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Revealed: Just one in ten EU migrants could be affected by David Cameron’s ’emergency brake’ benefit clampdown

  • HMRC figures show 111,000 of 1.2m migrants claimed tax credits in 2013/14
  • 84,000 households contain at least one EU migrant claiming tax credits 
  • Stats deal blow to PM’s claim that emergency brake will cut immigration 
David Cameron, pictured in Warsaw today, claimed his 'emergency brake' would have a 'substantial' impact on reducing EU migration to the UK but figures released by HMRC cast doubt on his claims
David Cameron, pictured in Warsaw today, claimed his ’emergency brake’ would have a ‘substantial’ impact on reducing EU migration to the UK but figures released by HMRC cast doubt on his claims

Barely one in ten EU migrants could be affected by David Cameron’s benefits clampdown, official figures suggest.

They show that 111,000 migrants who arrived in the UK or had been issued a National Insurance number during the previous four years received tax credits in 2013/14.

That amounts to less than one in ten of the 1.2 million who registered for work in that period, it was claimed.

The statistics, released by HM Revenue & Customs, also show that 84,000 households contained at least one EU migrant who had received tax credits in the past four years.

Downing Street said the figures showed that his ’emergency brake’ on benefits would have a large effect as tax credits would be removed from these people.

They said that, including in-work benefits such as housing benefit, the numbers affected by the brake would top 120,000.

But critics said the numbers affected were ‘quite low’ compared to the number of migrants – meaning the brake will have little impact.

Mr Cameron’s proposals for reforming Britain’s relationship with Brussels include an emergency brake to restrict benefits for migrant workers with benefits phased in over the four-year period.

He kick-started his two-week charm offensive today as he tries to persuade EU leaders to agree to his reform package and on a visit to Warsaw this morning he won cautious backing for his ’emergency brake’ proposals from the Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo – who previously expressed concerns at curbs on benefits.

The Prime Minister was also handed a boost by Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who hailed Britain as a voice of ‘common sense’ at a press conference in Copenhagen this afternoon.

But Jonathan Portes, principal research fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said the figures released by HMRC showed the PM was guilty of misleading the public over the impact of his ’emergency brake’ plans.

Cameron's plans for an emrgency brake have come under fire from Tory Eurosceptics. But he won backing from Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo, pictured with the PM in Warsaw this morning David Davis yesterday predicted proposals for an emergency brake would have 'no impact whatsoever'

Cameron’s plans for an emrgency brake have come under fire from Tory Eurosceptics, such as David Davis, pictured right, who yesterday predicted they would have ‘no impact whatsoever’. But Cameron won backing from Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo, pictured left with the PM in Warsaw this morning


The PM won support for his EU deal from Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, pictured alongside Cameron in Copenhagen this afternoon


The Prime Minister visited Warsaw, above, as he kick-started his two-week charm offensive to persuade EU leaders to sign up to his renegotiation


Mr Portes said: ‘This new data shows that the Prime Minister’s claim that 40 per cent of recently arrived European migrants were dependent on benefits was at best selective and misleading.

TWO HOURS ON THE RACK: THE SHARPEST BARBS THROWN AT DAVID CAMERON BY TORY MPS
Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg led criticism by claiming the 'thin gruel had been further watered down'
 Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg led criticism by claiming the ‘thin gruel had been further watered down’

Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, said: ‘The thin gruel has been further watered down. You have a fortnight, I think, in which to salvage your reputation as a negotiator.’

Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, meanwhile, suggested the legal assurances contained in the proposals were the equivalent of ‘male bovine excrement’.

John Redwood, the Tory MP for Wokingham, also criticised the deal, insisting: ‘As we are driven in the EU vehicle towards ever closer union and to political union how does it help to try and fit a couple of emergency brakes that lie within the control of the EU and not us?’

Corby MP Tom Pursglove said: ‘Whilst the Prime Minister is trying his best to renegotiate the position, would he not agree that the reforms as they stand do nothing to make the immigration system in this country fairer regardless of where people come from in the world?’

Grandee Sir Bill Cash said: ‘But now it will be stitched up by a political decision by the European Council and not by a guaranteed treaty change at the right time and this, I have to say to the Prime Minister, is a wholly inappropriate way of dealing with this matter.’

‘Given that well over a million European migrants registered for National Insurance numbers over the period in question (and far more since) this suggests that claim rates among newly arrived migrants are, as researchers have always argued, quite low.

‘Once again this suggests that the PM’s focus on this issue is misguided – the ’emergency brake’ will have only a modest impact on benefit receipt, and is highly unlikely to have a significant impact on migration flows.

‘This latest data still leaves some important questions unanswered. In particular, the Government is still refusing to tell us – for obvious political reasons – how many recent European migrants are recorded as being active in the UK labour market.’

The figures will vindicate Tory Eurosceptics who reacted angrily to Cameron’s plans for an emergency brake earlier this week.

David Davis, who narrowly lost out to Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership race, ridiculed the proposals as ‘so unambitious as to be a waste of time’.

‘The prime minister ‘s emergency brake on migrant benefits would not stop a push bike,’ he said in a speech in London yesterday.

‘And we now discover we would have to ask Brussels’s permission to even use it.

‘In any case, the whole concept of an emergency brake is flawed.

‘Migrants are coming to Britain from Eastern Europe not to claim benefits but to earn more money.

‘My figures show that they can readily earn three to four times as much working in low-skilled jobs in Britain.

‘No amount of tinkering with our welfare rules will make a blind bit of difference to immigration numbers and the Prime Minister is being disingenuous to pretend otherwise.’

Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, the leader of Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU, agreed with Mr Davis, saying the emergency brake would have no impact on immigration as in-work benefits were not a factor in drawing people to the UK.

‘The issue of in-work benefits isn’t a draw factor and indeed in terms of, this is a two-way process, no country has more of its people working in other developed countries than Britain – more than Poland, more than any other country in Europe,’ he said.

‘Go to a pub in Paris, go to a pub in Madrid you will hear English voices.

‘It’s not a draw for them, either, there’s all kinds of factors why people choose to move around the European Union to work. I don’t think that’s one of them.’

Prime Minister details plans for ’emergency brake’ on benefits

Davis claimed that plans to curb EU migrants' access to benefits with an 'emergency brake' would have 'no impact whatsoever'

Davis claimed that plans to curb EU migrants’ access to benefits with an ’emergency brake’ would have ‘no impact whatsoever’


The Haltemprice and Howden MP said George Osborne's new minimum wage, which will rise to £9 by 2020, will encourage even more EU migrants to come to the UK 

The Haltemprice and Howden MP said George Osborne’s new minimum wage, which will rise to £9 by 2020, will encourage even more EU migrants to come to the UK


Asked whether Mr Cameron believes the proposed ’emergency brake’ will cut immigration, a Downing Street spokesman said that migrant families were currently able to claim an average of £6,000 a year in tax credits and some 10,000 were claiming £10,000 or more.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond dismissed Mr Davis’ attack, saying people who wanted Brexit ‘are obviously going to attack whatever the package contains’.

He suggested the UK would be able to act to bolster sovereignty over EU laws, telling the BBC: ‘We have the power, quite separately from our European Union partners … to do things in our own domestic legislation.’

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond dismissed Mr Davis' attack, saying people who wanted Brexit 'are obviously going to attack whatever the package contains' The pro-EU Alan Johnson backed up Mr Davis' remarks by saying the emergency brake would have little impact on migration

 

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, left, dismissed Mr Davis’ attack, saying people who wanted Brexit ‘are obviously going to attack whatever the package contains’ but the pro-EU Alan Johnson, right, backed up Mr Davis’ remarks by saying the emergency brake would have little impact on migration


Mr Cameron was looking at ‘how we deliver our commitment to a British Bill of Rights as part of that process’, the Foreign Secretary said.

‘Just because we have done a deal with the European Union – assuming we get to that deal – doesn’t in any way inhibit us from passing domestic legislation to clarify things we want to clarify in our own law.’

Despite concerns from legal experts, Mr Hammond said other lawyers believed ‘there are ways to address this issue, maybe not the perfect solution but there are ways to assert the supremacy of our Parliament and to give us a much stronger position than we have had in the past’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3433897/David-Cameron-s-emergency-brake-benefit-clampdown-affect-just-one-ten-EU-migrants.html

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