How to deal with immigration concerns


Ministers have concluded that if they want to stop Romanians and Bulgarians getting some forms of welfare they may have to stop some Britons getting them too.

They are now considering changing some of the rights of British citizens in order to make it easier to limit access to healthcare, housing or benefits to new arrivals to the UK in a way which stays within EU law.

The government is drawing up a package of measures designed to bring Britain into line with policies already in use by other European member states and already deemed legal by the European Court of Justice

Councils will be urged to make greater use of new powers they have already been granted to give priority on council house waiting lists to those with local connections - whether born, educated or with relatives in their area. This could make it harder for people to move from one part of the country to another.

Those claiming non urgent NHS treatment may be asked to prove that they have been here for a year or more and are entitled to it. I suspect ministers will shun ideas for a new NHS entitlement card for all.

Ministers are also examining the possibility of linking some benefits to contributions which would have the effect of excluding new arrivals from eligibility.

This is what the Labour MP Frank Field was advocating at the weekend and would mark a radical break with the past.

Long before the Eastleigh by-election opinion polls showed that immigration was a key concern for many voters.

The imminent arrival of an unknown and unknowable number of Romanians and Bulgarians who are all free to work here next year is pushing it up the political agenda.

Labour are planning a Party Political Broadcast on the subject on Tuesday and a speech later in the week.

The discussions I am hearing about in Whitehall show just how hard it is to do anything about that anxiety.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 242.


    So, any publisher of any information exposing Ukip style immigration 'concerns' as baseless scaremongering is, by definition, biased and unreliable. Well that's certainly one way of closing the curtains.


    But if we reverse the flow (so a net 163k p/a population fall), then that's a city destroyed every 5 years. Is that any better than building one? Wouldn't have thought so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    225.Jeremy Lee
    ...standards of literacy far in excess of most of what I read here from the white van fraternity

    Why do the pro-EU/immigration minority (bordering on marginal), believe that the people who disagree with them are less intelligent? It is arrogance and a very short step from classical fascism.

    Incidentally Jerry, missing from your post are: one comma, one semi-colon & one hyphen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.


    Oh, right that well known organ of neutrality, The Independent... the one that employs those leading political lights, Laurie Penny, Owen Jones and the plagiarist Hari? Pardon me if I dont take the smearing too seriously.

    And, you can hardly query anyone elses unfunded promises when you've spent your theoretical banker bonus tax ten times over already.

    We had 13 yrs of your underbelly...

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    238. Z1A900
    Which report have i shown that misrepresents anyone? The reports are based on factual analysis and data collection ie facts.
    If you take the time to read the numerous reports from migration observatory you will also see consultations that show peoples concerns with aspects of immigration has increased. Or perhaps you can give your personal experiences on immigration?

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Quite frankly lefty11 people don’t need to read reports to see what is going on around them.Just like Mary Beard who was caught out a few weeks ago on Question time quoting a Council report which misrepresented how people on the ground felt on immigration, you do exactly the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    231. Steve_M-H
    No Steve, UKIP'S cherry picking is in a different league and in my view, darker. Yes, on other issues they are running a populist agenda. That's great for crippling the Tory vote and for that I salute you. But at general election you will have to work a lot harder to mask the true underbelly

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.


    you keep telling yourself that mate. If you're lucky enough to live in a tribal area, you'll be fine come 2015. They're too thick to know any different and even if they do, what do you care? Aint nuthin' gonna get your nose out of the trough.

    And thats all that matters, cos your voters sure as hell dont.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    3. Most of the negative testimony re- immigration I hear is not through direct voter experience but normally regurgitation of tabloid melodrama.
    4. Having researched the topic, I know it is one of the most politically misrepresented issues.
    5. Most of the immigrants I have met I would be happy to have as my neighbour.
    I conclude your post is more of a self reflection.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    #224 they come over to the uk because they get money for nothing. they leave 1 dump to go to another dump but get money for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    aduphanel: What's so frightening about net 163k p/a immigration into a country of 63m souls?
    ~ ~ ~
    Because with an actual population perhaps closer to 70m than 63m, even 163K pa requires a new city to be built every five years. We can't do it. The last decade or more has proved that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    I knock on enough doors to know what voters think about immigration. It’s a hot topic. I'm not saying that uncontrolled immigration is fine or that better policies in this area are not needed. But,
    1. I have barley witnessed any negative impact myself in regard to immigration.
    2. My business has been impacted negatively due to lack of middle-class spending not because of immigrants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.


    I never said the situation wasnt complicated did I, you fool? EVERY political party cherry picks its own stats to back its cause. UKIP is no different.

    Difference is that the three main parties are riddled with their own Common Purpose troughers who dont give a stuff for the electorate. As unsuited to Govt as they may be, at least UKIP showing they're listening. Dismiss that at your peril.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Immigrants and their families should only be entitled to the benefits they would receive in the country they come from for ten years.
    If they are unemployed for more than 5% of that time,that time would be added to the ten years.
    Fair play.
    Pay in to get paid out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    That's the problem with UKIP's message. They are perpetrators of half truths, exaggerations and scaremongerings. And a lot of them are proven hypocrites.
    ~ ~ ~
    Rather like N.Labour?

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    227. Steve_M-H
    Yes I am saying that the oxford report is unbiased and has mixed conclusions. That's the point. The immigration issue is complex. UKIP'S version of truth is cherry picking. That's the problem with UKIP's message. They are perpetrators of half truths, exaggerations and scaremongerings. And a lot of them are proven hypocrites. That's 'the message' Steve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.


    Nothing I said is untrue, lefty. Huffington isnt worth the paper its printed on - nothing is with Medhi "All Non muslims are cattle" Hassan as its "political director". The Oxford report IS inconclusive.

    You just cannot bear ANYONE questioning "the message". You lot just will not listen to the voters. Thats why you and the TUSC got nuked in Eastleigh and UKIP came second.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.


    One of those who lives his life through the eyes of his prefered think tanks views, whilst showing the dissenfranchised contempt of the reality they live and see day to day. Democracy must be bridled for this type to flourish and their fear of true democracy is plain to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    I welcome the prospect of highly motivated immigrants. Apart from the contribution they make to our economic competitiveness, within a single generation the type of people who are prepared to travel half way across a continent in search of a better life are likely to have standards of literacy far in excess of most of what I read here from the white van fraternity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    There are more than enough people in this country already. What connection have we with Bulgarians and Romanians?
    Why don't they emigrate to Russia or Turkey?

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    218. Steve_M-H
    And that's your problem in a nutshell Steve, there for all to see. The migration observatory produces independent analysis and data which is used by all political parties. UKIP'S propaganda is the worst kind of cherry picking and that’s why you don’t like the independent research because it waters down right wing bigotry and scaremongering with facts.


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