Duncan Lewis

UK to be made the toughest country in granting benefits for foreign migrants says David Cameron

Date: (26 February 2013)    |    

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In an interview with the Daily Express the Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he would ban migrants from being able to automatically receive free legal help in cases involving benefits, housing and other civil claims.
He pledged to make the UK the toughest country on benefits for foreign migrants and he would like to completely overhaul the benefits system for migrants as he believed that the current system did not pass the ‘simple common sense test’.
The prime minister added that he had asked Chris Grayling the justice secretary to create a new residency test designed to ensure migrants were not given instant access to legal aid services in civil court cases.
Mr Cameron said UK was fair country and a welcoming country but not a soft touch and that it should be made the toughest country instead of the softest.
He called for doing more on the issue where he said that one of the aspects which the government was coming to a fairly early conclusion was that legal aid was not for non-UK nationals or for civil cases, or for people who were facing housing cases or benefit cases.
A proper residency test was needed for these cases and a consultation on a need for such test was due he added.
He said he had told his ministers to tear up their departmental briefs and come up with new and innovative ways to ensure UK was not seen as a soft touch by migrants.
His comments are being seen on the backdrop of the numbers of new migrants that is being expected to come to the UK next year. Almost 30 million Romanians and Bulgarians are expected to gain the right to live and work without any restrictions in Britain in 2014 under European “freedom of movement” rules.
Though the Home Office has repeatedly refused to put any number on the anticipated arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania the ministers are concerned that any guessing might blow in the face as it happened in 2004 when a prediction was made that only 13,000 would be moving to Britain from Poland and other eastern European countries then. But what followed was a big wave of immigration seen in the UK from these countries.
A report from MigrationWatch, a think tank, claimed that 50,000 people a year would arrive until 2019.