UK Immigration: PM Promises to Restrict EU Freedom of Movement

Yesterday, David Cameron delivered a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham where he stated that he would restrict EU freedom of movement. Mr Cameron has vowed that he plans to negotiate with Brussels in order to give the UK a more detached relationship with the UK.  Earlier this year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published their Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (May 2014) which revealed a rise in the arrival of EU citizens to the UK.

David Cameron: EU not Working Properly for us at the Moment

During the Conservative Party conference which took place on 1 October 2014 in Birminham Mr Cameron expressed that he would not be disappointed if Britain left the EU. When asked how it would of compared to Scotland leaving the union he simply said he felt “about a thousand times more strongly about our UK” than the EU.

Mr Cameron went onto say that he will  go to Brussels to negotiate a change in the rules for new members joining the union:

“We will be wanting to make certain at a European as well as a national level that the right of people to work or retire around Europe does not become a right to travel around in order to collect social security benefits or commit crime.”

He added:

“What is best for our UK. How do we get the best deal for Britain. That is what I feel strongly about. If I didn’t think it was in Britain’s interests to be in the EU, I would not argue for it. Let’s be frank. It is not working properly for us at the moment.”

Since the delivery of the speech Mr Cameron has faced a backlash of criticism. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) described the freedom of movement as ‘an essential part of the single market’ that should be protected. The director-general of CBI added:

“The EU is the biggest single market in the world and access to it is vital for firms, small and large.”

Rise in EU Migration to UK

Earlier this year ONS revealed there has been a rise in the arrival of EU citizens to the UK. In particular the number of National Insurance numbers issued to overseas workers rose 7% to 603,000 in the year ending March 2014. It seems that of those, there were significant rises in registrations by workers from four EU countries:

  • Polish registrations were up by 11,000 to 102,000;
  • Italian registrations rose by 9,000 to 42,000;
  • Bulgarian registrations climbed by 7,000 to 18,000; and
  • And Romanian registrations increased by 29,000 to 47,000.

Last month, EU Commissioner Laszlo Andor expressed the benefits of European migrants coming to Britain to work, study and live. He acknowledged that the EU single market would result in more jobs and better working conditions for British people. Andor also went on to speak about the benefits of free movement of workers to and from other EU countries. He spoke in terms of more job opportunities, and to employers, in terms of addressing labour shortages and skills gaps. Mobile EU workers usually pay more in tax and social security contributions than they receive in benefits. As a result UK workers have to pay less tax than they would in the absence of workers from other EU countries.

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