As the countdown clock ticks down on David Cameron's EU negotiations, some are asking the question "Is Mass Migration from Europe such a bad thing?" Studies have now come out which indicate that the 'emergency brake' on benefits may have very little impact on EU migration at all.
It would appear that the true 'pull factor' to Britain is not benefits but the prospects of employment. This can only surely increase with George Osbourne's higher minimum wage. Or will the higher minimum wage result in less jobs as smaller businesses struggle to adsorb the increase in wage packets?
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...
The latest figures show that while there are 2 million EU citizens working in the UK, there were a further 91,700 – or 4.5% – who were claiming out-of-work benefits last summer. A further 317,000 of the 2 million – around 15% – were claiming tax credits, underlining that the overwhelming majority are not in the lowest paid jobs. So what impact will the “emergency brake” of restricting access to in-work benefits for the first two to four years actually have? Nobody has any conclusive figures to know how many EU migrants claim benefits in their first four years in the UK. But there now appears to be some agreement that Britain is such a powerful “jobs factory” that it is the prospect of a job rather than claiming benefits that is attracting them.