum. Then Blair promised a referendum before the 2005 election, but didn’t have to do it because of events. Cameron’s inner circle thinks he can still dodge the bullet of a referendum, though if he tries his party may send in a firing squad.”

    I wonder what our host thinks of this enlightening point of view?

    Reply It is completely wrong

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    It is worth considering that Germany’s population is now back down to its 1995 level. Germany has had economic growth in the intervening years. So the assertion by, for example, the Office for Budget Responsibility that immigration is necessary for economic growth and continuing reduction of our deficit, needs to be looked at critically. It ain’t necessarily so.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Germany is a middle class society. The dirty and unpleasant work is done by migrants including the British and sometimes by Germans down on their luck.
      I was amazed to see often that a simple office job paid more than shipyard work. Germans only though.

  42. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Free movement of labour within the Eurozone is essential – if Greeks were not allowed to leave their own country and work elsewhere in the EU then their economic crisis (caused by being in the Eurozone) would have been far worse. Outside the Eurozone a points system as applied by Australia for example would seem more sensible.

  43. sm
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Where does all the EU contribution money go should it not follow the movement of people?

    Deduct all benefit payments, non-uk student loan bad etc, from the EU contributions until we exit?

    All expats should pay an exit bond to insure the exclusion period on benefits of a potential return. We can then insist new arrivals do the same?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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