NIGEL Farage has called for a ban on immigrants receiving benefits in the UK until they have been resident for at least five years, extending the current three-month period during which they cannot claim.
The Ukip leader added that preserving British society and creating jobs for young people are more important than boosting GDP. “The social side of this matters more than the pure market economics,” Farage said. He made the comments in a BBC documentary last night, which also saw business secretary Vince Cable warn that the target to bring net migration below 100,000 by 2015 will be missed.
Rounding an attack on the policy, one of the Prime Minister’s flagship commitments, Cable said: “An arbitrary cap is not helpful. It almost certainly won’t achieve the below-100,000 level the Conservatives are setting.” In a surprise show of solidarity, both Labour and Ukip sought to back Cable’s position, with shadow immigration minister David Hanson suggesting the Liberal Democrat minister should support his party’s measures to bring the numbers entering the UK down.
London mayor Boris Johnson waded into the debate, telling LBC 97.3 listeners that he would like to see tighter restrictions on EU migrants who claim UK benefits. “You’ve got to make it more difficult for people to claim benefits and in that way, I think, it is entirely legitimate for nation states to take back a bit of control of their borders,” he said.
Number 10 said the government is doing everything it can within the law to tackle the issue, hinting that extending the ban on claiming benefits could be illegal. A spokesman confirmed that ministers are working to prevent child benefit payments being sent to other EU nations.