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Eu Welfare Reforms - Some Claimants Better Off With No Job

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It's looking like plans are afoot to limit UK nationals access to in work benefits like tax credits in order to tackle EU benefit tourism.

Could this slay the Tax Credit Behemoth?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34805113

Claimants for some in-work benefits could be better off giving up their job temporarily as a consequence of the government's EU negotiations, Whitehall officials have told the BBC.

One option would see claimants denied in-work benefits unless they had received unemployment benefit in the previous year.

No 10 said it would "not give a running commentary" on negotiations.

"The prime minister has clearly set out his views," the spokesman added.

Legal restrictions preventing EU citizens from being discriminated against mean ministers are increasingly focusing on ideas that would also prevent thousands of Britons from getting benefits.

Ministers have admitted an EU treaty change will be required to make any major welfare changes.

A document seen by BBC News in the summer from government lawyers to ministers said "imposing additional requirements on EU workers that do not apply to a member state's own workers constitutes direct discrimination which is prohibited under current EU law".

The legal opinion came several months after a speech by David Cameron last November in which he first announced his intention to stop EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits - typically housing benefit and working tax credits - for four years.

The prime minister's letter will give greater insight into what he wants from the negotiations

David Cameron says he has a mandate to pursue EU reform following the Conservatives' general election victory.

The PM wants to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership ahead of an in/out referendum by the end of 2017. He has said he will campaign for Britain to remain in the EU if he gets the reforms he wants.

The legal problems that have emerged are forcing ministers and officials to focus on indirect discrimination - options that disproportionately affect EU migrants but would also impact UK citizens.

One option would see in-work benefits banned from anyone who had not received out-of-work benefits in the previous 12 months.

The proposal could see someone who has worked for many years failing to qualify for support if their income fell because, for example, their employer cut their hours.

While some exemptions would be introduced, for those leaving education for instance, the scheme would "create an incentive for people to give up work for a little while in order to subsequently qualify for in-work help", said an official.

'Worse off'

This option appeals to some ministers as changes already introduced as part of Universal Credit stop EU migrants from claiming out-of-work benefits.

An option BBC News revealed in the summer - a four-year residency test for all benefit claimants - has now been fully costed and is being considered by Treasury officials.

It would mean Britons, even if they had lived in the UK all their lives, would be ineligible for in-work benefits for four years from their 18th birthday.

If implemented, some unemployed British families who failed the test could be thousands of pounds worse off if one of them found a job.

"They would be much better off staying on out-of-work benefits," said a Whitehall official familiar with the proposals.

Benefit tourism

The legality of the proposals is being considered in Whitehall, as are the politics - officials say ministers are wary as both options will affect tens of thousands of British people and could undermine one of the government's central messages, that people should always be better off in work.

A third proposal, which has been floated by the Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin, would see in-work benefits denied to people who had not paid enough National Insurance contributions for three years.

That option was seen as being problematic however, said one official, as it would change the nature of Universal Credit and may conversely make EU migrants eligible for out-of-work benefits.

The prime minister remains insistent about getting welfare reform from his EU negotiations, despite officials believing the changes already introduced have tightened the system considerably.

"New EU migrants now face one of the toughest in-work benefit systems in Europe when they come here," said one official.

"We have made benefit tourism a thing of the past," they added.

Edited by workingpoor

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this is making this country the laughing stock of the world, is it really that difficult 2 see a depopulation agenda at work when the highest powers this country has illegally handed over to a non sovereign entirety take the piss by making it more profitable to be unemployed than to create progress through work? i hope cameron gets his wish so the 3 musketeers blair brown and cameron can join forces to promote project fear and we can end this madness starting with a no vote cause seriously who the ****** trusts those people to lead the country? the last 10 years have completely destroyed this country and created another endless war in the middle east and all three of those scum bags have been responsible, cut from the same club of rome, trilateral commission cloth, can anybody on this forum tell me the history of the eu? cause as far as i can see we lost ww2 cause they are here leading the labour and conservative parties.

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If our benefit system drags people thousands of miles to access it does it not have the same affect on British people?.Does that not say that maybe our benefit system is far too generous compared to wage rates?

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I think it is more and more likely that people will vote to leave the EU. All this has done is show the British people that the UK government is completely toothless and has to ask unelected EU bureaucrats what rules it can and can't introduce. Absolutely ridiculous.

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If our benefit system drags people thousands of miles to access it does it not have the same affect on British people?.Does that not say that maybe our benefit system is far too generous compared to wage rates?

Yes, although British people living on the dole in Newcastle cannot just move to London and get housing, unlike people on the dole in Spain

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I think it is more and more likely that people will vote to leave the EU. All this has done is show the British people that the UK government is completely toothless and has to ask unelected EU bureaucrats what rules it can and can't introduce. Absolutely ridiculous.

I hope so but I'm not sure about that. Quite a lot of people actually seem to like our own government being overruled by unelected bureaucrats, when those bureaucrats happen to do what they want.

I think the leave voters are more likely to show up at the voting booth though so maybe they'll squeak it. Certainly I will be making sure I turn out to vote to leave.

Edited by EUBanana

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The 3 proposals:

1. To qualify for in work benefits you have to have had a claim for JSA/UC in the previous year.

That would stop benefit tourism as if you arrive now with no job or realistic chance of getting one you will be refused JSA/UC.

2. A 4 year residency requirement before qualifying for in work benefits.

Obviously would stop benefit tourism but they are proposing it applies to all citizens from age 18.

So from 18-22 no-one would recieve benefits.

This has been costed and is looking like the plan they want to go with.

3. No in work benefits if you haven't paid enough National Insurance contributions in the preceeding 3 years.

Probably rule out the self employed and anyone who was supporting themselves from savings or stay at home parents etc

too complex.

So really 18-22 year old UK Citizens would lose out to go with the 4 year residency requirement from age 18. (everybody above 22 would automatically qualify)

Could also exclude any ex-pats who return from abroad. If most 18-22 years olds are in college or uni or training then it shouldn't have too much impact on UK citizens.

Edited by workingpoor

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So how are 21 year olds (who've been full adults for three years) supposed to live if their parents decline to support them?

All of the milestones of life - moving out, having kids, retiring - have been pushed back further and further. When will the people running the country allow their children to grow up?

If they want 4 years residency why can't they start counting from 12. A lot of people start jobs at 16, or at least, they did.

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If they want 4 years residency why can't they start counting from 12. A lot of people start jobs at 16, or at least, they did.

Yeah I don't get this either. 4 year residency requirement - great. But why can't you count prior to 18? I guess there's some EU rule somewhere that just says you can't?

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How dose that work they have lived in this country for 18 years and will have been registered at birth as a British resident

2. A 4 year residency requirement before qualifying for in work benefits.

Obviously would stop benefit tourism but they are proposing it applies to all citizens from age 18.
So from 18-22 no-one would recieve benefits.

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Might be that 18 is the qualifying age for benefits so you have to have 4 years qualifying residency?

From the article: (it says "in work benefits" so would probably get some out of work benefits like JSA / ESA / CTC but not HB or WTC)

An option BBC News revealed in the summer - a four-year residency test for all benefit claimants - has now been fully costed and is being considered by Treasury officials.

It would mean Britons, even if they had lived in the UK all their lives, would be ineligible for in-work benefits for four years from their 18th birthday.

If implemented, some unemployed British families who failed the test could be thousands of pounds worse off if one of them found a job.

"They would be much better off staying on out-of-work benefits," said a Whitehall official familiar with the proposals.

Edited by workingpoor

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Benefits system is a red herring, that laughingly can't be won anyway. The real reason, the number one reason, immigrants come here from Eastern Europe is the massive wage differentials. £1 an hour in Romania or £6.80 an hour in the UK. Hot bunk with a load of mates for a few years and you're laughing.

Free movement of labour: one way advantage only.

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It seems the UK government has assured the Irish government that the restrictions won't affect Irish citizens.

.....

Er, how do they think they can differentiate between citizens of different EU member states?

+1

It seems to be based on some ancient agreement so it's going to be a sort of pick and mix negotiation. One did think the eu had done away with ancient agreements for something new (the Common Market and then the enforced eu) and the ultimate benefit of the UK but apparently not even for countries that claimed they wanted to be independent from the UK

Who knows but some other eu members along with the Commonwealth and a few others might also have some ancient agreements that can be perpetually ring fenced to tap into UK tax payers money. At least Hong Kong doesn't seem to have remaining claims on UK taxpayers - or does it.

The whole thing is a complete mish mash a complete shambles and increasingly evident to have been various cons. How can it ever succeed.

Edited by billybong

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It seems the UK government has assured the Irish government that the restrictions won't affect Irish citizens.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/13/irish-wont-be-affected-benefits-curbs-eu-migrants

Er, how do they think they can differentiate between citizens of different EU member states?

Pretty easily I would think, since they've been doing that for absolutely ages anyway.

Irish citizens are considered to have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as soon as they arrive. This is not the case for other EEA nationals, who have to spend five years exercising Treaty rights (working, studying, jobseeking, self-employed or self sufficient) before acquiring it. It's been like this for a long time and there's never been any issue with it so far, I would guess because arrangements between the UK and ROI predate the EU. If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain/Permanent Residence as an EEA national, you don't have to be exercising Treaty rights at all, whereas you or a family member is supposed to be doing so if you're from any other EEA country (this, incidentally, is why EEA nationals without Permanent Residence can get JSA, because it theoretically requires you to be a jobseeker, whereas they've often come into all sorts of problems getting Income Support which doesn't). Basically, Irish citizens sort of skip the first five years of residence requirements and are considered the same way as Brits. I believe we have some kind of reciprocal arrangement with ROI but not sure about the details.

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