Benefits tourism will rise

East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has attacked an EU ruling which says that the UK it has two months to start paying social security to non-UK nationals.

If this doesn’t happen the Commission may decide to refer the UK to the EU’s Court of Justice. Under UK law, certain social security benefits - namely Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, State Pension Credit, Income-based Allowance for Jobseekers, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance - are only granted to persons with a “right to reside” in the UK.

While UK nationals have the right to reside solely based on their UK citizenship, other EU nationals have to fulfil additional conditions in order to pass a so-called ‘right to reside’ test.

Ms McClarkin MEP said the EC ruling was direct interference in the UK’s domestic affairs by unelected bureaucrats:

“Once again the EU is sticking its nose into the business of member states. If people from other EU states with the right to reside are living and working here then yes, they should be entitled to the same benefits as everyone else as they are contributing to society. But if people do not pay into the system, why should they have free entitlement to what comes out?

“British taxpayers will want to know why their hard-earned money should now be directed straight into the pockets of any EU national who chooses to come here and immediately make a claim. Social benefits should not be a free for all – especially in these difficult and constrained financial times.

“This will lead to a boom in benefits tourism, and with our generous welfare system Britain will be the destination of choice.”