New housing benefit ban for jobless migrants

Published on Monday, 20 January 2014 10:40
Written by Daniel Mason

Immigrants' access to welfare payments will be further restricted under plans set out by two senior government ministers today.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the home secretary, Theresa May, and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, said unemployed migrants would be denied housing benefit.

They said: "From 1 January this year we are banning individuals from receiving out-of-work benefits until they have been living in the UK for three months.

"And we will go further: from the beginning of April we will be removing entitlement to housing benefit altogether from this group. In addition, EU migrants can only claim jobseeker's allowance for six months unless they have genuine prospects of finding work."

They argued that the changes, to be introduced in April, would mean migrants were unable to "take unfair advantage of our system".

And the pair accused Labour of a "shameful betrayal" of British workers as "the number of foreign people in jobs rocketed to record level" under the last government.

According to the BBC, a Labour spokesman said the party was "supportive" of the latest proposal in general but needed to see more detail.

However, UKIP's head of policy unit Tim Aker described the move as "posturing" and claimed the Conservatives were "panicked" ahead of the European elections in May, with polls suggesting the Tories could come third behind Labour and UKIP.

"These changes will still mean that migrants can come and claim jobseeker's allowance, but that they may be challenged if they seek to claim additional benefits on top. It isn't good enough."

Aker said people who come to the UK to settle permanently should have to financially support themselves for five years and pay into the system before being paid any benefits.

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