Cameron pledge housing curbs for immigrants
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron will announce plans to curb access to welfare, housing and free health care for nonBritons, as political parties jostle to persuade voters they understand concerns over mass immigration.
Cameron will set out measures in a speech today that will restrict the rights of foreigners to claim unemployment benefits after six months, according to extracts released by his office. He'll also announce that local governments will be expected to make at least two years' local residence a requirement for qualifying for social housing, and that the state-run National Health Service will be stricter about charging to treat foreigners who are in the U.K. temporarily.
With Britain's economy stagnating, politicians of all stripes have been seeking to assuage voter concerns about immigration's possible effects on the labor market, public services and housing. Cameron's Conservative Party came third in a House of Commons special election in Eastleigh last month, finishing behind the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party. The prime minister has said he wants to see net annual immigration reduced to below 100,000.
As part of the measures the premier is announcing today, citizens of other European Union countries and some other western European nations will only be able to claim six months' unemployment benefit from next year unless they can show they have a genuine chance of finding work. Temporary migrants from outside those countries may need private health insurance to qualify for NHS treatment. Restrictions on nationals from Bulgaria and Romania -- the most recent EU members -- working in Britain will be lifted next year. Labour has attacked Cameron's government for failing to release estimates of how many migrants will arrive.