Curb benefits to EU migrants says local MEP Chris Davies

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Government plans to curb benefits available to EU migrants should be extended, says NorthWest MEP Chris Davies.

Liberal Democrat Chris Davies supports the free movement of labour across Europe but argues that the principle was never intended to apply to access to financial benefits.

He said: “The principle of free movement was established at the birth of the EU in the 1950s, but it was intended then to apply to the movement of workers.

“I don’t believe that any of the founding fathers thought that payments should be made to families who had not first contributed through taxes.”

The MEP claims that Britain has benefitted greatly from the people who have come here to work from the Continent.

But he says that if others are now looking to move in order to secure benefit payments then loopholes should be closed.

Mr Davies said: “Unlike most European countries our welfare system is more universal and not closely based on contributions.

“We should ensure that benefits to EU migrants are made available only after taxes have been paid.

“Britain is not alone in Europe in arguing that if the circumstances have changed then so must the policies.

“The EU has no powers over benefit systems so the UK government could have sorted this out years ago. Other countries manage it so why can’t we?

“The fact that government reports admit that they have no clue of the numbers of people involved but believe them to be very small also causes problems and provides space for people like UKIP to tell massive lies about immigration with little challenge.

“The government should produce evidence of benefit tourism and concentrate on solving the real problem instead of grabbing for headlines.”

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