Friday, 30 September 2011

Brussels threatens to sue Britain to let in 'benefit tourists'

 

Ministers fear the move could leave taxpayers handing out as much as £2.5  billion to EU nationals, including out-of-work “benefit tourists”, a new cost that could wreck Coalition plans for welfare reform. The commission’s threat, on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, has raised the political temperature on Europe still further. In an outspoken attack today, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, says the commission’s move is part of a “wider movement” by the “unelected and unaccountable” European authorities to extend their power over the UK. “This kind of land grab from the EU has the potential to cause mayhem to nation states, and we will fight it,” he writes in The Daily Telegraph. The commission is objecting to Britain’s rules on welfare, claiming they discriminate unfairly against foreigners. To claim benefits in Britain, EU nationals must pass a “right to reside” test. The commission says the test is too tough, and wants Britain to apply more generous EU-wide rules.

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