Benefits and the EU


The large increase in EU migration has come about for a variety of reasons. The addition of several lower income countries to the EU in recent years makes it more tempting for people to wish to come to a richer country like the UK to take advantage of the better pay, higher welfare benefits and better public services. The success of the UK economy in generating many more jobs at a time when several major continental countries are back in recession or stuck with very slow growth also encourages more people to migrate to the UK.

The original idea of free movement was the free movement of workers, not the free movement of benefit seekers. The UK has fallen foul of anti discrimination provisions in EU law when having a universal system of benefits. It means it is difficult or impossible for the state to restrict EU migrants from  having access to income top ups, housing and child benefits which are universally available to low income or no income people in the UK. Some other continental countries have contributory based systems where new migrants do  not qualify automatically because they have not yet worked and contributed in their new host country.

I have urged this government to switch us over to a contributory based system where all can be treated fairly but where UK citizens who have contributed – or who have earned entitlement by undertaking full time education here for a specified period – qualify for benefits that would not be given to new arrivals.

The government has tightened the criteria for eligibility within the current legal framework, and is now limiting the time someone can be out of work and looking for work on benefits to just three months. Going further and reducing  the benefits “pull” of our system further  should be relatively easy within  the confines of current EU law, if the UK is prepared to change the basis of its welfare system. That still leaves open the bigger issue of the UK being able to control the numbers of job seekers who come and take jobs, which the Prime Minister has said he wishes to sort out in his renegotiation.


  1. Mark B
    November 4, 2014

    Good morning.

    I once made a comment here on the basis that, in order to reform the benefits system, you would first need to create a situation by which the people themselves cried out for change, making it easier to do something that otherwise was politicaly suicidal. It was never posted by our kind host.

    In order to limit immigration into the UK from the EU, we have to converge our benefit system to match theirs. Never let it be said that, ‘Ever closer UNION’ does not just come from the EU, in both thought and deed.

  2. Peter A
    November 4, 2014

    With 400,000 Italians and Spanish applying for NI numbers this financial year there is obviously a problem. Just as the EU attempts to penalise us for growth and not being part of the Euro, so we must now accept hoardes of migrant workers and benefit seekers fleeing failing economies and the pernitions of the socialist governments they voted for. In France you must not only wait to receive job seekers benefits but also housing and medical benefits too. The French are thoroughly unwelcoming. They also believe that their own culture is exceptional and strive to maintain its primacy.

    We are over -generous. The time has come for ID cards, most people hold driving licences anyway now. If it means we can control the costs of the International Health service; I’ll sacrifice some liberties. Actually demanding prospective job seekers speak English might help too. Let’s stop spending millions translating all these documents into 200 languages!

    In other news; the Spanish airforce is disrupting BA flights into Gibraltar, why John, is the government again failing to act? And on Newsnight last night Evan Davis allowed a climate change zealot to say, unchallenged, that “Arctic and Antarctic ice is in irreversible melt.” In fact Antarctic ice is at its greatest extent in recorded memory. Also, no mention of the 18yr pause in rise of global temperatures. Or the fact that a new study has shown that the $130 billion Germany has spent on solar power will yield but a 37hour postponement in global warming by the end of the century. Bias at the BBC? Never!

    1. fedupsouthener
      November 7, 2014

      The bias of the BBC knows no ends. All the rubbish spoken about climate change etc is never ending too. I am truly fed up with the whimsy way in which our governments challenge anything or anyone. The sooner we are out of the EU, the better and the sooner we get a change of leader and a new awareness of how ridiculous many of our policies are the better. Our energy policy is an absolute farce and a one way ticket to disaster. Roger Helmer, ex Conservative and now UKIP at least understands the futility of it all which is more than can be said of Ed Davey. When are we going to hear the voice of reason from the Conservatives and not just you and a few others John? What is happening in the UK at the moment is beyond a joke and is going to ultimately destroy the UK.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    November 4, 2014

    Your government is falling for populist propaganda and policies of fear. It couldn’t even produce figures about alleged misuse of benefits, but UKIP will profit from the hype.

    Here is the good news: “Half a billion people have the right to come and live in the Netherlands”, and most won’t even need a passport because the Netherlands is a Schengen country. And the Netherlands has one of the most lavish welfare systems in Europe.
    So what!?
    Figures show that immigrants are a net benefit to the economy, and issues to be resolved don’t require limiting the number of EU job seekers. Shouldn’t be different for the UK.

    1. margaret brandreth-j
      November 4, 2014

      The Netherlands uses 2.1 times more oil , 31.05% electricity , spends 23.66% on health care. Aren’t you good.

      1. Hefner
        November 5, 2014

        So, what’s the point, Margaret?

    2. Richard1
      November 4, 2014

      The objection to current immigration policy in the UK is whilst it is open door to the 500m citizens of the EU, irrespective of who they are or what contribution they might make, it is now highly restrictive against potential immigrants from other parts of the world. We are thus obliged to admit a convicted criminal, who has no intention of working, from another EU country whilst making an American entrepreneur or an Australian doctor jump through all sorts of hoops.

      I agree with your general point though that immigration is by and large a good thing and a net benefit to the economy.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        American or Australian doctors should be welcomed. There must be better ways to deal with the flow of immigrants than to try and keep them out. I suspect that very skilled doctors and unskilled labour don’t live in the same street and that only these low wage workers need special policies to make it acceptable for indigenous British people. Other EU countries succeed, so could Britain.

      2. petermartin2001
        November 5, 2014

        …… immigration is by and large a good thing and a net benefit to the economy.

        Possibly. If the UK were short of workers then it would be a “net benefit” to bring in more people to live and work here from the economic viewpoint of those paying for that work.

        On the other hand, for those being paid for that work it may be a “net loss”.

        As the economy is not at all short of workers then it may be a net cost for everyone to bring in new people.

        The phrase “a net benefit to the economy” is bandied about a lot. Usually by those who have read it somewhere else but can’t remember the reference! Except that “figures show” it to be true. Do they? It’s not that simple. It’s quite a complicated issue to determine. If the population of the UK were half what it is would the GDP per head be more or less? What if it were doubled? Would the GDP per head be higher or lower? Even if it were higher would the increased level of crowding make for better or worse living conditions?

        1. Richard1
          November 6, 2014

          The quality and variety of services on offer in many sectors – building, catering, services etc – is hugely improved by immigrants. The City of London relies extensively on immigrants. The NHS would collapse without the contribution of immigrants. Even the army makes extensive use of immigrants.

          All the most dynamic economies encourage immigration. But it would be good if we could apply a quality test.

          1. petermartin2001
            November 7, 2014

            I don’t believe anyone is suggesting there should be no immigration but rather that it should be better regulated.
            At the same time, we do have to consider how the economy can be better regulated too. There is no point in having over 2 million unemployed, and millions more underemployed, and then saying we can’t manage without further immigration.

            There’s something wrong somewhere!

        2. fedupsouthener
          November 7, 2014

          What we need is what UKIP want. CONTROLLED IMMIGRATION.

          Other countries outside the EU manage this so why can’t we? Taking in every waif and stray is not good practice.

      3. Lifelogic
        November 5, 2014

        Indeed the UK can and should be very selective about who it lets in. Anything else just lowers living standards and the quality of life. It increases the deficit further, overloads public services and reduced GDP per cap.

      4. stred
        November 6, 2014

        I know of a highly qualified American trauma surgeon who came to work in London 2 years ago and is still waiting for permisssion to work in her speciality. The GMC are insisting that she proves she has recent experience in hernia operations, which is the medical equivalent to changing the engine oil for a mechanic.

    3. Ted Monbiot
      November 4, 2014

      One of the problems is that its not just EU citizens.
      Many from outside the EU find it very easy to get into any one of the 28 nations and then get their documents after which they can make their way to the UK as legitimatised EU citizens.
      Which is why you see the chaos at the port of Calais.
      For there to be the right number of homes, roads,doctors surgeries, hospital beds, spaces in schools, energy and water capacity etc there has to some idea of the numbers coming here.
      Free movement was a concept born when 6 similar nations were part of a common market not 28 very varied nations.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @Ted Monbiot: the EU enlargement was very much promoted by . . . . the UK! Illegal immigrants are a separate issue, but again, yours is not the only country that has to deal with them. Outside the Schengen area it shouls be easier for you than for Schengen countries.

        1. Ted Monbiot
          November 6, 2014

          But they are not illegals once they get into the EU and gain some documents.

    4. Ted Monbiot
      November 4, 2014

      Your claim that figures show immigration…in the UK…to be a net benefit is not correct.
      Despite a large recent rise in population the gdp per person has fallen.

      Figures show most are working for low incomes and get tax credit top ups, housing benefits, free school places, child benefit and free nhs health provision.
      The income tax and NI paid by many of our new arrivals is nowhere near covering these costs.
      Whilst 2 million who are already citizens languish here unemployed.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @Ted Monbiot: a fall in GDP can have several causes and if the GDP/capita falls by 2% and the number of people rises with 3% (not the real numbers) your economy is still growing with 1%. The comparison to make is how much foreign workers contribute (tax, national insurance) to the system and what they take out. There are several studies in Britain to show that what is contributed is more than what is taken out, compared to British workers.

        1. Edward2
          November 6, 2014

          The report left out many items and when these are added there is very little benefit to the UK overall from the extra millions who have arrived recently.
          Maybe in a few decades there will be.
          Economics is just one minor argument.

          But its really about the EU breaking down the concept of nation state and turning them into subserviant minor regions.

        2. petermartin2001
          November 7, 2014

          “GDP/capita falls by 2% and the number of people rises with 3% (not the real numbers) your economy is still growing with 1%”

          So what? Even if that 1% were distributed evenly, which it isn’t, then everyone would still be 2% poorer than previously.

          Its GDP/capita that matters. Not GDP. That’s why people want to move to countries like Australia and NZ which don’t necessarily have high GDP but do have high GDP/capita.

          Not that GDP/capita is the be all and end all. Otherwise we’d be aiming to make the UK like Singapore with a huge wealthy population cram packed into a small area of land!

      2. Hefner
        November 5, 2014

        Not true, read today’s papers, at least the “intelligent” ones!

        1. Hope
          November 5, 2014

          Ah right, they are conclusively correct. Not bias in any way.

          1. Edward2
            November 6, 2014

            I agree with Ted
            He is actually arguing against most papers radio and TV who quoted only bits of a report in a desperate effort to try to show how great increasing our population by the biggest amount in our history has been.

        2. Narrow Shoulders
          November 5, 2014

          The report was compiled using disputed methodology and with the objective of showing a benefit @ Hefner.

          It did not take account of the capital cost to infrastructure (which would not be needed without immigration ie Hillingdon is spending £150 million on Primary places which are not for those of us who were already here) just the running costs of the services. £20 billion over 10 years is a mere £2 billion per year which the left will tell us (when they want to spend it) is a trifle and not to be worried about.

          The report did not take account of lower wages (and therefore lower taxes) and did not allow for the amount of money immigrants send home rather than recycle nor did it deduct the cost of out of work benefits for those who could otherwise have served us coffee, cleaned our houses and manned the tills at supermarkets. The elite would have acted to ensure these jobs were covered so they were not inconvenienced had it not been mitigated by immigration so there is a large cost there. Additionally if you recall a while ago it was admitted that at least 300,000 more immigrants from the EU had entered our land than had been counted for due to weakness in the counting system. Most of these were children. Each school pupil costs £4K per year (at least) @ 300,000 is £12 billion which (annually) trumps £20 billion over 10 years.

          Jump on the report as a vindication of your views if you wish but be a little analytical and look beyond the headlines if you wish to be taken seriously.

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            November 7, 2014

            Correction £1.2 billion annually plus capital costs and other allowances against deprivation criteria, such as free school meals and english as an addionally language while using up one to one resources, which trumps £20 billion over 10 years.


        3. Ted Monbiot
          November 5, 2014

          I have and the report doesn’t allow for many of the things I have mentioned.
          You would have seen huge rises in gdp per capita if immigration was an economic success.

    5. Roy Grainger
      November 4, 2014

      “Figures show that immigrants are a net benefit to the economy”

      Even if this were true, so what ? There are many issues raised by immigration and the effect on the economy is only one and not perhaps the most important. It is an absurd position to take to say that policy should be determined by economics alone, for example killing everyone when they reached retirement age would undoubtedly benefit the economy.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @Roy Grainger: Killing people at the age of retirement would not be allowed by the European Convention, cancelling one of the four freedons would not be allowed by the rest of the EU. Chances are that you will leave both. 🙂
        Is there a problem having foreigners settling in Britain?

        1. Hope
          November 5, 2014

          Yes in relation to the vast numbers at the moment. No when numbers are controlled and quality is put above quantity. The UK should determine who is allowed entry not some unelected EU commissar fanatic to build an EU superstate.

          1. fedupsouthener
            November 7, 2014

            Couldn’t have said it better myself. Yes, there is a problem when there is a lack of school places in some areas and health care is compromised as I know it is in the South. My mother has waited a lifetime just for results of a heart scan. Other friends have had operations cancelled time after time and immigration plays its part.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        November 5, 2014

        Roy–Anyone who thinks that immigration has benefited the lower paid half of this country must be stark staring mad and I agree that even if it were true as regards the better paid half, which in any event I do not believe, so what, because there are other factors that are more important than mere wretched economics–social cohesion, or rather an increasing lack of it, for a start? Has the average immigrant any knowledge of English Law, History etc not to mention the Language itself? Something one hears little about is that De Gaulle was right–we are different from what goes on across the Channel and long may (what’s left of ) it continue. God Bless UKIP.

        1. Vanessa
          November 6, 2014

          Well said, Leslie. Also there are the hidden problems so many immigrants have on this country. I cannot get a doctor’s appointment for about 2 weeks because the Practice has had to increase its patient base by thousands with no more doctors. Our hospitals are chock full of foreigners, though I don’t know where they come from, but the English are in the minority in the hospitals I go to.
          I am sure schools are having huge problems having to take children with virtually no English.
          Nobody says how our basic resources such as water and energy will last now the population is increasing at such a rate, to say nothing of food etc.
          But I also agree with you that cohesion is lost, I now no longer know my neighbours as they do not speak English and they have no knowledge of my sense of humour, my history etc.

        2. fedupsouthener
          November 7, 2014

          Yes, UKIP are the only party that understand the problems. We are living in a foreign country or that is how it feels to many of us now. I was frankly surprised to find a copy of the Holy Bible in a Premier Inn the other day. Nicely surprised I must say and great to see that some establishments have not knuckled under to what others see as not wanting to offend immigrants!

    6. Narrow Shoulders
      November 4, 2014

      Immigrants are a net benefit to the economy.

      So is coal and oil but we are legislated for these to be reduced.

      As with everything Peter it depends who is doing the measuring and what metrics they are using. For me nice food shame about the cost.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @Narrow Shoulders: Nice food for me too please! You will have noticed though that the UK always looks to judge and measure its EU membership on the basis of economics.
        Personally I have other reasons too to want to belong to the EU.

        1. Narrow Shoulders
          November 6, 2014


          GDP per capita is down and was so before the recession. Costs are up greatly due to demand. Most of the populous is worse off by any metrics which does not equate to a benefit.

    7. Lifelogic
      November 4, 2014

      Populist is so often exactly right.

      It is very popular to have low taxes, an efficient NHS and public services, a criminal justice systems with some real deterrents, murders and rapist kept off the streets, some good roads, no pointless/counter productive wars, fewer regulations, simpler tax systems, cheaper (no green religion) energy, a sensible selective immigration system, no benefits for the intentionally feckless, no Millennium Dome, no HS2/3/4, no regulation over the power of vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers……, no tax payer subsidies for green drivel, wind/PV and electric cars, a much smaller (largely parasitic) state sector …….

    8. lojolondon
      November 4, 2014

      Never mind Peter, UKIP will save us from the hell that is the EUSSR. I hope for the sake of your people that the Netherlands follows, or you will become the second-biggest financial contributor to the EU, after Germany – enjoy that!

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @lojolondon: interesting that you have no problems depicting us as “hell”. It shows the toxic strength of decades of anti EU propaganda.
        We already are a larger net EU contributor than the UK (per inhabitant that is). The benefits outstrip the contributions, just like in the UK, only the anti-EU propaganda (like in the foreign owned British tabloids) misrepresents the facts.

        1. Mondeo Man
          November 7, 2014

          Peter – If that were true then we wouldn’t have a population crisis owing, in great part, to the influx of ‘EUSSR’ refugees.

          It’s not the tabloids to blame for the EU’s bad reputation. It is our own politicians. Whenever there is something morally repugnant that they fail to deal with they say that it is not their fault and that they are tied by the EU.

        2. Ted Monbiot
          November 7, 2014

          You dont need propaganda to see that the current policies of the EU are failing the people in member countries.
          Its plain to see, every day, all around you.

          Growth, world competitiveness, the share of world trade, unemployment, standards of living, foreign policy, rules and regulations, taxation, the democratic deficit, the numbers of overpaid bureaucrats, immigration etc

          All failing the people of Europe with a ztubborn clinging to a 1950’s style centralised, quasi socialist, inward looking command economy.

          So thats why I’m against it now, despite having high hopes for it when it was originally quaintly called The Common Market.

          If it were a booming, enriching, dynamic, democratic, modern world organisation, improving the lives and standard of living of all its citizens, then I would change my mind.

    9. Timaction
      November 4, 2014

      There are many ways of calculating value. It includes our culture, heritage, our very way of life. Overcrowding, congestion, waiting lists, queues and building on the greenbelt.
      There are several calculators but just one recent fact is that immigrant labour is costing the UK with over £5 billion in tax credits alone. This doesn’t include their health, education or other public service costs. The fact that they are in receipt of these in work welfare payments indicates they are low/minimum wage workers and a drain on UK taxpayers.
      This Government is now only starting to consider action as there is an election next May. After 4 and a 1/2 years in office their talk of potential action looks weak and opportunist. Certainly not believable. The public can see and experience daily the failed legacy party politics of mass migration and more EU dictatorship.
      None of the things we care about in the UK are really any of your business Mr Van Leeuwen.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @Timaction: then why don’t you leave our EU mr Timeaction and I won’t be bothered by you and won’t have to bother you. British anti-EU propaganda is causing damage and so you will receive some reactions.

    10. yulwaymartyn
      November 4, 2014

      Peter. Of course. It is no different for the UK.

    11. a-tracy
      November 4, 2014

      There’s a solution John, offer free Dutch lessons in our high unemployment areas and tell people how fabulous and welcoming the Dutch are and how much better their benefits system is.

      1. David
        November 4, 2014

        The issue of language arose in a discussion I had with a with a lady from (East) Germany who settled here many years ago. She told me that in eastern Europe English is taught at most schools. Consequently, migrants want to head for the UK where they find communication easier rather than get stuck in countries with unfamiliar languages. All the recent immigrants I have met are hard working and decent folk, not the benefit-seekers so “beloved” of the tabloids and UKIP.

      2. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @a-tracy: not such a bad idea, and very generous! We make immigrants pay for their compulsory Dutch lessons. I never said we were generous for everybody.

    12. APL
      November 4, 2014

      PvL: “for populist propaganda”

      You mean it is following the will of the people. You know, like in a democracy?

      As usual I disagree with you Peter, the Tory party is following its own agenda.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 4, 2014

        @APL: “The will of the people” has been exploited and misused so many times in history! If you like “direct democracy” like in Switzerland, fine with me, I’d see that as different.

    13. Mondeo Man
      November 4, 2014

      Peter – The government isn’t falling for populism and propaganda.

      It’s having to react to catastrophic – and very real – losses in votes and membership.

      As far as I’m aware you don’t have a vote in Britain so what I think matters is more important than what you think matters – at least it ought to be.

      Besides. You are entirely wrong.

      I shall refrain from commenting on Dutch blog sites as I don’t see it as being any of my business.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 5, 2014

        Mondeo Man: EU migrants are EU business, thus my business as well. Why not take some free Dutch language lessons offered somewhere in the reactions to this blog today, and do join a discussion on a Dutch blog, as an EU citizen, you’re most welcome.

        After all the fact-free anti-EU hype, finally I read a few facts and studies reported. Why doesn’t the UK sort out the facts first? “UK gains £20bn from European migrants, UCL economists reveal” – in today’s British press.

        1. Mondeo Man
          November 7, 2014

          I don’t want to be an EU citizen.

          I don’t want to take Dutch lessons.

          I don’t want to discuss Dutch affairs as they really are none of my business. I wouldn’t dream of advising a Dutch politician what to do.

          I disbelieve the survey. It covered a limited time scale and it failed to deduct very real costs that contributors here mention all the time.

    14. Mondeo Man
      November 5, 2014

      Peter vL – I have made another comment to you which has yet to appear but in addition to that one:

      At the same time as Britain is undergoing revolutionary cultural change because it has embraced unmarried, same sex and single parenting and also actively discriminates against traditional marriage and traditional parenting we decide to import, unchecked people with very different cultural ideas to our own.

      There seems little point in the word ‘conservative’ much less the continuation of a Conservative party where nothing is actually conserved. If they wish to be ‘progressive’ then let them call themselves the Progressive Party and be honest about it.

      People have already worked this out for themselves and are not reacting so much to populist ideas as unpopular ones. Democracy in other words. One senses that you dislike people of inferior intellect to your own being listened to but this is what the Conservative party must do if it is to survive.


      We are told that ‘immigrants are hard working and contribute to society’ but we can’t possibly know because there are no checks and they are not subject to a selective process. What we do know is that there is:

      – a cost of living crisis
      – a wage crisis
      – a housing crisis
      – an energy crisis
      – a schools crisis
      – a prisons crisis
      – a hospital crisis
      – a security crisis (armed police now on our streets)

      The backdrop to this is that our national debt is increasing and our tax take is down. Welfare is, by far, our biggest expenditure and most of this is in-work benefits.

      Whatever we have is not working. The indications are that mass immigration is not a ‘net benefit’.

    15. libertarian
      November 5, 2014


      There are 1.8 million foreign residents of Netherlands

      There are more than 1 million ILLEGAL immigrants in the UK and a further 7.5 million legal foreign residents of the UK.

      Lecture us when you’ve got some numbers to talk about.

      Oh and it seems that not everyone in Holland agrees with you either


      “Since 1998 several new immigration and integration laws have been introduced. Without exception they have made Dutch immigration and integration policies stricter”

  4. Lifelogic
    November 4, 2014

    Well reducing benefits to people who have contributed (other than people with serious health problems) is clearly a sensible move anyway. Indeed anyone healthy getting benefits should surely do some training or public works in return. Any sovereign democracy worth its name, should have the right to decide who may and may not live and work there. Selective (not open) immigration is clearly essential to protect living standards and services. The UK (in principle) have it this the rest of the World why not with the EU the current arrangement are clearly racist again people from outside the EU.

    Cameron’s warmongering intervention in Libya has been a predictable disaster in making the migrant problem far worse too.

  5. Robert K
    November 4, 2014

    I have no problem with the free movement of labour. If I wish to employ a Romanian, then why should the state prevent me? If I wish to work in Italy and someone wishes to employ me, why should that government prevent this free contract?
    I do have a problem with the UK state being forced to subsidise cheap labour. A French family with, say, two children coming to the UK and working honestly at minimum wage would represent a significant net cost to the UK taxpayer, once housing benefits, state education, NHS etc. are factored in. Also, of course, it is a healthy subsidy for the companies who employ such labour.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 4, 2014

      Do you have a problem with paying for the British workers who are unemployed or underpaid thanks to the influx of cheap and biddable foreign labour?

      1. Robert K
        November 4, 2014

        You miss my point. If the state is subsidising cheap foreign labour it will also end up subsidising underemployed or unemployed UK citizens.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 5, 2014

          You miss my point, that even if the state does not subsidise cheap and biddable foreign labour it may end up subsidising unemployed or underpaid British workers.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 4, 2014

      What about having say 50 million people arriving in the UK from all around the World, might that give you a problem?

      1. Robert K
        November 4, 2014

        If 50 million people were going to come here they would have arrived by now, given the porosity of our borders, so your protest seems baseless.

        1. Timaction
          November 4, 2014

          560,000 was the last published gross figure of immigration in ONE year. The net figure is over 200,000. Who do you suppose is leaving? The young highly qualified and entrapenaurs or the unqualified or unemployed? Who is replacing them? You can work that out yourself. So the situation is unwanted and unsustainable in these small islands.
          We’ve had these obscene levels for over a decade. With our debts and austerity the spending on our public services can only reduce so the cake just reduces for everyone. The legacy parties……………just talk about doing something at some point in the future that gets further away and the problems get worse.
          The Tory so called renegotiation, that won’t happen, doesn’t even get to be voted on until we’ve had another 1.5 million migrants, so who will you be voting for next year on behalf of your children and grandchildren?
          Einstein said that the first sign of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome! I know what I’m doing.

    3. yulwaymartyn
      November 4, 2014

      Robert K

      I agree. That is the precisely the problem if you have a high number of low paid workers; the state has to intervene to even things up. Same with high cost housing; the state has to intervene to even things up.

  6. John E
    November 4, 2014

    We should switch to a benefits based system irrespective of E U immigration.
    The current system is unaffordable and has created an underclass that never work.

    But I guess it’s politically easier to blame the EU.

    1. John E
      November 4, 2014

      Typo. Meant to say we should switch to a contribution based system irrespective.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 4, 2014

      An underclass who never work and never even learn to work, often then going on to have many children at other expense and thus create the next generation of claimants.

      The system is at fault, they are perhaps behaving rationally given the daft system that pertains.

  7. The PrangWizard
    November 4, 2014

    The only way is OUT! And no more use of your elastic phrase ‘new relationship’ please. As long as you use it I will wondering where you stand. I’m not sure you are as ‘anti’ you claim. Why do you not simply campaign for ‘out’? It’s the party you love I suppose.

    Reply With out we will need various agreements so why don’t you join me and campaign for a new relationship – which will be based on trade. Or do you just want to lose the referendum because the big business community will be able to portray your view as dangerous? You need to understand who yur allies and friends are in this debate, instead of for ever trying to narrow your support by imposing doctrinaire tests.

    1. Duyfken
      November 4, 2014

      I suggest the UK would only be successful by starting from being “out” and then attempting to negotiate what we want to have back “in” such as trade agreements, rather than trying to re-take for ourselves just bits and pieces from the EU monolith. The latter would always be difficult if not impossible with the prevailing attitude of the EU hierarchy, and certainly impossible, imo, if we must rely on Cameron’s negotiating skills.

    2. Bob
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to reply.
      I think Messrs Barroso & Merkel have made it abundantly clear that membership terms are not about cherry-picking the bits you like and leaving the rest.

      If Mr Cameron thinks differently, then why has he failed to revealed the details of his demands? Answer, because Douglas Carswell was right – it’s just a con trick to see him through the next election.

      The British people are not stupid – maybe a little too trusting, but now they can clearly see that their trust was misplaced.

    3. Tad Davison
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to reply:

      I think this gives us a insight into what your true feelings are John. I thought you were against the Treaty of Rome with all the dangers it harbours for our inalienable right to self-determination?

      What are the red lines, and perhaps more importantly, what guarantees will Mr Cameron give the people of the United Kingdom that his attempts at a renegotiation will bring the degree of success that they are totally happy with and ensures we are masters in our own house?

      We don’t seem to have made much progress in the last forty years during which time we have received all manner of platitudes from Westminster politicians and promises of jam tomorrow if we sign today. But we DO seem to have paid an awful lot of money to an institution that we aren’t fully-fledged members of, and seemingly have no wish ever to be so.

      Everybody on the ‘yes’ side were busting a gut to belong to the free-trade area (which might have seemed a good idea when taken at face value), yet when I asked my own MP how much the UK’s membership of the EU has cost us in net terms since we joined, he failed to tell me because he knows he’s on a hiding to nothing.


      Reply Yes I voted against the Treaty of Rome and would do so again

    4. Max Dunbar
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to reply: ‘A new relationship – which will be based on trade’. Is that not what we had prior to membership? So out it is then.

    5. The PrangWizard
      November 4, 2014

      I am not clear what your ‘new relationship’ phrase means – does it mean from the outside or from the inside, can it mean either? I admit much ignorance. I do not see how we can be free of the EU’s clutches from the inside even on reduced terms and claim to have economic and political freedom which we all strive for. If we stay in it will continue to be a drain on our political debate and as now enormous amounts of time, money and intellectual energy will be wasted on it.

      And I should moderate my view for fear of what big business might say? Rather I would prefer we all continue to challenge the ‘extreme’ views of business and others that out would be a disaster. I saw Clegg pushing the lie again that 3m jobs depend on being in. We should describe as often as possible a scenario of what life on the outside could be; to shame their fear tactics. That is, if such as the BBC would give it a fair hearing, I see they are pushing their and the EU’s policy of the regionalisation of England, which seems to be going ahead by stealth.

      1. Mark B
        November 4, 2014

        I confess that, upon hearing the news over Manchester getting a Mayor, that I felt utterly betrayed. They have a plan, and no matter what we think or want, they are determined to ram it down our throats. Disgraceful !!!

        The ‘New relationship’ meme is designed not to frighten the horses. Although, he could just as easily e pushing the, Daniel Hanan and Campbel-Bannerman, EU-Lite idea, which would be a disaster.

      2. Bill
        November 4, 2014

        Agree with you about the BBC’s regionalisation agenda. Spent much of the day in the car listening to the radio and was surprised by how well the assumption of regionalisation had been built in. There must be high-level political connections to steer this sort of policy.

  8. Mike Stallard
    November 4, 2014

    I am in the privileged position of mixing with quite a lot of immigrants and they are great fun to be with, actually. They come over here to get decent wages and they spend time telling me how prices in (their own country ed) are the same as here, except that, after rent and tax, you have to live off just £100 a month! And then there is the bribery…
    Once here, two things happen.
    The first is that they notice, with disgust, that most of the British will not do the jobs which they are very grateful for. This gives them a real disdain for us Brits and they love to tell me about that too.
    The second is that they learn how to milk the system themselves. They are not stupid at all, and they soon learn in detail, with their own interpreters, what their rights are under the law. etc ed
    But welfare is there for a very good reason. It is not a political football or, worse, a bribe for the electorate, or, worst of all, false compassion. It is there because we cannot bear to see homeless and hungry young mothers wandering the streets with their children in the rain and wind. We cannot allow a rapist to walk the streets even if he is mad. We cannot tolerate minor theft in our superstores, bulging with goodies simply begging to be stolen by the starving poor. If we cut welfare or make is unfair, we will have to put up with all that and I am not prepared to do that. You face the recently dumped immigrant mum with her two silent toddlers yourself!

    1. Mark B
      November 4, 2014

      Mike, a good post. Problem is, there is only so much that can go around, and we are borrowing heavily to maintain are own lard-asses, and cannot easily accommodate more.

      I too have worked with many immigrants. And yes, they do know how to milk the system, and do !

  9. alan jutson
    November 4, 2014

    Perhaps many would agree with what you say John, as it is one way of moving forward, and certainly is better than doing nothing.

    But why does all this take so long to put into place ?

    It would seem to me that until very recent times and the rise of UKIP, and a National Newspaper campaign, the majority of our Mp’s were prepared to just kick this into the long grass forever.

    As usual the majority of Mp’s are way behind the curve, the longer they leave it, the more will arrive here, so when eventually and if we ever get a referendum on leaving the EU, those who have arrived and are able to vote, and will probably vote in vast numbers to keep us in, so that more family members can join them.

    Perhaps that is the real plan !

    1. Bob
      November 4, 2014


      “…those who have arrived and are able to vote, and will probably vote in vast numbers to keep us in, so that more family members can join them.

      Perhaps that is the real plan !”

      Go to the top of the class!

    2. Tad Davison
      November 4, 2014

      Many of us feel the same way Alan. It’s called an outrageous con!


  10. JoeSoap
    November 4, 2014

    This is a total mess.
    British pensioners living overseas obtain their state pension (technically a benefit) direct from the UK, paid for by UK taxpayers, although based loosely on their contribution record. Yet an EU immigrant claims working benefits here, without any reference to their working history or contribution record.
    The coalition government has failed to sort this out in any realistic way. Again, trimming the edges with Mr Webb’s restriction on state pension receipts by spouses who might never have lived in the UK is about the sum of it. Oh, and reducing significantly the possibility of savers putting away money for their pensions, and reducing the lifetime limit.
    As you state here, in over 4 years your government has been unwilling to change our working benefits system to a contributory one. That speaks volumes.

    1. Max Dunbar
      November 4, 2014

      If, as Dr Redwood said, the Lib-Dems have a veto on anything that the Tories propose then it’s no surprise that we have this mess. A party that was already in a minority in government and now commands the support of only a tiny proportion of the population calls the shots; a very left-wing party at that.

      1. JoeSoap
        November 4, 2014

        If that were the case then the Conservatives could have called time at any time in the past 4 years. Those leading the party are as complicit in this mess as the Libdems themselves.

  11. stred
    November 4, 2014

    If you, the Maire of Calais and just about everyone else except Guardian readers can see this why do you think no-one in the government, including the top ranks of the Civil Service, has been able to spot the obvious.

    1. Bob
      November 4, 2014

      “no one in the government, including the top ranks of the Civil Service, has been able to spot the obvious.”

      Of course they know about it. The fact that they choose to continue the subversion of the UK is deliberate EU policy. Britain has proved all too often to be an obstacle to european dictators – but not any more. We’ve been defeated by the enemy within.

  12. DaveM
    November 4, 2014

    Whilst benefit tourism is a matter which has been latched on to by Ukip and the like to stir things up, and is used as an “easy election winner” for other parties, I believe that most EU migrants come to the UK with the intention of working (not so sure about non-EU migrants; ITV, unlike the BBC, actually found people in Calais who openly admitted to coming for benefits).

    However, I’m sure the original intent was to benefit people like my father who worked in Brussels in the 80s (not for the EEC!!!) for 4 years – with lots of French, German, Dutch, and Luxemburgois people – and went home when the project was completed.

    Anyone who has school-leaver aged children, kids who want a summer job, or kids at university who now have a student debt (obviously no Scots there then) and who is still supporting 18/19 year-olds because all the traditional 18/19 year-old type jobs are being done by underpaid eastern european migrants will point to that as being the problem, not benefit tourism.

    So, leave the EU. Control our borders 100%. Use the benefit budget to top up low wages for our people who work hard and get paid little. Simple.

    Labour’s cynical migration policy – guaranteed to ensure more votes from foreigners on benefits/in low-paid jobs – could easily be trumped by a Conservative policy promising work and top-ups to English low-paid workers. That way, some people who live in despair and therefore don’t usually bother voting might actually vote Tory and give the party a chance of a majority. As it is, they’ll listen to Ukip, split the vote, and make things even worse.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 4, 2014

      Actually I would say that the Tory party has latched on to the issue of “benefits tourism” far more than UKIP. The primary issue, which is highlighted more by UKIP than the Tory party, is that our elected Parliament and government have effectively relinquished control of immigration from the rest of the EU. It not a case of just having for the time being relaxed control over the entry of the citizens of some countries because potential mass immigration of those people is not a concern, but having permanently and indiscriminately relinquished control over immigration from, and to a large extent through, all of the EU countries.

  13. A different Simon
    November 4, 2014

    You say benefits are universal but this is not the case because people who have built up savings or purchased a house are excluded from claiming benefits .

    What is your solution for British Citizens who have been unable to contribute , quite possibly because their job has been given to an immigrant >

    Are you advocating society deny them and their children assistance John ?

    It’s not right that the safety net should be reduced in size for British Citizens who need it the most just so so you can refuse benefits to benefits tourists .

    Why should Britain’s suffer because their MP’s have no gumption when it comes to asserting Parliaments sovereignty ?

    Discriminate in favour of your own citizens . Please .

    Reply Please read what I wrote I said people would qualify for benefits by making contributions or by being educated here, to cover the cases of UK citizens who can’t get the first job to make contributions!

    1. Bob
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to reply.
      What you say Mr Redwood is fine and dandy but since your party is controlled by the Wets your words will butter no parsnips, and can only serve to mollify the remaining Tory supporters who cannot face up to the reality what the Tory Party has become.

  14. Mondeo Man
    November 4, 2014

    The in-work top ups free for all (as well as general free for all benefits) is seen as nothing less than a deliberate assault on indigenous people by their own political elite – which is what it is, in fact.

    This refusal by our government to treat its own citizens preferentially is the primary reason why UKIP is doing so well.

    Our people have generally understood that global competition means work being outsourced and have accepted this – but for our own government to insource competitive labour and even those seeking to compete for housing with free unemployment benefits ?

    An utter outrage. A morally repugnant situation which ought not need explaining but does – ’til we’re blue in the face with frustration.

    Instead of taking the piss out of UKIP David Cameron should be thankful that they aren’t the sort to set cities on fire – but then perhaps that’s WHY he feels safe taking the piss out of them.

    As Mr Miliband discovered last week (2p or not 2p) that we are even importing beggars and Big Issue sellers to compete with our own destitute. (One never used to see a Big Issue seller outside of London but they’re everywhere now – a ruse to get National Insurance numbers)

    1. Mondeo Man
      November 4, 2014


      “… but for our own government to insource competitive labour and even those seeking to compete for housing with free unemployment benefits ?”

      Should read:

      “…but for our own government to insource and subsidise uncompentitive labour with taxpayer funded top-ups…”

      I fail to understand how your party was able to bring down British industries through the withdrawal of subsidy (a worthy aim) yet cannot see how grotesquely unfair it is to subsidise people to come here and take our jobs.

      The message seems very clear to an increasing number of UKIP converts. One could be given the impression (what with the piss taking) that your party doesn’t like us.

      1. Mondeo Man
        November 4, 2014

        PS – Just read Richard Littlejohn

        2p or not 2p (Miliband’s embarrassing beggar dilemma)

        The ‘beggar’ (alleges she receives state benefits etc)

        5 years into a Conservative led coalition.

        They tell us they’re the only party to get us out of the EU but don’t mean a word of it.

    2. Roy Grainger
      November 4, 2014

      ” ….. a ruse to get National Insurance numbers”

      Is it ? I didn’t know that. Interesting.

  15. nick
    November 4, 2014 Is even more telling

    As guardian of the Treaties and to safeguard the integrity of the single market, the Commission made a preliminary assessment of the Cypriot law and relevant decree under the rules on the free movement of capital set out in Articles 63 et seq. of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

    Member States may introduce restrictions on capital movement, including capital controls, in certain circumstances and under strict conditions on grounds of public policy or public security. In accordance with the case law of the European Court of Justice, measures may also be introduced for overriding reasons of general public interest.


    Do not believe people who say that you cannot impose controls on migrants.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 4, 2014

      “In accordance with the case law of the European Court of Justice”

      So our MPs have now passed ultimate control of our national borders to almost entirely foreign lawyers sitting on a court based in Luxembourg and working on the basis that their paramount task is to promote a process of “ever closer union” leading to a pan-European federation, and we should think that is OK?

  16. Mike Wilson
    November 4, 2014

    ” …That still leaves open the bigger issue of the UK being able to control the numbers of job seekers who come and take jobs, which the Prime Minister has said he wishes to sort out in his renegotiation. …”

    I have to say I do find it annoying the way this is being endlessly trotted out by Tories. Do you think we don’t hear people like Barusso and Merkel saying ‘THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN’. You begin to make yourselves sound a bit daft and a bit like the Labour party – just parroting the same thing over and over again. This is not up for renegotiation.

    Reply They said the same thing to Mrs Thatcher about a rebate of our contributions then gave her one

    1. alan jutson
      November 4, 2014


      John as you well know, Margaret Thatcher was of a rather different and stronger mindset than Mr Cameron. Major, Blair or Brown.

    2. agricola
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to Reply

      Sadly their is no one in the present government with the stature to match her. Even if there were they would be squashed for being impertinent.

    3. Mike Wilson
      November 4, 2014

      Reply to Reply. Yes, look how well that rebate worked out. Our contributions have gone up by a factor of 4 since 2008. We’re now up to a net contribution of eleven thousand, million pounds.

      It is clear dealing with the EU is one way traffic. But you know that really.

      Maybe they’ll give a little bit of something on immigration, then take it back and we’ll have more people than ever on this over crowded island.

      I can’t see why the government can’t simply pass a law, or make a statement, to the effect that: ‘Our infrastructure cannot currently cope with more people. We have a housing shortage, lack of school places and a health service creaking under the strain. We cannot take any more people. Our population is now being frozen at ‘whatever it is now’ and we will operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy in future. Obviously, this has to be run in conjunction with our own birth/death rate.’

      Who could argue with that? Just DO IT. If they kick us out of the EU – so be it.

      Reply Mr Blair gave away a substantial part of the rebate Mrs Thatcher negotiated. This Parliament does not have a majority to vote as you wish.

      1. Iain Gill
        November 4, 2014

        Re “This Parliament does not have a majority to vote as you wish” yea well change the candidate selection process to pick people more in tune with the majority of the population.

      2. Mike Wilson
        November 4, 2014

        Reply to reply to reply:
        ” … This Parliament does not have a majority to vote as you wish. …”

        I know that. We all know that. I just wish you and other politicians would stop peddling the line that there will be a meaningful negotiation. We STILL haven’t been told what Cameron will attempt to negotiate. It is all hot air and obfuscation and treating the electorate like fools.

      3. r
        November 5, 2014

        Reply to reply :

        “This Parliament does not have a majority to vote as you wish.”

        You are correct, which is why the 4m voters who voted for UKIP in the recent Euro elections should be checking very carefully the EU voting intentions of any GE 2015 candidate for whom they are considering to vote.

        The Scottish voters seem to have understood that they need to vote for what they want and are now heavily voting SNP instead of Labour.

        The English voters now need to do the same with regard to our EU membership.

        Unfortunately many voters will again fall for the lie that it is possible for the Conservative Party of the UK on its own to change the EU’s rules on such fundamental issues as freedom of movement.

    4. Brian Tomkinson
      November 4, 2014

      Cameron is no Thatcher (nor Thacherite for that matter) and so much more has been ceded to the anti-democratic organisation called the EU since your colleagues shamefully knifed her in the back. It’s worth remembering that it was her increasing Euroscepticism that proved her undoing with the pro-EU Conservative party.

    5. Mark B
      November 4, 2014

      Repy to reply

      Lady Thatcher did not get all that she wanted. Also, she was right ! The thing is, the UK Government both knew and negotiated the Treaties, all of them, and signed them without our consent.

      So no, not the same thing at all.

  17. Narrow Shoulders
    November 4, 2014

    Each and every migrant has made the decision to move here, presumably to better their lives. That being the case there is no imperative for them to receive benefits of any kind, either in or out of work.

    Benefits are a support to the (needy) UK population from UK taxpayers. If a migrant finds work pays insufficiently to support themselves here without benefits then they can freely move elsewhere. Similarly if the migrant has no work they can freely move to other EU countries where they can find work.

    It is my understanding that we are not legally obliged to pay out these benefits to migrants but our government chooses to spend our money this way. First action should be to withdraw all unearned income from the state to anyone not holding a UK passport. Later these benefits should be made contributory for UK citizens too.

    We gold plate EU regulations, this practice should stop. As an independent woman frau Merkel will understand that no means no.

    1. Mark B
      November 4, 2014

      I agree. But the EU does not see you or I as UK Citizens but, Citizens of the EU. This we can than the Conservative Government of Sir John Major and the Maastricht Treaty which I am sure our kind hist voted against like all the other things he has voted against etc etc etc.

  18. Denis Cooper
    November 4, 2014

    In my view the matter of benefits has always been very much a secondary issue, used to distract attention from the primary and far more important issue that we have no control over the numbers of people who come here from the rest of the EU, whether or not they claim benefits at some point. Or indeed over their character, bar outright and serious proven criminality, and even then they can come back here after being deported.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 4, 2014

      Quite. It is part of the politician’s repertoire of conjuring tricks to deceive the electorate.

  19. David
    November 4, 2014

    The problem is the benefit system in the UK. It needs changing. In 2000 I got my first well paid permanent job. I was amazed to find that a pro single parent I know from Spain was given better housing than I could afford. Of course if she had been English it would still have been wrong – the problem is the benefit system.

  20. agricola
    November 4, 2014

    Face up to reality, there will be no re-negotiation of any meaningful substance while CMD is around. Even in the doubtful thought that he might genuinely want it, the EU will not let it take place. We have to solve our own problems without recourse to the agreement of the European Commission.

    Our economy begins to improve and new jobs are created. These are very often at the base of the earning tree. Many indigenous Brits consider them worthless against what they can get in Welfare hand outs. These jobs are then filled by low income, often talented immigrants from Europe who are very grateful for the opportunity to begin at the bottom and climb the tree. The only downside to EU immigration is the criminal and begging element who wish to join in the Welfare bonanza.

    We must leave the EU so we can choose who comes to work in the UK be they from Europe or anywhere else. Second we must end the Welfare bonanza for the indigenous population. Single, childless individuals can get up to £18,200 PA. in housing benefit. Childless couples can get up to £26,000PA. which is the equivalent of around £34,000 PA for anyone working and paying income tax. Individual pensioners by contrast only receive around £6000 PA having worked and contributed all their lives.

    If you have the courage to put an end to this insanity, you might then be able to look after the genuine needy in our society such as the chronically ill, the disabled, and mentally handicapped. Not forgetting those that need care in their old age and the terminally ill.

    1. Mark B
      November 4, 2014

      A very nice post, with much that I agree with. Thank you.

  21. Bert Young
    November 4, 2014

    The benefits handed out without a real test on the recipient is a system seriously at fault ; the media often focus on “cheats” to highlight the extent of this fraud . Benefits applicable to immigrants ( EU and non EU ) are also seriously abused for the same reason and it is this laxity that gives this country the label of “the land of milk and honey” – no wonder at the camps in Calais and the desires of (some ed) to get here fast .
    Adopting a tougher stance with the EU on how we wish to control immigration has much merit – as are the controls to protect our borders , however , the administration of the benefits system must be toughened up to prevent the east give-aways .

  22. Mike Wilson
    November 4, 2014

    This benefits ‘issue’ is a complete red herring. Most immigrants come here to work and get on in life. A small percentage are on benefits. More fool us. We should make benefits depending on contributions and require work permits for people wanting to come and live here – unless they have independent means.

    1. alan jutson,
      November 4, 2014


      Agreed it is the system to blame and which needs to change.

      Human nature determines that SOME PEOPLE will simply work the system to their own advantage if they possibly can.

      Thus we need to make that manipulation impossible.

    2. stred
      November 6, 2014

      Most of the EU immigrants I meet are well aware of Housing Benefit and Income Tax rebates for families supported by low income jobs. These are not available elsewhere and as an extra bonus we speak the real Esperanto.

  23. behindthefrogs
    November 4, 2014

    Surely there is no reason why benefits cannot be restricted to people who have worked for at least three (say) years. This could include everyone including resident nationals. There would need to be a number of other possible means of qualifying, like for example including a period of full time education. This would in the eyes of the EU put everyone on the same basis.

  24. Robert Taggart
    November 4, 2014

    Benefits + Europe = Trouble !
    Only ‘home grown’ people should have access to our benefits system – we do not want foreigners coming here taking our wealth.
    Signed – Native Scrounger !

    November 4, 2014

    The mentality rather than any political ideology of the British Establishment in regard to its people has been Control. Sometimes benevolent. Sometimes not.

    Every single movement and behaviour of our citizens is filmed, noted, recorded where even ones driving licence has over 57 overt and covert devices on it to identify the human being.

    So, the benefits system, benevolent, controlling and insistent on full and absolute information on human beings has backfired due to joining the EU. Now human beings can avail themselves of the benevolence of it without the control and without the sacrifice of their privacy. Too bad!

    Aside from the obvious badness of the misuse of “the system” perhaps it may jog MPs memory of their upbringing where they were probably taught right from wrong and given some form of religious values, to take a look at the human (mixture ed) they have created and which they service in our fair land. And fix it!

  26. Kenneth
    November 4, 2014

    I dare say there is an economic argument to allow many immigrants into the UK. I also hear reasonable arguments from universities and companies who complain that immigration restrictions are harming our ability to attract top talent.

    However these arguments ignore how communities are changed through immigration.

    Similarly I hear Labour/BBC/LibDems argue that British people benefit from living and working in other eu member countries.

    Once again this ignores the majority of people who do not have the funds, the connections or the inclination to live abroad.

    These are elitist arguments by elitists and for elitists.

    I prefer democracy.

  27. BobE
    November 4, 2014

    My concern about the EU is not benefits or immigration its the loss of sovereignty I want my government and courts to rule the UK, not some EU commission of clerks and pen pushers.

    1. stred
      November 6, 2014

      And the UK government is not composed of cleks and pen (or keyboard) pushers?

      1. stred
        November 6, 2014

        Clek- a good new word for a keyboard pushing clerk.

  28. Mactheknife
    November 4, 2014

    Lets hope this comment is published seeing as my two previous comments on other topics have not.

    I agree that we have to reduce the “pull” effect of our welfare system. The recent report has shown that if immigrants lose benefits it will substantially affect their income here in the UK and bring it back to levels closer to their home country.

    However along with this we must tighten and then enforce regulations preventing them from remaining in the country without work. The Home Office shold be better equipt to remove these people along with foreign criminals and must ignore the PC brigade. We must also prioritise exisiting citizens for services (health, education etc) and housing. Alternatively we must restrict free access to our services for 5 years worth of contributions as a minimum.

    This is one way of beating the EU treaties and ECHR/ECJ rulings. But why on earth does it take so long ? Its nearly 5 years and they are only jst talking abot this and whatever happened to the British Bill of Rights.

    All waffle and no action.

    1. Mactheknife
      November 4, 2014

      Sorry for the typo’s. Computer keyboard problems.

  29. They Work for Us?
    November 4, 2014

    Our population, fuelled by considerable immigration continues to grow against the wishes of the majority of the population.
    We are a relatively small set of Islands but we have half the population density of say France. Why do we accept even more immigrants to further congest the physical living space, congest services and dilute the native culture of our own indigenous population. Humorously there must be a good case for the “harmonisation of population density”, a wonderful Brussels type phrase with the UK taking no more immigrants or refugees until this has been achieved.
    Immigration like many issues is too important to be left to politicians to decide and should be decided by referendum. If the answer is “no more” then the function of politicians is to just do it or resign if it is against their conscience and make way for someone who will.

  30. Richard
    November 4, 2014

    “Going further and reducing the benefits “pull” of our system further should be relatively easy within the confines of current EU law, if the UK is prepared to change the basis of its welfare system. “

    It will surely be easier to leave the EU than to change our generous non-contributory healthcare and benefit systems ? If neither option is taken then certainly continuing mass immigration will finally lead us into financial and social ruin.

    “That still leaves open the bigger issue of the UK being able to control the numbers of job seekers who come and take jobs, ….”

    Correct, but this is absolutely non-negotiable as we have been told time and again in no uncertain terms by both the EU Commissioners and by the leaders of major countries such as Germany and France. Mr. Cameron knows this himself but thinks that the talk of renegotiation will buy him the election and time.

    The corporates, who run the Conservative Party, are very happy with the EU’s freedom of movement of people because it enables them to maximise profits by keeping wages depressed in the UK through worker competition. Especially when their profits are further boosted by the UK tax payer funding of in-work benefits and because immigration means they no longer need to run any training or apprenticeship programs.

    Remember that Mr. Cameron wishes the EU to expand all the way to the Urals (Kazakhstan speech 01/07/2013) and to include Turkey so the corporates can continue to access large numbers of workers.

    As for Labour, they are just happy to have hundreds of thousands more poor people migrate into the country to expand their electoral base.

    Furthermore, immigration into the UK means emigration from another EU country. So these countries will become even poorer through the loss of their young and talented people thus pushing further migration to the UK.

    1. Iain Gill
      November 4, 2014

      This is clearly nonsense.

      In Denmark the newspapers are often telling stories of EU citizens that have been deported from Denmark for falling on hard times and being unable to support themselves. If they can do it in Denmark I see no reason why they cannot do it here.

      1. stred
        November 6, 2014

        In the Schengen EU it is impossible to deport people from one country to another. The person could be driven over the border but could then freely return. What seems to be possible is to stop paying benefits, such as HB, which are not available in other parts of the EU by making them dependent on previous contributions.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    November 4, 2014

    So, each person living in the UK must contribute to a government run benefits fund and can only receive benefits when their balance in that fund has reached £10,000. Is that the idea?

  32. David Edwards
    November 4, 2014

    I would be inclined to go one step further and suggest that article 48(3) treaty of Rome says that workers can travel between member states only for the purposes of taking up offers of employment actually made. It seems clear to me that what was envisaged in the founding principles was that someone from a member state could apply for and accept employment in another member state. I think it is intellectually dishonest of Angela Merkel et al. to base their arguments for entirely unrestricted borders on the founding principles when it seems clear that that position is at best tenuous.

  33. John Robertson
    November 4, 2014

    As is suggested some of this is our own making. We need to change our benefit system for non asylum seekers but dare say that is not as easy as it sounds. There must be a template or two if we look at how other European countries do it, why do they travel across France to get here after all. What do the French offer? We must be able to curtail a lot by revising our laws.

  34. Mark
    November 4, 2014

    Some ONS data on migration for work, study and family reasons year to March 2014 in thousands:


    British……..20……..17……….10……….. 10…..]….(31)……..(1)………..3…………(5)

    EU15……….44……..25……….26………….7…..]…..28……….14………. 21………..4
    Total EU…..80………56………38………..16…..]…..56……….40……….30……….11

    Other……….16………..2……..88………… 30….]……3……….(17)……… 83……….26
    Non EU …….37………11…… 124………… 54….]……8……….(30)……..117………46

    Total………..137…….85……171………… 80….]….34……….10……….149……….52

    OCW = Old Commonwealth, NCW = New Commonwealth. Figures in brackets are net emigration. Other reasons for migration net out close to zero, as can be verified by the net total of (34+10+149+52) = 245,000 in the table, against 243,000 counting all reasons. Total net immigration is (50,000) British, 131,000 EU and 162,000 non EU.

    It is notable that many EU people come looking for a job, rather than to take up a job, whereas non EU people tend to move to and from established jobs, except for those students who do go back to look for a job abroad. It is also notable that there is a large excess of students who do not go back after they finish their studies, but instead add to the workforce: data on those who apply to remain suggest there are also significant numbers who remain illegally.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2014

      So in the year to March 2014 171,000 persons came into the country claiming to be students while just 22,000 such persons left the country, outflow equals only 13% of inflow, and net immigration of 149,000 from that source alone.

      The Tory party promised to get net immigration down to “tens of thousands”, and even on the most elastic interpretation of that as meaning “less than a hundred thousand” it has failed miserably just on the number of supposed students who come here and then stay indefinitely, let alone with the other categories.

      It never used to be like that; it was more the other way round, with maybe 10% (of a smaller number) of foreign students being allowed, maybe even invited, to stay here after completion of their courses and the rest going back home.

      Those heading up the academic sector like to claim that it is one of our great export industries but in reality it is a massive importation business, importing large numbers of people through a backdoor route for immigration, and this is being done with the full approval and encouragement of Tory ministers.

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2014

      Anybody who still believes that the Tory party is opposed to mass immigration into our country, against the clear wishes of the great majority of the citizens, really hasn’t been watching events over the past five years or more.

      Firstly, start talking about “net” immigration to disguise the true magnitude of immigration, 473,000 or about 0.8% of the population in the year up to March 2014 alone, and that is just the officially recognised legal immigration.

      Secondly, focus public attention on some of the relatively marginal components of the inflow and then claim to have dealt with them or to be about to deal with them – the students at bogus colleges, and the bogus marriages, and the comparatively small numbers camping in France in the hope of making an illegal entry, the criminals and the more blatant benefit tourists – while taking great care to leave the major inflows untouched, or even make efforts to increase them.

      That is the size of it, and the question is why those leading the Tory party have so little regard for those who elected them that they are behaving like this.

  35. Javelin
    November 4, 2014

    As I’m involved in the FX markets it would be nice to hear your take on the strengthening dollar and what you think will happen in the EU and Asia.

    I can see lower US inflation and a small increase in exports from the EU. But the largest effect will be a huge impact on credit availability and cost in Asia. I do not think HK or China has sufficiently mature investment portfolios backing their huge debts. I can see a collapse in spending on HK and China and a subsequent collapse in exports from Germany over the next few years. I think Herr Merkel will need all the friends she can find.

    I think ultimately the rise in the dollar represents the success over Anglo capitalism over Euro socialism. There will be a long term decline and collapse in the Euro over the next give years. As I expect the conservatives to be in power their job will be to manage the decline of Europe. This will mean a movement to the right across the political spectrum and the challenges that will bring.

  36. petermartin2001
    November 5, 2014

    I must say there’s been an enormous amount of hypocritical nonsense emanating from the pro-EU left recently. It has been accepted by the Liberal (later Lib Dems) and Labour Parties for at least half a century that the UK needs to have a controlled immigration policy. The overwhelming majority opinion, both inside and outside those parties is that it is simply not possible for everyone who wishes to come to the UK to be allowed to come.

    There are some on the left such as those from the Socialist Workers’ Party who argue against any immigration controls into the UK. If they wish to make their case on that then fair enough, but they are unlikely, at least IMO, to find much support for their position.

    So I would like to just ask why those who have been quite happy to go along with their parties’ policies on controlled immigration previously, now suddenly find themselves more aligned with the SWP?

    Why is it not racist to argue for controlled immigration from the Indian subcontinent but it is racist to argue against uncontrolled immigration from the economic basket case known as the European Union?

  37. petermartin2001
    November 5, 2014

    How about insisting that everyone who is unemployed should do some sort of community work? Painting schools and hospitals. Restoring parks. Mowing the lawns of the elderly. Helping out in whatever capacity the local community might find a need for their services. If they were needed to work in the private sector then they could be contracted out to cover the cost of their wages.

    They would be taken off the dole and given a job, in other words. The pay wouldn’t be huge but it should be just about enough to live on.

    Anyone who was involved in any sort of black economy work, or even criminal activity, wouldn’t want one of these jobs so the take up rate would be somewhat less than 100%. The scheme would only apply to EU immigrants if there was a similar scheme operating in their country of origin. That way the EU couldn’t keep dumping its unemployed on the UK. The EU countries would be shamed into having to offer a similar scheme for their unemployed workers.

    It may be slightly more expensive than paying out social welfare but it is always better to pay slightly more and get something for your money , rather than less and get nothing at all in return.

  38. Know-Dice
    November 5, 2014

    Another report out today/yesterday “showing” how immigrating has a positive economic benefit.

    BBC Link –

    Is this true, does it take all factors in to consideration, like the effect immigration has on salaries and job availability to existing residents?

    I don’t know…but certainly most of these types of reports come with some built-in bias to favour their point of view…

    1. Mark
      November 5, 2014

      I suspect the report has more holes than a Swiss cheese, though I must admit I have yet to read its detail (such as we’re allowed to see). I note that the BBC have considerably enhanced their report over the day as it has become apparent that it doesn’t support the claims being made by the pro-immigration lobby. Prof Rowthorn has critiqued the paper’s authors here:

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 6, 2014

      I would point out that if a country only attracts immigrants who are fit, single and childless young adults then its government does not have to bear the same level of costs for their healthcare, and for the healthcare and educational and social care of offspring, as for the average of the existing population with a normal age distribution; that is, unless they stay in the country long enough to have children, and then later age and start to ail, and end up being a burden on the taxpayer just like members of the existing population.

      I can’t say for sure whether or not this study has taken those longer term effects into account, but I strongly suspect that it hasn’t and the pattern of net fiscal effects summarised in the article tends to confirm that.

      Of course in principle that could be sorted out by deciding that only young, healthy and childless immigrants will be allowed to stay in the country, and once they no longer fulfil those conditions they must leave, and to ensure that they can be expelled they will never be permitted to become citizens no matter how long they have been in the country; but there is no chance that such a harsh, in fact inhumane, policy would ever be put in place in the UK, and instead we would only continue with what is just a demographic Ponzi scheme.

      1. petermartin2001
        November 6, 2014

        “……….with what is just a demographic Ponzi scheme”

        Yes, very good.

  39. CdBrux
    November 5, 2014

    Would making the benefits system contributional , like many other EU countries, thus helping to ensure the immigrants to the UK are more likely to be contributing economically be compatible with the way the new Universal Credit system has been designed?
    We hear all sorts of mutterings as to if the IT system will ever properly work (as I understand it is going through a long process of slow roll out and ‘bug fixing’ which seems sensible to me) – it would look bad if it was finally introduced accross the country but could not support a contributory system as it was not scoped and designed to do so!

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