David Cameron will announce plans to ban benefits for some EU migrants this week, as he takes a tougher stance on Europe and tries to ward off the political threat posed by the UK Independence Party (Ukip).
A report being published tomorrow by think tank Open Europe reveals that the Prime Minister is working with senior aides at number 10 to draw up the plans, and will disclose them during a speech this week.
According to The Sunday Times, which has seen the report in advance, the intention is to end EU migrants' access to housing benefits, tax credits and social housing for a specified time.
The proposals would mean that when they first move to the country, immigrants from other countries in the EU would have a two to three year wait before they could receive in-work benefits.
At present, these benefits can be received straight away, which means that even on minimum wage the UK is a more appealing prospect than many other countries in Europe for foreign workers.
Official figures released in July showed that the 252,000 migrant workers from within the EU cost the UK £1.6bn in taxpayer money annually, and Open Europe says that with the new measures in place, many immigrants would be dissuaded from moving to the UK in the first place.
Pawel Swidlicki, who works for the think tank, said: “These benefits — designed to help people from welfare into work — act as an effective government-backed subsidy for EU migrants to perform low-paid jobs which does not exist in France or Germany to the same extent.”
The plans come as Cameron faces increasing pressure from within he Conservative party to improve the UK's position in Europe. This intensified earlier in the week, when Ukip's Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election for the pro-independence party. Reckless defected from the Conservative party in September.
Following the vote, the Prime Minister vowed to win the seat back in less than six months time. "I am absolutely determined to win this seat back because absolutely anything other than a Conservative government will put our recovery at risk and mean Ed Miliband in Downing Street,” he said. "I am more determined than ever that we deliver security for Britain."