Monday, 14 October 2013

Benefit Tourism row rumbles on

The issue of benefit tourism has really exploded in the news today

Yesterday, the Telegraph published this article: The Scandal of Benefit Tourism must be tackled

A key excerpt of this piece is the following:

"According to Laszlo Andor, the EU Commissioner in charge of employment, social affairs and inclusion, an EU report to be published this week demonstrates that it is not true that eastern European migrants come to Britain to exploit our welfare system. Furthermore, he intends to bring a legal action against Britain that, if successful, would make it easier for visitors to obtain benefits here. Yet a cursory glance at the facts contained in the report reveals that EU immigrants do indeed put a considerable strain on the UK welfare state. It states that more than 600,000 “non-active EU migrants” are now living in the UK – equivalent to the population of Glasgow – at an annual cost to the NHS alone of some £1.5 billion". 

The row has rumbled on into today, for example this BBC article, Benefit tourism claims: European Commission urges UK to provide evidence

And now the row carries on.

There are wider themes to this argument, essentially around the idea of EU immigration.

In a poll conducted by the We Demand a Referendum Now Party last month, immigration came out as the top power that people wanted to repatriate.

Here we have a case of the European Commission calling for the UK Government to publish the facts on benefit tourism as they are disputing them.

This is part of the wider argument that proves exactly why we need a national debate on the issue of the European Union. Immigration is an integral part of this debate.

Powers that control freedom of movement, for example, could only be repatriated after a treaty change that would need to be unanimously agreed upon by all 28 member states – Ireland would even need a referendum on the decision to change the treaty! We have no room to renegotiate.

It's time to lay all the facts bare so the people of this great nation can make a decision - are we in, or are we out? 

Time for David Cameron to grasp the nettle on Europe once and for all.

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