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Migration cap: Lower than 43,000?

Nick Robinson | 11:15 UK time, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I have now learned that the migration cap that the home secretary will announce today will actually be lower than 43,000 because it will exclude senior staff transferred to Britain by their companies. However, I'm told by Home Office sources that if you add the number of senior staff who entered the UK last year to the new cap you do, indeed, reach a figure of 43,000.

UK Border sign

 

This was the highest figure recommended by the migration advisory committee which included so-called "intra-company transfers" in their recommendations. The government's decision to exclude intra-company transfers means that next year's figure for the number of skilled migrants entering the country could be higher or lower than 43,000. It could be higher or lower than the number who came in last year. It means that, in effect, there is no firm cap on skilled migration since the numbers entering the country will depend on the decisions of companies about how to deploy their staff.

The so-called immigration cap was always rather less than it seems. Immigration from within the EU cannot be capped. Migrant workers were only ever one of four immigration flows into the country - the others being students, family members and illegals. Now, we learn that the cap on migrant workers is only a cap on certain categories of workers.

Am I being too cynical to think that ministers would like a headline figure which sounds like a dramatic cut when, in fact, it isn't?

PS. This is not to suggest that this government is not limiting immigration. Its proposals have been welcomed by the hawks at Migration Watch. In the next few weeks they will publish proposals to cut the number of students on below-degree-level courses coming to the UK - the number last year was 160,000.

Update 1420: I await the home secretary's statement with interest. The latest I'm told is that 43,000 is equal to the new cap plus last year's level of intra-company transfers. However, the tougher policy for ICTs to be unveiled this afternoon means that the figure will be lower.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Is the BBC determined to keep running the same stories in different formats until someone from the left emerges to offer some support?

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 2.

    As the largest influx is from within the EU lets get out of the EU....

    Discuss.

  • Comment number 3.

    2#

    Doesnt seem to have hurt the Norwegians at all. New Labour, Blue Labour.

    SSDD, as a Stephen King film once described it.

  • Comment number 4.

    At 12:07pm on 23 Nov 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:

    Is the BBC determined to keep running the same stories in different formats until someone from the left emerges to offer some support?
    ....................
    Yes!

  • Comment number 5.

    @ rockRobin7

    Could I ask why you have a signature 'It's a great time to be a tory...'?

    Do you support the torys regardless? I realise there are a lot of tory supporters and a lot of labour supporters that post on these boards. The rediculous thing is that for the same problems, both sides always blame each other.

    Forgive me, as I'm not trying to have a personal dig at you. It's just that I find that a lot of people who are interested in politics tend to have incredibly rigid viewpoints with regards to party loyalty, which to me is quite an absurd concept.

  • Comment number 6.

    jizz @ 5

    Robin doesn't worry about sounding absurd. Badge of Honour, in fact.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well given that party loyality depends completely on the moods of the nation, and those moods are constatnly changing there are very few rigid defining points that identify each party. One of the biggest ones is obviously the Immigration policies and the EU, if we want to have a decent discusion about the validity and transparency of immigration policies then party feuds need to be ignored.

    With the amount of idiots running companies and involved in politics should there really be a cap on skilled and proffessional immigrants?

    I thought the whole point was that the immigrant should not burden the state nor deprive UK citizens from government aid.

  • Comment number 8.

    'Its proposals have been welcomed by the hawks at Migration Watch.

    Is there a list of descriptive terms/metaphors, etc, ruthlessly impartial in application one is sure, that can be deployed in editorial in this manner?

    For every hawk is there a dove? And if so, are they appended on the basis of political dogma, or just on whim?

    It would be nice to know. Not sure it's in the document referred to here:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml

  • Comment number 9.

    Sub-optimal debate. The key requirement is to have clear (and extremely permissive) rules governing who can come and settle here, over and above those we must accept in order to fulfill our Human Rights obligations. Such rules – which shouldn’t have race, religion, ethnicity or any of this sort of thing as a factor – to be properly enforced. Then we all know where we stand. What we shouldn’t do is get hung up on the numbers game – the 430,000 or whatever. Let’s not lose sleep over that.

  • Comment number 10.

    Immigration has to be seen in the context of outward migration as well. However, this attempt to control the inward flow is welcome in the context of what has gone before.

  • Comment number 11.

    No-one's really that bothered by intra-company transfers: these people have jobs already, and they don't tend to stay more than a year or two. It's only by stretching the definition that they can be called "immigrants" at all.

    But it's the "skilled workers" that seems such a fuzzy area... I know two men, one Polish, one Iraqi, who entered this country as qualified doctors, yet they work in low-paid jobs that are nothing to do with medicine. The medical jobs just weren't there for them, but they both still earn far more than they would back home. I've nothing against these two men personally, they are both just trying to do the best they can for their families, but the fact remains that that's two less jobs available for English people. I think there really should be some form of restriction on what work a "skilled" worker can do: if they use certain skills to enter the country, then they should work in the area they are qualified in, to justify using those skills in the first place. There seems to be be no monitoring of people once they're in, which is where the system falls down...

  • Comment number 12.

    The contortions which the coalition are going through on this are most amusing.
    Paying the price for the Conservatives having no coherent immigration policy which actually addresses the issues as they find them but are trying to shoehorn all the conditions to fit a number they have plucked out the air to please public prejudice.

    So the skilled immigration cap is wangled to basically be a non-cap which any half decent global will be able to circumvent with ease, just add to the paperwork for doing it. Effect, basically zero on the overall number.

    I await with amusement the headmaster of Eton complaining that the foreign students form an important revenue stream for the school which they cannot do without if the numbers are capped (just in case they don't go home afterwards). The language schools sector have already defeated the last Labour attempt at restriction which now needs parliamentary debate and law to be passed.

    The largest single source the government can do nothing about and unless they want to hold the EU in/out referendum there will remain nothing they can do about it. The only thing which will reverse it is by having no jobs and no prospects of one - which of course will mean there are none for British residents either.
    Just stopping those the Government can control coming will not resolve the main problems which the public moan about because they are not the main cause of the issue.

    I await the end game where the government will be offering large sums to British nationals to emmigrate so they can get the net immigration number below their "cap" for NET immigration which remains the goal.

  • Comment number 13.

    8#

    Yes..... the liberal intelligentsia/left wing intellectuals and everyone else is a tory.

  • Comment number 14.

    11. At 1:02pm on 23 Nov 2010, Graphis wrote:

    No-one's really that bothered by intra-company transfers: these people have jobs already, and they don't tend to stay more than a year or two. It's only by stretching the definition that they can be called "immigrants" at all.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    IF that was the way they were being run, then yes, that would be accurate. But that is not the case. Hence all the fuss about ICT's. The APSCO document I referred to in the previous blog is suggesting that instead of bringing them across in this way that they be given visas instead for the duration of the project or transition or implementation. Once completed, they can return to their home company/country of residence, the task for which they were transferred having been achieved.

  • Comment number 15.

    9#

    Yeah, but it doesnt affect you though, does it Saga? Probably doesnt affect anyone you know either. Hence, your laissez-faire couldnt care less attitude. Also, its politically uncomfortable for you because your party made such a complete and utter horlicks of the entire thing.

    Its got absolutely nothing to do with race - unless you include the multicultural aspects highlighted by Migrationwatch and others - and everything in this case, to do with the bottom line.

    All well and good for you to call it sub-optimal, so long as you're still giving the oppressed Polish immigrant women in the Dry Cleaners in the High Street "progressive looks" of support.

    For those whose roles have been and continue to be offshored, not to mention those who are being undercut by EU and non-EU migrants in both public and private sectors (and to think, Hatties Equality Act would have compelled even more of this to have happened, had it not been killed off last week) it is anything but "sub-optimal".

    Its precisely because Labour would not address and would not debate the issue, much less do anything about it that the debate is long overdue, much as you might try and slap it down.

  • Comment number 16.

    As predicted in my comment on the previous thread - nothing serious when it comes to the reality.

    Wait and see the details of all these weasel words before you form an opinion. This is not even the biggest source of immigration.

    Nu-conservative = nu-labour + cuts.

  • Comment number 17.

    #9 suggest we have as many as can stay at sagamix and hatties house. They can HOT bed if they want. Hattie has a big house with a big roof. Well 2 protestors managed to stay 24hrs on the chimney so she could have some Hot beds their too. So long as they were undercutting the locals that would be ok.

    Saga it seems strange you want a free market in labour but nothing else.
    Is that the same view as TBlair just to upset the right ?

  • Comment number 18.

    Can we pls have a blog on immigration ?
    suggest title

    Was EP ahead of his time ?

  • Comment number 19.

    If immigration from the EU is a problem, then change the law , we are still a sovereign nation capable of making and applying our own laws , if the EU doesn't like it then too bad, Britain can still retain the right to control it's own borders , what if anything can Europe do about it ? As far as the rest of the world is concerned there should be no recruitment unless or until there is no one in Britain who is capable of filling the particular job.

  • Comment number 20.

    Smoke and mirrors again.

    This has all the hallmarks of Mrs Thatcher's manipulation of the unemployment statistics of the 80's. Then some of the unemployed were hidden by becoming incapacity claimants - and see where that got us.

    So, will we be having the same deabte in the future over when is an immigrant not an immigrant? At the moment the answer appears to be limited to "when they are an intra company transfer". How many more re-defintions of "immigrant" will there be before Mr Cameron will be able to declare that the annual totals are in the tens of thousands?

    If one is going to set the loose the populist immigration beast of bile and spite, don't be surprised if a few statistical manipulations will not see it back in its cage, pliant and docile.

  • Comment number 21.

    It seems like the perfect coalition announcement to me. There is a cut in numbers to save the PM's face, the cut is not really going to have an impact (because its small and if you need skilled people you source them from within the EU rather than outside it) to save the DPM's face. Also the Business Sec is pleased because business can just carry on as normal.
    The real losers are the voters who want to see action on this. However, given that the PM and the Foreign Sec are flogging Britain around the world as open to do business, in order to create jobs so they can be re-elected, it was never going to be a drastic change of policy.
    All pretty much as I expected to be honest.

  • Comment number 22.

    "17. At 2:04pm on 23 Nov 2010, IR35_SURVIVOR wrote:
    #9 suggest we have as many as can stay at sagamix and hatties house."

    I think Saga's unused bedsit in Swindon would be a better venue. Except he wouldn't buy in to that. Socialism is all well and good but if it affects him personally, Saga seems to lose his enthusiasm for it.



    "In a few minutes, on 23 Nov 2010, IPGABP1 will write:

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.............Andy Pandy

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.............Kindergarten

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh..............Nurse, my head is stuck in the bucket again!"

  • Comment number 23.

    "20. At 2:17pm on 23 Nov 2010, PaulRM wrote:
    Smoke and mirrors again.

    This has all the hallmarks of Mrs Thatcher's manipulation of the unemployment statistics of the 80's. Then some of the unemployed were hidden by becoming incapacity claimants - and see where that got us."

    Agreed that manipulating stats like that was wrong. Of course, Mrs T stopped being PM 20 years ago so presumably such manipulation stopped.

    Especially when Labour came to power in 1997.

    13 years ago.

  • Comment number 24.

    #19 kaybraes
    'If immigration from the EU is a problem, then change the law, we are still a sovereign nation capable of making and applying our own laws, if the EU doesn't like it then too bad, Britain can still retain the right to control it's own borders, what if anything can Europe do about it?'

    You seem to be labouring under the delusion that our political, ahem, elite have a problem with this kind of immigration. It's cheap labour, and docile, and they couldn't be happier. If only they could do away with the grumbling electorate their lives would be perfect.

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 It would seem that mentioning a certain MP from the past has caused the MODS a problem.

  • Comment number 26.

    People of UK must realise this is a political gimmick.

    This is just political gimmick and wont work at all to meet the goal of bringing down the migration numbers.

    Indian IT companies who for name sake have business establishments here in UK are exempted from this cap and are tweaking the £40,000 salary limit in many ways by initially contributing to the NI and then taking it back when the employee leaves forcefully to their company's pocket.

    I am an immigrant and I know what the big IT companies are doing to find the loopholes to just make this policy a ridiculous one. Overall NIL impact.

  • Comment number 27.

    kaybraes @ 19

    I am not an expert in the arcane world of EU law but as I understand it there is absolutely NOTHING the UK can do to prevent any of the 450 million citizens of the EU moving to the UK (and vice versa).

    It is just silly to say we are a sovreign country. The simple fact is that in some areas we are not. And both Tory and Labour governments have created that situation. Now from my point of view that is no bad thing - except that the decisions seem to have been taken by the elites rather than by the people.




  • Comment number 28.

    And it is for this reason that this migration issue is simply posturing so that the rather dim Tory right think something is being done when in fact it is not.

  • Comment number 29.

    The truth of the matter is these days there really is very little difference between the main political parties on many many issues. They are like different brands of washing powder. The advertisers get paid to make you think one is better than the other.

    The sad thing is that so many posters on here seem to want to debate whether OMO or Ariel is better.

    It is a great time to be an Ariel user!

  • Comment number 30.

    Labour in government with an incredibly weak immigration policy and even weaker implementation of that policy.

    Conservatives get into government and decide on a fundamentally flawed policy which does not address the real situation.

    Labour say "your immigration policy is rubbish"

    Conservatives say "it's your fault that immigration is a problem"

    Labour say "maybe, but your policy wont work"

    Conservatives: "you don't have any better ideas, and it's your fault anyway"

    Labour: "can't you think through another solution"

    Conservatives: "don't have to, it's your fault so we'll do what we like"


    In the end Labour have no brighter ideas, and the Conservatives foolishly stick to a pathetic attempt to solving the problem because that's what the party says they should do.

    Wouldn't it be nice if they said "let's all sit down together and look at the real problem, and come up with viable solutions."

    Too much to ask? Until we can get rid of the childish fools in westminster that are only interested in being better than the other team we will not be able to have any effective policies.

  • Comment number 31.

    27 - "Now from my point of view that is no bad thing - except that the decisions seem to have been taken by the elites rather than by the people."

    So you're saying that you like the decision but don't like it because you don't like the people who made it?

    Sort of like if David Cameron warned you not to cross the road because a lorry was coming, you'd step out anyway because you didn't like the person who warned you?

  • Comment number 32.

    fubar @ 15

    I'm not trying to "slap the debate" down, I'm engaging rather passionately with it - putting in my three euros' worth. Which is that in the long run, I firmly (and as I say, passionately) believe that the benefits of - almost but not quite - Open Door easily outweigh the negatives. For me, for you, for us all. Even for Andy (back at 22 there, I see, to general consternation).

    IR35 @ 17. No, you have me all wrong. I believe in the unrestricted movement of people (not forced ... movement of the people by the people for the people), not a free market in labour. "Market" is a word I only like to use in conjunction with "Stall" (nick nacks and the like) and I don't equate people with being "labour". They're people.

  • Comment number 33.

    "29. At 2:57pm on 23 Nov 2010, Cassandra wrote:
    The truth of the matter is these days there really is very little difference between the main political parties on many many issues."

    Indeed.

    Would it be going to far to suggest that there are as many differences between the opposition leader and his chancellor than between the parties themselves?

    I'm guessing that Ed's lack of experience of the real world is behind that.

  • Comment number 34.

    31#

    In fairness to Cass Andy, I'm reading it that he is blaming the self-appointed political elites on both sides of the house. And, IMHO, I think he's got a point.

  • Comment number 35.

    Andy @ 31. Nice try but wrong - as I suspect you appreciate.

    In my view the UK should be a leading member of the EU - that is where our future lies.

    However that is just my view and I would prefer a full debate and a referendum on the issue. Of course none of the major political parties will agree because they all want to be in the EU but do not trust the people to agree.

  • Comment number 36.

    #27

    "It is just silly to say we are a sovereign country"

    Maybe,but its even sillier that we are not in every respect.

  • Comment number 37.

    Oh Andy - on a day like today you think the most important point is to score points against the opposition.

    I would say there are fewer differences between the opposition leader and the shadow chancellor than there are between the Primeminister and the Deputy Primeminister.

  • Comment number 38.

    Indeed, Nick Robinson, you are right to be cynical.

    There are many issues associated with immigration.

    Economic migration from the EU is nothing unusual. Skilled and unskilled.

    What Britain needs are the EU skilled migrants to remain and grow their business and train new recruits.

    Those skilled from outside the EU should remain and do the same.

    Unfortunately, most resentment arises from the unskilled migrants from in, or outside the EU, who remain in the UK and 'struggle' to find work?

    Naturally, there has always been a 'market' in exploitation of the vulnerable with unscrupulous employers .. there should be more focus on those who often, in the UK, buy workers under bonds. Yes, slavery is alive and well in the UK - and in other countries across the EU.

    The main benefit of being a slave employer in the UK, is that if your bonded employee becomes ill, then that employee will be treated by the NHS at point of delivery. That is one of the most disturbing aspects of why the most vulnerable are being imported into the UK.

  • Comment number 39.

    32 - "I firmly (and as I say, passionately) believe that the benefits of - almost but not quite - Open Door easily outweigh the negatives."

    So you don't think a completely open door policy is right? Well done.

    What limits would you put on immigration?

  • Comment number 40.

    32#

    Calling the debate "sub-optimal" doesnt exactly translate the same way to me mate. Personally, you could hardly be expected to support anything else but the open door policy.

    If you had your magic, evergreen money tree and if this was the UAE where 80% of the population were ex-pats whilst the locals drive in Lamborghinis every day and those who provided the the construction and maintenance of the basic infrastructure were shipped in for peanuts and kept out of sight and out of mind, you might be on to something.

    However. It aint like the UAE (yet) and there aint no magic money tree either. Sorry to break that to you.

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick

    The credibility of the Coalition is further undermined by the free Trade agreements orchestrated by the EU with other non EU nations. These non EU nations allow access to their markets (how this is measured God alone knows) in return for their workers to work in the EU. You would have thought that with very unemployment rates in the PIGS countries already that this would a bit on the stoopid side but it adds to comments above that not only EU nations do not care about their citizens neither does the EU Commission give a stuff about the little people.

    https://www.workpermit.com/news/2010-11-09/europe/free-trade-agreement-with-india-could-lead-increased-immigration.htm

    Similar deals have been made with Ukraine and Moldova - only another 100 or so countries to go...


  • Comment number 42.

    sevenstargreen @ 36 - bit naughty to selectively quotte! The full quote was "It is just silly to say we are a sovereign country. The simple fact is that in some areas we are not."

    Why don't you tell us your views on powers handed over to the EU - should there be more or less? And what do you say on a referendum?

  • Comment number 43.

    28. At 2:46pm on 23 Nov 2010, Cassandra wrote:
    And it is for this reason that this migration issue is simply posturing so that the rather dim Tory right think something is being done when in fact it is not.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don’t think anybody is being fooled here Cas’; it’s just NuLabour policy dressed up in different cloths.
    The 40K loop hole is ridiculous & obviously geared to suck up to the employers groups that have managed to successfully lobby the Government –yet again.

    To me, it’s just another policy to add to my “sell out” list & comes as no suprise at all.

    NuLabour lives on.

  • Comment number 44.

    Net UK immigration has an overall series of costs attached to it - a huge cost to the British taxpayer in the short, medium and long term.

    The UK net immigration cost issue is a constitutional and sovereign rights issue for Britain as a sovereign 'cost centre' with both huge economic and social costs for British school children, British students, British workers and British taxpayers ... that is being ignored by the 'I'm all-right Jacks' and meddling foreigners.

    If the UK govt took proper account of the true net cost of immigration ... the position would be clear and the solutions become obvious.

    'Writing off' British people should be a criminal offence in my book.

    The huge cost of a soaring migrant fuelled UK population level increase will cost the UK tens even hundreds of billions of pounds over the next 10 - 20 years, in infra-structure, benefits, education, health and stolen jobs. How can Britain pay this when mired in debts of every kind - either taxes have to rise or the govt has to borrow more and more money.

    The open immigration flood gate is more of a risk to our UK national security and prosperity than even the banking crisis.

    Many confuse 'xenophobia' with the much needed constitutional and sovereign rights of British citizens ... the problem being that in the UK ... our rights on this are not being properly recognised.

    Global hub open immigration UK is a socio-economic disaster for the UK ... most British people lose out on this to the interests of the 'vested interests'. Some immigration is beneficial but needs careful management.

    If and when will the BBC tell the real story on this? Billions of £'s of licence fee monies spent by the BBC every year, but we never get the real story on this.

  • Comment number 45.

    Perhaps Nick, you, and other labour supporters on here will not jump the gun with dodgy numbers and wait for the Secretary of State to make her announcement in the House of Commons.

    Anti coalition stances using fake numbers simply waste blog space/effort.

  • Comment number 46.

    sagamix 32

    'Which is that in the long run, I firmly (and as I say, passionately) believe that the benefits of - almost but not quite - Open Door easily outweigh the negatives.'

    People have already formed their verdict on this one saga. They can see the 'benefits' of an open door policy all around them and they reject that policy in overwhelming numbers, both here and pretty much every other advanced country I'm aware of. This is why political parties that wish to have an open door policy (i.e. Labour) have to lie about their intentions to get elected.

  • Comment number 47.

    #32 we are paying people £25K+ to stay on benifits and then allow people to work below the minimum wages and in very poor conditions that the unions fought for over 100 years to get ride of, picking strawberries etc . The brothers should wake up to this fact then they would be doing thier members a favour.

    IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU SUPPORT THEN ???????????????????

  • Comment number 48.

    FairandTrue @ 45 - surely you are not that gullible.

    I know for a fact this is what happened. Number 10 is concerned about the effect of the Irish bailout on the rather dopey Tory right. Need to give them some red meat. Ring a tame journo like Nick Robinson to get him to float a number like 43,000 for a cap on immigration. Then announce a much lower number and dear old BBC reports the cap is "much lower than expected". Hey presto we look like we are being tough on immigration even though it is nothing more than media spin.

    The Tory right are sated. Mr Coulson's employer get a good headline in the Sun. Meanwhile business knows this is all just spin so do not need to complain. Everyones happy.

  • Comment number 49.

    1. At 12:07pm on 23 Nov 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:
    "Is the BBC determined to keep running the same stories in different formats until someone from the left emerges to offer some support?
    It's a great time to be a tory..."

    How would you like to be supported in the context of an immigration cap?

  • Comment number 50.

    FS 34

    Isn`t Cassandra a dame?

  • Comment number 51.

    I am a little perplexed at why anyone looking for work would want to come to this country at the present time.

    According to reports there are up to 5 people chasing every vacancy.

    Only the Daily Mail believes it is to claim benefits. Try living on a benefit equivalent amount for a week. So unless people come with the intent of misusing the system, multiple claims etc, that cant be the attraction. The system should be made robust enough to foil the fraudsters.

    So please tell me why folk want to come here ?

    On free movement throughout the EU I have always been annoyed that the UK is not part of the Shengen Accord which is the agreement allowing free movement and trade without customs posts. Hence you can travel the length and breadth of Europe without being asked who you are until that is you try to get back into your own country. I find this bizarre.

  • Comment number 52.

    xTunbridge 51

    'So please tell me why folk want to come here ?'

    Two reasons

    1. They are destitute
    2. We are a soft touch

    Never mind how difficult it is to live off benefits for a week. It still constitutes luxury compared with conditions in many African countries and other parts of the world.

  • Comment number 53.

    #5 Jizzlingtons

    I agree - people on the left and right are more interested in scoring points against the opposition than doing the right thing, and parties are at their worst when they try to do this. I always chuckle about the people complaining about BBC bias.

    It's about time we had a grown-up debate about migration, and I agree with those people suggesting that EU migration is uncontrollable. I do think that one of the worst things TB did was allow the new accession countries unfettered access.

  • Comment number 54.

    51

    Because believe it or not the other parts of the EU bar germany, France, baltic countries and Benelux are immeasurably worse off economically and have just about no prospect of any work whatsoever. If you like we are seen as the Dickensian version of London's streets paved in gold. We have an unemployment rate of what 5pc but in Spain it is 20pc and rising.

    This is the real tragedy of the EU where the rich nations have got a lot richer and the poorer ones a lot poorer. This despite the massive redistribution of money throughout the EU. And poverty in western Europe is seen as untold luxury compared to poverty in Eastern Europe. The EU Commission accustomed to its champagne lifestyle simply has no idea about the massive investment needed in infrastructure in Eastern Europe. The old spy stories relating anecdotes about taking your own bath plugs when staying at Moscow hotels may give you an idea of the quality of life there.

  • Comment number 55.

    #51 xTunbridge

    You mention the amount of benefits but the unspoken truth here is that many on benefits receive housing benefit, have their council tax paid and a number of other smaller benefits such as free prescriptions. This doesn't include those on incapacity benefit who receive substantially more and can even receive a leased car. On top of this, many have jobs on the side or do some dealing.
    I can imagine that you're reading this thinking that i'm a right-wing bigot but i'm not - I believe we need to take care of people who need help but trapping millions of people into dependence and a wasted life is a shameful thing and we are letting those people down. I feel strongly because I know some of these people who have been trapped and I think that we as a society need to do something about it. This has been going on for decades without being tackled. It's about time we sorted it out.

 

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