Brexit must mean no more benefit tourism

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This article was first published on The Commentator.

Recently, it was revealed controversial child benefits will continue to be paid after Brexit to families of EU migrants who don’t even live in Britain, at huge cost to the British taxpayer.

This has clearly been going on for a long time, as we are members of the EU, but although we support EU migrants who already live in Britain remaining here, we believe this part of the ongoing proposals is wrong.

We understand new EU migrants will not be able to take advantage of the UK’s benefits system, but it seems the anomaly of those who already live in the UK will continue.

This development was set out in a recent paper from the Department for Exiting the European Union. It called for the UK’s 3 million EU migrants to keep their benefit entitlements after Brexit. However, those who arrive after Britain leaves the EU will not be entitled to handouts.

Unfortunately, the paper did not address a vital concern. The fact is this is a breach of the Conservative Party’s manifesto. The 2015 manifesto said migrants would only be able to claim benefits after living in the UK for 4 years, and there would be a blanket ban on child benefits where the child lives abroad, regardless of how long the worker has lived in the UK.

The Sunday Times reported that even a senior Tory MP said this breached a manifesto promise.

According to Migration Watch UK:

‘The UK pays child benefit and child tax credits to almost 50,000 children who live in another EU country. The most common country of residence is Poland, where claims are made for almost 30,000 children still living over there. The cost to the British taxpayer is just over £1 million per week. Only in 4 other EU countries [the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands] do the rules allow for such payments to be made to non-resident children.’

On June 23rd last year Britons voted for Brexit. More people voted for Brexit than have voted for any party in any UK General Election. This was a vote for control over our borders, our laws and yes, our money.

It is totally unacceptable to lose control of our money at the very moment we are supposed to be regaining it. Isn’t it enough the UK has given the EU over half a trillion pounds since we joined – only now to learn we must give away even more?

The UK should have one rule for all migrants, whenever they came here previously, and wherever they come from. As long as they have contributed for a significant period of time, then they should be allowed to claim benefits. But not for children who don’t live here. This is an abuse of British kindness – nothing more, nothing less.

The Conservative Party ought to stick to its manifesto promises. It must abide by the EU referendum result and ensure migrants can only claim benefits after living in the UK for 4 years, and have a blanket ban on child benefits where the child lives abroad.

We want to Get Britain Out of the EU and govern ourselves once again. When we finally leave the EU, the absurd situation where money is immediately funnelled to new migrants, and continues to be channelled to families who do not live here, should end. We must stop the abuse immediately, and require migrants currently living here to be subjected to the same rules.

This would be fair and ensure Britain is not taken for a ride any longer. Brexit must mean no more benefit tourism.

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