We will not be coerced into providing state benefits to EU immigrants

Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for the South-East and leader of the British Conservative delegation in the European Parliament has warned the European Union against taking the UK Government to court over the issue of access to state benefits for EU citizens in the UK.

 “The EU has got it wrong. Britain can and will decide for herself who is eligible for British state benefits. The current residency test ensures that only those who are deserving of the support are entitled to benefits. Our rules are entirely reasonable and appropriate for the UK – we do not want to incentivise EU migrants who want to come to the UK but not to work”.

“We are going to fight this; we believe that we are on the right side of EU law. However, if the EU decides that we are not, then it is the EU law which needs to change, not us. We will not back down on this”.

At a time when Britain is in the throes of a crucial debate over its relationship with Europe, this is an example of where the EU has got it wrong and needs to listen to the UK and adapt.

“From 2014 a greater number of EU citizens will be entitled to exercise “freedom of movement”, now is a sensible time for the government to seriously consider better control of the use and access to public services.”