Daily ExpressEU migrants flock to ‘soft touch’ Britain
THE number of Europeans claiming benefits in the UK has more than doubled over the past decade – at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds.
By: Anil Dawar
Published: Thu, April 3, 2014
Fewer than 50,000 EU citizens in 2003 were relying on British state benefits – but that figure rocketed last year to 121,000, according to government data.
If all migrant claimants were on the minimum handout of £56.80 a week, the cost to hard-working taxpayers would be £357million a year.
But the true figure will be far higher when extras – such as housing and child benefits, disability and carers’ allowances plus tax credits – are taken into account.
These statistics are released after campaigners warned that 500,000 EU migrants will flood into the UK over the next five years.
The revelations about the unwanted EU burden on Britain’s already over-stretched welfare state have provoked outrage.
Ukip’s Tim Aker said: “These shocking numbers expose what happens when the Government irresponsibly opens the door unconditionally to people from the whole of eastern Europe who come from much poorer countries.
“We must have a firm but fair immigration policy that welcomes those who come here to pay in before they take out and not those who take out more than they put into the tax pot.
“Under Ukip, new migrants would have to be able to support themselves for five years before they could claim benefits.”
Jack Hart, of the Freedom Association, said: “While the Government has worked hard to reduce the country’s overall welfare bill, its hands are tied when it comes to tackling the large sums that are claimed by EU migrants.
“The only way the UK can really continue to reduce its welfare bill is to regain control over its own immigration policies and control the number of EU migrants who arrive and are entitled to claim welfare benefits.”
The latest figures are contained in Department for Work and Pensions statistics.
Of the 46,970 EU citizens living on state handouts in Britain in 2003, just 3,890 were from new member states.
By 2013, the total number of Europeans being supported by the British taxpayer was 121,280.
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