The Sunday Times reported yesterday that a government report had been leaked which revealed that the number of people allowed to move to the UK from the European Union countries would be capped at 75,000. The report also suggested proposals to block EU migrants from claiming benefits or tax credits for their first five years in the UK. A furious coalition row has now erupted over these plans with Nick Clegg condemning it as “illegal and undeliverable.”
UK Government’s plans to Cut Net Migration from EU Countries
Aleaked government report on the effect on Britain of the EU’s policy allowing free movement of people suggests a cap could cut net migration from EU countries by 30,000 from the current 106,000. The proposals would in effect mean that professionals and highly skilled migrants from countries such as Germany, Holland or Austria could move to the UK if they had a job offer.
The review which was overseen by Home Secretary Theresa May, suggests that lower skilled workers would be allowed to settle if they had jobs on an approved list of occupations for which there was a national shortage.
EU Cap is “Illegal”: Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg has now accused the Tories of trying to “pull up the drawbridge” to the rest of Europe, instead of concentrating on tracking who is entering and leaving the UK. A spokesman for Nick Clegg has described the leaked report as “one eyed”. There are concerns that any attempt to challenge free movement rules is likely to face resistance in Europe.
The Deputy Prime Minister stated:
“My advice to the Home Office is to spend less time leaking policies that are illegal and undeliverable and spend more time delivering on the policies that we have agreed as a Coalition government.”
European Commissioner Hits out against UK MP’s on Twitter
Laslo Andor, the European Commissioner has recently hit out on comments about the lifting of restrictions on Bulgaria and Romania at the end of this month.
“Responsible politicians should avoid legitimising xenophobic reactions that indeed weaken the European spirit.”
It remains to be seen what the repercussions would be for the government’s latest proposals.