Jobless migrants lose housing cash

Romsey Advertiser: Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith are to axe housing benefits for jobless immigrants Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith are to axe housing benefits for jobless immigrants

Jobless immigrants will be denied housing benefits under plans set out by senior ministers to tackle immigration and prevent people exploiting the UK's welfare system.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the measure would apply from April as they delivered a strongly-worded attack on Labour's "shameful" record on the issue.

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.

Writing in the Daily Mail 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".

"So we have tightened up the system ... A nd the latest figures show our reforms are working.

"For those migrants who do come here, we're ensuring they are unable to take unfair advantage of our system by accessing benefits as soon as they arrive.

"For example, we introduced rules so that f rom January 1 this year we are banning individuals from receiving out-of-work benefits until they have been living in the UK for three months.

"And we will go still further: from the beginning of April we will be removing entitlement to housing benefit altogether for this group.

"In addition, EU migrants can only claim jobseeker's allowance for six months unless they have genuine prospects of finding work."

They added: "T hese new immigration and benefit checks will clamp down on those trying to exploit the system.

"We can ensure that Britain's growing economy and dynamic jobs market deliver for those who work hard and play by the rules."

Accusing Labour of a "shameful betrayal" of British workers, they highlighted figures showing the number of Britons in jobs fell by 413,000 between 2005 and 2010, while the number of working foreigners increased 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," they said.

But they said measures taken by the Government had " reversed the damaging trend" and of the rise in employment over the past year, over 90% went to UK nationals.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told ITV1's Daybreak: "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'."

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