“This is all smoke and mirrors. The rules Cameron is saying will apply to migrants from the EU must, under European equality law, also apply to native Britons... The European Commission is already taking the UK to the European Court of Justice to make sure that all EU citizens have the same rights as UK residents." - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP.
•David Cameron’s speech on immigration is a clear echo of UKIP policy. The only difference is UKIP could deliver the promises by pulling the UK out of the EU, but the Government will once again let down the British public.
Since being humiliated at the Eastleigh by-election the Government have come forward with policy idea after policy idea on the issue of migration to counter the threat of UKIP. Now he is making proposals to block benefits and housing for recent migrants from both the wider world and the EU.
“David Cameron is not just trying to borrow our policies, he is even stealing our sound bites,” said Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader this morning. “We have been warning about the way in which the NHS is becoming the International Health Service for years, so I suppose we should be flattered.
Farage went on, “This is all smoke and mirrors. The rules he is saying will apply to migrants from the EU must, under European equality law, also apply to native Britons.
“The European Commission is already taking the UK to the European Court of Justice to make sure that all EU citizens have the same rights as UK residents. And the Romanian foreign minister Titus Corlatean has said he received official assurances from the British Government that EU rules allowing migrants to claim benefits will be adhered to by the UK. The European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding made it very clear in that new Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to the UK will have the same rights as those already there under the free movement directive.
“Other rights that are automatic for UK nationals, but that residents from other EU countries must pass a "right to reside" test to qualify for are also very easily bypassed by claiming to be self employed. That includes child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit, jobseekers' allowance and unemployment support allowance.
“Everyone I have spoken to in the NHS also says quite categorically that their primary instinct is patient care. Doctors simply do not have the time nor the means to test who should qualify for free treatment and who shouldn’t.
“Cameron will only create a whole pile of bureaucracy that will affect everyone in the UK, cost the taxpayer millions and will still be riddled with loopholes and therefore totally ineffective.
“It is very clear that the only way to stop mass immigration from EU states and prevent abuse of the British welfare system is to leave the EU. No amount of grandstanding or bluster from Conservative Party leaders will change that simple fact.”