Govt to deny housing benefit to jobless immigrants

Unemployed immigrants will be prevented from claiming housing benefit under plans put forward by senior ministers in a bid to prevent people exploiting the UK's welfare state, the Government announced. Restrictions will come into force in April.

Parties look to appeal to voters with tough benefit talk

by - Political Correspondent
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and his Labour counterpart Rachel Reeves are both promoting tighter benefit measures. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire and John Stilwell/PA Wire

The Government would like to restrict benefits to migrants for longer after they arrive. Labour agree in principle.

Labour want jobseekers to make sure they have the qualifications to actually get a job. The Government have a scheme in place.

They both want the system simplified along the lines of the Universal Credit.

All the fighting seems to be over the timing and the implementation of these measures.

Both Iain Duncan Smith and Rachel Reeves know that the electorate care deeply about fairness in the benefits system.

A recent YouGov/Sunday Times poll found that restricting migrants' benefits was the single most popular policy suggested to voters.

So watch out for more tough talk on welfare.

Benefits debate 'mired by stereotypes and scapegoats'

Politicians across the political spectrum are marginalising society's most vulnerable people in their attempts to establish "hard rules" over benefits, a leading campaigner has told ITV News.

Duncan Shrubsole, from homeless charity Crisis, said the Government's current benefits system is "cruel" and "unfair" and its back-to-work programme is not working.

Mr Shrubsole said he welcomed a public debate on benefits, but without attempts to stereotype and scapegoat claimants, the vast majority of whom he said are actively seeking work.

Read: Clegg says jobless immigrants have 'no right' to benefits

Advertisement

Clegg: Jobless immigrants 'have no right' to benefits

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told Daybreak the coalition is united behind plans to prevent unemployed immigrants from claiming housing benefit.

The Liberal Democrat leader said:

This is something that we have agreed across the Government.

I think it is right to say to people who are coming here to look for work from elsewhere in the European Union 'You have a right to look for work but you don't have a right to claim benefits, no questions asked, no strings attached, from day one.'

Read: Labour say jobless must past tests or lose benefits

Labour: New jobless must past tests or lose benefits

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves is to announce plans for a "basic skills test" for all new benefits claimants.

She is expected to say in a speech this morning:

We all know that basic skills are essential in today’s jobs market, but the shocking levels of English and maths among too many jobseekers are holding them back from getting work.

This traps too many jobseekers in a vicious cycle between low paid work and benefits.

Government plans in this area just aren’t enough. They’re now asking jobseekers who exit the failed Work Programme to take up literacy and numeracy training, three whole years after those people first make a claim for benefits.

A Labour government will introduce a Basic Skills Test to assess all new claimants for Job Seekers Allowance within six weeks of claiming benefits.

Those who don’t have the skills they need for a job will have to take up training alongside their jobsearch or lose their benefits.

Labour’s Basic Skills Test will give the long-term unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis.

– Rachel Reeves

Govt: Labour have 'shameful' record on benefits

The Labour party have let the average working man down with their "shameful" policies on benefits, two senior Government ministers have said.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused Labour of a "shameful betrayal" of British workers, after employment figures showed how Brits in work fell by 413,000 in five years, while immigrants in UK jobs rose by 736,000.

For years Labour presided over a labour market where the number of foreign people in jobs rocketed to record levels - while thousands of British workers were left on the sidelines, facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.

– Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith

Govt to prohibit housing benefit for jobless immigrants

Out-of-work immigrants will not be entitled to housing benefits according to new plans proposed by senior ministers in a national newspaper.

Read more: Migrants who cannot speak English could lose benefits

JobCentre
Unemployed immigrants should not be allowed to claim housing benefit, the Government said. Credit: PA

Writing in the Daily Mail, Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the measure would apply from April.

The move to stop access to housing benefit follows legislation rushed through Parliament to prevent migrants from claiming out-of-work benefits until they have been in the country for three months.

The Cabinet ministers said: "No longer can people come here from abroad and expect to get something for nothing."

They said immigration had made a "tremendously rich contribution to our country, both culturally and in terms of the talent it brings - but it must be controlled".

Read more: EU chief slams 'populist rhetoric' on migrants

Advertisement