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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 August 2015

Government discrimination against EU workers

Phil Bishop, Bristol North Branch

Tory attacks on the most vulnerable in society are gathering pace. The savage cuts in benefits show how vicious this government is. All this austerity is to bail out their rich friends.

Now they are tightening the screws even more. In Bristol, two Socialist Party members and their families are having their very right to live and work in the UK threatened. Both are European Union (EU) nationals with children, who came to the UK to work.

Unfortunately both lost their jobs when the company shut down and temporary contracts ended. Consequently, they claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and other benefits.

Rule change

However, rules relating to claims by EU nationals and the right to reside (ie live and work here) were changed in April 2014, limiting their entitlement to a maximum of six months. After that period not only do their benefits cease but they also lose the right to reside.

Only if they can show a "genuine prospect of work" will this be extended, at the discretion of the Department for Work and Pensions. This appears to mean an offer of a job, nothing less.

So, thousands of EU nationals who live and work here, if they lose their job, are in danger of effectively being deported.

A sympathetic Jobcentre adviser told us that in February of this year they received a confidential memo. It stated that all EU nationals making a claim should be reviewed every three months, including those who have a claim that began before 1 April 2014. This may be illegal.

We also know of a Spanish national, resident and employed in the UK for 30 years and married to a UK national, who has been told he is no longer entitled to benefits.

While central government will save money, cash-strapped local councils will bear the brunt of housing and supporting those affected.

The Tory leader of Kent County Council, interviewed on BBC Radio 4, admitted that the new measures were about saving money. But he also pointed out that local councils have a duty of care to homeless and vulnerable people, especially where children were involved.

This is also political. The Tories are trying to outdo Ukip with their anti-migrant worker policies, with one eye on the coming EU referendum. But these are real people's lives they are playing with.

Both cases have been taken up with their local MPs, and we will be holding a public meeting to raise awareness of these issues.

We aim to organise solidarity action elsewhere and to provide a political answer to the system that blames ordinary working people for the crisis, instead of the capitalists.

Tories attack both UK workers and migrants

The government is planning new restrictions on EU migrant workers claiming in-work benefits, such as tax credits.

Its election manifesto said a Tory government would stop EU migrant workers claiming benefits for the first four years.

However, this would be discriminatory under EU law. Therefore, the government also intends to stop Britons aged 18 to 22 (around 55,000 young workers) claiming benefits - another attack on young people.

Labour, in its bid to jump on the migrant worker bashing bandwagon, has proposed a two-year ban.

Anyone who works in the UK should be entitled to work-related benefits, irrespective of their nationality and age.

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In The Socialist 19 August 2015:

Socialist Party features

The Labour Party, Militant and 'infiltration'

Gulf War 'unfinished business' remains today

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Subscribe to the Socialist!

Fascists caged, humiliated and driven out of Liverpool

We won't pay for their crisis!

Anger at bus service cuts in Sheffield

TUSC by-election boost in Grimsby and Cleethorpes

Socialist Party news and analysis

Corbyn stand: A welcome upheaval in British politics

Solidarity with the Polish workers' strike

Government discrimination against EU workers

Kids Company closure

Them & Us

Workplace news and analysis

Socialist challenges right winger for Unison leadership

National Gallery all-out strike goes on as bosses sell off jobs

London tube's summer of strikes joined by First Great Western

Probation and courts union Napo needs socialist leadership

Uni unions ready Manchester jobs fight

Retail union must fight Sunday trading deregulation

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Building a new left alternative after Syriza capitulation

Ireland: drop the prosecutions, scrap the water charges

US: Kshama Sawant leads Seattle primary elections count on 50%


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