Yet another scare story about immigrants today. As I’m currently researching attitudes to race, asylum and immigration, and the rise of the BNP, I get to hear a lot of people complaining about Britain being a ‘soft touch’ and how ‘they’ are all here for state benefits and not to work, and of course how this money should be for the indigenous people.
The World’s Greatest Newspaper (!) published the article below on its front page. Especially when you read the stuff from the taxpayers’ alliance person, it seems to be saying that one in ten Poles are coming here and signing on, and getting all the state benefits possible as they arrive. This is exactly what people don’t like: people taking out without putting something in.
The first thing I’d like to quibble with is the headline figure of 55,000 migrants claiming benefits. It looks like they’ve just added up all the figures from each table in a Home Office report about the status of those coming from the A8 accession countries (http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/6353/aboutus/accessionmonitoringreport9.pdf). However, by far the biggest of the numbers for benefit claims are for child benefit and child tax credit. Now, I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess that some of these people are probably claiming both. I am. That’s the deal when you’ve got kids. Therefore the total should be at least 17,500 people fewer.
More importantly, I want to know if they can just come here and sign on without working. So that was when I had to dig a little deeper.
It turns out that the whole point of the Worker Registration Scheme is to ‘restrict access to benefits’ as Mr. Taxpayers’ Alliance wants. Essentially, A8 nationals have to gain a right to reside here before they can claim income-related benefits, and for the first year they only have a right to reside while they are working. They can’t just come and claim JSA or income support, or for that matter child benefit or tax credits. They have to be in work, which means that there isn’t a 10% of these migrants sitting idle on taxpayers money. If they’ve been in work for a year (with less than a month out of work) then they then gain the right to reside like other EU citizens (actually EEA but most people haven’t heard of the European Economic Area). The details can be found at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/hbctb/circulars/2006/a9-2006.pdf.
What this means is that the only way East Europeans can take something out of the system is by putting something in, just like everyone else (remember, young Brits can claim income-based JSA or income support without ever putting anything in). This is just as the angry people of Britain want. In addition, almost all of these benefits were child benefit, something that even those earning £100,000 and more can claim. Do the people really think that fat cat city businessmen deserve child benefit more than Polish families that come here to work on the minimum wage?
From the Daily Express: the World’s Greatest Newspaper
55,000 migrants claiming benefits
By Tom Whitehead
Home Affairs Correspondent
AROUND 55,000 East Europeans who have flooded into Britain to work are getting millions of pounds a year in benefits.
More than one in 10 Lithuanians, Poles – like those pictured arriving at London’s Victoria coach station – and others are receiving state handouts.
These range from child benefit, jobseeker’s allowance and pension credits to even getting a roof over their heads. And with more and more pouring in, the strain on the welfare state is set to soar every month.
But the true number claiming benefits is likely to be nearer 70,000 because the self-employed are not included in the official statistics.
Taxpayers are already faced with an annual bill of at least £60million, while more than 650 migrants are being housed at public expense.
The figures were revealed yesterday as Tony Blair’s pledge to kick out failed asylum seekers lay in tatters after removals plummeted by more than a quarter.
Critics condemned the shambles, saying: “We are going backwards, not forwards.”
The numbers who have arrived from the former eastern bloc since 2004 topped the half-million mark yesterday, while the army of self-employed, who are not recorded, will lift that even higher.
It is a devastating blow to the Prime Minister. who threw wide open the door of the jobs market when the eight countries, including Poland, joined the EU two-and-a-half years ago.
Critics renewed calls to maintain tight restrictions on workers from Romania and Bulgaria when they join the union in January.
It also comes a day after the Daily Express revealed that British police are looking at hiring Polish officers because of the surging number of migrants.
Blair Gibbs, a spokesman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “For immigrants, Britain is the best of both worlds. It is easy to get a job and easy to live comfortably without one. No wonder so many have come. One in 10 EU migrants now claims benefits and this number is likely to grow.
“Taxpayers already pay a fortune for a bloated welfare system that creates dependency and discourages work.
“And they will have to pay even more in the future unless we control our borders, restrict access to benefits and reform the system.”
Home Office figures yesterday showed that 510,000 Eastern Europeans have now registered under the controversial Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) since it started in May 2004.
More than 307,000 are from Poland, although it is believed the size of the Polish influx is even greater. Others come from Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
But the amount claiming benefits has soared by 29 per cent since the last update in the summer, with 54,856 now in receipt of or claiming handouts.
It includes 35,448 receiving child benefit at up to £17.45 a week and 17,512 getting tax credits which could be between £1,365 a year for a single worker and £5,300 a year for a couple with children.
There are also 353 in line for income support (at £57.45 a week), 859 in line for jobseeker’s allowance (also at £57.45 a week) and 32 in line for state pension credit (at £43.55 a week).
Council housing is being provided for 128 and local authorities are providing housing support for a further 524.
It means the taxpayer is likely to cough up at least £60million a year to support those who have been let into Britain to work.
Workers from Eastern Europe were partly blamed last week for unemployment hitting a seven-year high.
The total of jobless Britons jumped to 1.7million in the last three months, with the number of people working in manufacturing slumping to a 165-year low.
Mr Blair said between 5,000 and 13,000 a year would come from Eastern Europe when he announced an open door policy.
Those estimates are dwarfed ever more each time the Home Office issues the latest WRS figures. Another 59,365 came in between July and September this year.
It takes the total to 510,000, but the true number is likely to be
nearer 700,000 because the self-employed are not included in the official statistics.
Once again Poles account for the lion’s share and numbers are soaring, with 307,660 now here.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK said: “These figures show that there is still no sign of a slowdown in Eastern Europe immigration.
“With Romania and Bulgaria not just on the horizon but on the doorstep, the case for reducing immigration from elsewhere is now cast-iron.”
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis added: “This totally undermines the Government’s woeful assertion that only 5,000-13,000 EU migrants would come to the UK each year and shows that we are right to call for immediate restrictions on entrants from Bulgaria and Romania.”
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