New rules spell `benefits bonanza` for Eastern European migrants
04/05/2011 20:59 - webmaster
UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall has urged the Government to spell out how it intends to prevent hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans from travelling to the UK to draw state benefits, following a change in the law.

“The working populations of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia now have the right to draw benefits in the UK on the same basis as UK citizens. We are talking about a combined population of over 74 million people,” said Mr Nuttall, UKIP Euro MP for the North West.

“Thanks to a European Union ruling and the impotence of our own government, the benefits they are entitled to include income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

“We know that a week’s unemployment benefit in the UK is worth more than a weekly wage for many in countries like Hungary. We also know that there are 38,000 children in Poland already receiving UK Child Benefit.

“What steps will the government be taking to protect our tax-payers from this benefit ‘bonanza’, which is potentially disastrous for our budget, at a time when the British people are facing cutbacks and austerity?”

“When these states joined the EU in 2004, our government failed to put in place proper transitional arrangements for immigration, as other EU countries did, the Home Office estimated that 13,000 people a year would come here looking for work.

“Instead more than 800,000 came over the next four years – and that was to look for work. Now that they can claim benefits from the moment they arrive, I would like to know what steps the government has put in place to limit the demand.

“And bear in mind that the new rules will equally apply to a further 70m-plus EU citizens if Turkey joins the EU, as David Cameron has proposed,” said Mr Nuttall.