Friday, 26 April 2013

Non UK nationals claiming benefits

Last week I received a response to a Parliamentary Question from the Department of Work and Pensions regarding the numbers of non-UK Nationals who claim various benefits, and the answer should concern everyone, regardless of what you think about the rights of foreign nationals to claim benefits here.

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many non-UK nationals are in receipt of (a)jobseeker's allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) child tax credit, (d) carer's allowance, (e) income support allowance and (f) disability living allowance.

Mr Hoban: Information on the number of non-UK nationals in receipt of jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, carer's allowance, income support and disability living allowance is not available. Her Majesty Revenue and Customs has the responsibility of child tax credit.

We currently check nationality and immigration status of benefit claimants to ensure the benefit is paid properly and to prevent fraud. While this information is used, it is not recorded as part of the payment administrative systems.

Looking forward, the Government is looking at ways to record nationality and immigration status of migrants who make a claim to universal credit so that we have more robust information about our claimants.

If you are concerned about the numbers of non-UK Nationals who are in the UK claiming benefits and the potential for benefits tourism, then you should be worried that the Government doesn’t even know how many they are, or what benefits they are claiming.

This just exposes some of the bluster that comes out of this Government. They take every opportunity to grand stand on benefits, but the reality is that they don’t even know what they are talking about. They have no idea how many non-UK nationals are claiming benefits, so how can they possibly know the scale of the benefits tourism problem?

We all want to see the benefit bill cut, but you do that by getting people into work and creating economic growth, not making grandstanding statements about foreign born benefits claimants when you don’t even know the scale of the problem in the first place.

This Government is attempting to use a smokescreen created by people’s legitimate anger about benefits to cover the fact that they have wrecked the economy, and achieved absolutely nothing they were supposedly elected to do. They are not interested in getting the benefits bill down at all, otherwise they would take some radical action to get people back to work.