David Cameron is to call for measures aimed at making the UK a less attractive option for European Union immigrants, in a move that will see more claims he is imitating UKIP.
In a speech on Friday the Prime Minister will say that the UK’s continued membership of the EU is dependent on the UK being able to deny benefits to migrants from the bloc.
There are around 300,000 EU migrants in the UK who would be affected. Cameron wants to address the disparity between the UK as a place of work and the countries from which migrants come. In some cases the UK minimum wage is financially superior to options at home, especially if boosted by benefits.
The speech will effectively lay out the terms by which the UK could stay in the EU, a pillar of Cameron’s strategy on Europe. The speech is not expected to contain a demand for a temporary freeze on freedom of movement.
Of course there are many who argue, and present data, showing the migrant labour has helped the economy. A major study released last month showed that, on average, EU workers put more into the economy than they take out in benefits. Foreign-born people are also less likely to apply for benefits than UK nationals.
Data released today from the Office of National Statistics showed that migration has increased in the UK, although between 2013 and 2014 there was no statistically significant change in the number of EU citizens moving to the UK.
What was noticeable was the large number of migrants from Italy and Spain, two countries with high youth unemployment.
Here is a chart showing the number of people from different nations registering for national insurance.