We are being deceived – UK already has the powers to control EU migration

UK doesn’t use these powers because the extra jobs (2.2m), extra tax (2014= £14.71b less benefits £2.56b) and £50b a year spending keeps our economy going.


 One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State.

There are 4 major arguments in favour of stopping EU migrants exercising this freedom to come and work in the UK. Each of these arguments is untrue.

Claim 1 – “Inability for the UK to control migration into the UK”

The rules and safeguards for the Freedom of Movement can be found here


A summary of these rules are:

Freedom for a citizen of another EU member state to move to the UK applies to

  • Economically active EU-citizens (i.e. working)
    • Plus their families if EU-citizens
  • Non-economically active EU-citizens for up to 3-months
  • Non-economically active (not working) EU-citizens longer than 3-months provided:
    • They can show they have sufficient finance
    • They take out a comprehensive sickness insurance policy
  • FoM does not apply to
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without funds
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without sickness insurance
    • EU-citizens who have no realistic chance of working
    • Family members of an EU citizen who is not an EU Citizen may reside in the UK but does not have an automatic right to work
  • Benefits
    • EU-citizens working in the UK acquire rights to benefits after working for a period
    • EU-citizens not working do not have rights to Benefits
  • The UK has the right to restrict FoM through:
    • Suspension of the FoM for up to 7 years from when a new member country joins by
      • Preventing/prohibiting movement or
      • UK can insist upon work permits for each migrant
      • Benefit/Welfare “tourism” is illegal

No-one has been prosecuted to-date as UK is not tracking the issue

UK has, on many occasions, chosen not to enforce these restrictions


There is a view that our politicians have either misunderstood these provisions or deliberately ignored them – read this blog from 2013 by Professor Brad Blitz for his view.

UK chose not to control the 2004 inflow of migrants

Certainly it is true that one of the sharpest rises in net migration came in 2004, when the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined. However it is also fact that the UK was one of only 3 of the original EU members to choose not to apply transitional restrictions on these eight countries   and as such the UK invited this surge.  They could have avoided it if they wished.  Restrictions can apply for up to 7 years after a new member joins the EU and there are provisions to restrict movement if there should be any localised “surges”.

UK does not know or track how many migrants are in the country

It is important to realise that the UK does not know how many EU migrants are in the country, as migrants are not checked or tracked. The numbers provided by Government are estimates only.  The total migrant population is measured through the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS), which aggregates and supplements LFS data to improve statistical accuracy. The annual movement of migrants is measured primarily through the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which surveys passengers at UK ports, with additional data on migration to and from Northern Ireland and Home Office data on asylum seekers.

The UK could have managed the inflow of EU migrants and chose not to.

Claim 2 – “Need to restrict and /or eliminate so called “Benefit Fraud” and “Welfare Tourism””

An ongoing claim of the anti-EU lobby has been that EU migrants are coming to the UK merely to access public services and the host state’s benefits system.  Indeed the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these citizens are “benefit tourists.” However, whilst this has not stopped Ms May making this claim, the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK and so there is no evidence to back these claims.

Actually, when checked then rather than being a “unacceptable burden” our EU migrants are contributing significantly to the economy, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

A FactCheck study on these claims showed that EU migrants rather than being a drain on the UK bank balance actually contribute significantly, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

According to the European Commission, between 2004 and 2009 free movement from newer member countries increased the GDP of the old EU member countries by almost one percent.

A further study showed that where UK-natives (during 2001-2011) claimed more than they paid in Tax the reverse was the case for EU Migrants who contributed significantly.


So there is no Benefit Tourism that the UK can point to however, even if there were migrants abusing the system as claimed then the FoM directive is clear. The directive enables Member States to adopt the necessary measures to refuse, terminate or withdraw any right conferred in the event of abuse of rights or fraud, such as marriages of convenience.  Article 35 of the directive expressly grants Member States the power, in the event of abuse or fraud, to withdraw any right conferred by the directive.  The Migrant could be removed from the UK as well as prosecuted for Fraud.

The problem would seem to be more one of lack of control by the UK Government rather than “Benefit Tourism” by migrants.

Claim 3 – “Migrants reduce wages and take jobs of the UK-natives”

Another false claim I’m afraid.

This paper from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL found that immigration depressed wages slightly for the very low paid between 1997 and 2005. But the overall effect over the whole wage distribution was slightly positive.

Another report looked specifically at the period when the UK experienced a surge of EU migration 2004-2006 and found “Despite anecdotal evidence, we found little hard evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.”


Research commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee found that “inflows of working-age EU migrants did not have a statistically significant association with native employment” between 1995 and 2010.

Finally a study Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK concluded:

  • There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers. Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UKborn workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.
  • EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in welfare and the use of public services. They therefore help reduce the budget deficit. Immigrants do not have a negative effect on local services such as crime, education, health, or social housing

Claim 4 – “Unfair pressures on the NHS and public services caused by this uncontrolled mass migration”

This would, on the face of it, provide the most pressing argument in the case against FoM.  Surely uncontrolled migration into an area could and has swamped local services and increased pressure on Public Services such as increased NHS waiting times.

Well, the first thing to consider is that the UK has singularly failed to apply the controls available to manage the movement of migrants, opting not to impose transitional restrictions in 2004 and failing to even track where EU migrants are. The truth is the Government do not know if this is an issue or not.

However, once again, facts disprove these allegations and a study of nationwide immigration data shows that immigration actually reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of migrants living in a local authority would reduce waiting times by 9 days.

A Channel4 FactCheck on the topic concludes:

“The Office for Budget Responsibility accepts the basic point that immigrants tend to improve the country’s finances. A major cut in immigration would mean tax hikes or more spending cuts, the watchdog has said.

This is because migrants tend to be younger and healthier, so they are more likely to be in work and paying taxes and less likely to be retired or to need healthcare.

HMRC recently said that recently arrived EEA nationals paid £3.1bn in income tax and national insurance in 2013/2014. They took out £0.56bn in HMRC benefits.


In 2014 all EU migrants paid £14.71B in taxes and claimed £2.56b in Tax Credits and Child Benefits meaning that they contributed a net £12.15B to the UK purse.

Of course, this kind of macroeconomic analysis cannot capture the experiences of people living in areas that have seen very high levels of EU immigration, so we can’t rule out incidents of pressure on local services.


I think it is pretty clear that there has been a concerted effort to show the FoM in a bad light and our current Conservative Government and Theresa May in particular must shoulder some of the blame for this.

The FoM has increased GDP (by an estimated 1%), has increased tax revenues (by a net £2b over benefits claimed), provided the largest source of labour for an otherwise impoverished NHS and also provided the freedom for 1.4m UK citizens to work or retire all over Europe.

The problems are in the main perceived rather than real and are exacerbated by the sheer incompetence of successive governments and the Home Office (again including the 6 years that Theresa May has been in charge). A failure to implement the available controls, manage or indeed even track the migration of labour into the UK. A shameful state of affairs that has contributed in no small part to the current Brexit debacle.


Looking for a Soft Landing?

Along with at least 16m other Britons (and that number will be growing by the day) I have no confidence that our current Government will be able to navigate through the Brexit nightmare without considerable help.

Please read and share if you agree with the blogs.

Contact me through @britainstays or via comments on this site if you would like to contribute.

Britain Stays!

This letter, signed by over 500 concerned citizens, has been sent to The Times in support of the call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal. This will be debated in the Commons on Dec 11th after a petition on the matter was signed by over 120,000 citizens.

If you wish to support this initiative;

please either:

  1. add a comment to this post or
  2. email peter_clarkson@btinternet.com  or
  3. DM @BritainStays providing: Name, email address and how you voted on June 23rd (optional)

Our signatories so far: 1000 citizens pdf 231117

Letter to the Editor

“The Times”



On 11 December, Parliament debates a petition  “to hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal”.  We write to you as a group of one thousand concerned citizens of no fixed political affiliations.

We believe that the case for a referendum on the “deal” to be negotiated by the Government on our departure from the EU is strong, and should be agreed by Parliament.  The original referendum posed a simple question to an issue which is very complex.  The campaign that was then conducted was abysmal on both sides, and presented citizens with information that was misleading or just plain untruthful.  We all know the result but it is worth spelling it out.  An advisory referendum produced a small majority of those who voted in favour of leaving the EU.  The vote to leave represented 37% of the eligible voting population of the country.  Worth noting that the government’s threshold criteria for industrial action which causes disruption to services is 40%.  The referendum result did not meet the government’s own democratic threshold.  This seems to us at the very least, a dubious basis on which to take a decision which will have a significant impact on the life of every citizen, and in particular, the young.

We are not doom-mongers who believe our country cannot succeed economically outside the EU.  However, during the course of the negotiations the government has held with the EU it has become apparent that the transitional costs of leaving have been underestimated, and have not been explained to the people.  Further, apart from the short term transitional costs, we believe that in order for this country to compete economically at the highest level as a single Nation, a massive further and continuing investment will be required in infrastructure, and particularly education and skills for the population.   This need, and how it might be funded has not so far been addressed by any of the parties in Parliament.

But we do not believe the cost to the country should be measured in economic terms alone; departure from the EU to stand on our own will also damage our political standing.  It is not that we will not be able to rely on support on many issues from members of the EU, many of which are of course our partners in NATO.  We will no longer be present at the table when EU positions are discussed.  Rather than being able to influence the nuances of the European position directly, we will find ourselves faced with positions which may not align perfectly with ours.  Nor can we count on always being on the same side.  There are issues that may divide us from the EU 27.  Our position in every global negotiation will be affected, and we may find decisions being taken in spite of our views, simply because we will be easier to ignore, or we will not be able to stand against a consensus in which we are not included.

The vote to leave was predominantly an English vote.  The people of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.  The unity and possibly the survival of the UK as it is will be weakened if Brexit is driven through on the basis of the EU referendum.  All the people of the United Kingdom deserve to be consulted about any deal negotiated by the government.

We know that the referendum vote was divisive, and it is common knowledge that  many of our politicians now fear that any repeat of the vote, whatever the outcome, will deepen those divisions.  We would argue that a failure to address the deep sense of grievance about the way in which the referendum was conducted will be equally damaging.  If the government calculates that those who did not vote, or who voted in favour of remaining are the more reasonable people who will eventually accept leaving the EU on the basis of the present mandate, we fear they may prove to be grossly mistaken, and the damage to our country’s unity will not heal for a generation, or possibly longer.

By allowing the initial referendum Parliament in effect abdicated its responsibility as the representatives of the people in the EU issue.  That responsibility cannot now simply be taken back.  It is clear that both those who voted to leave the EU and those who voted to remain have doubts about the deal the government is trying to negotiate. The people are entitled to be asked to make a final judgement on the deal.  A vote in Parliament alone will be equally or even more damaging than a referendum in which the population will have been seen to speak for itself.  Full information on the economic cost and the potential political impact on our international standing of the government’s deal, of remaining in the EU and of leaving without a deal should be provided and independently verified, and the people as a whole should make a choice between those options.

Parliament’s initial response to the petition it will debate on 11 December was ill judged.  The wording was peremptory, patronising, and smacked of contempt for serious citizens with legitimate concerns. We believe the people as a whole are entitled to take the final decision.  Only if that is done, transparently and democratically, is there a chance that the divisions the have been opened will be able to heal around the final result, whatever that should be.

We therefore urge Members of Parliament to agree to a referendum on whatever deal (or not) the government negotiates.

The UK can control migration from the EU without ending FoM or having to leave the Single Market

Now that the UK seems to have lurched back from the cliff-edge that Theresa May had planned for us I think we have an opportunity to look sensibly at the Brexit options available to the UK and in particular to examine Labour’s approach.

Jeremy seems to be far more pragmatic by pursuing a “Jobs First Brexit” with the retention and creation of jobs taking priority.

This is excellent news – however he is also saying that we need to control migration.  This would seem perfectly sensible until he infers that the only way to get control is by ending Freedom of Movement which in turn means leaving the Single Market.

Actually the UK does not have to end FoM and leave the Single Market in order to control the migration from the rest of the EU.

It will be interesting to actually understand what is meant by “control” as the UK already has a fairly comprehensive package of controls available within the  EU.

We have the powers to control migration. What we need is a leader prepared to implement them.

The controls don’t come without cost.  At present the UK does not track migration from the EU, we let EU Citizens come and go without registering and we don’t require EU citizens to produce EHIC cards when using the NHS.  See what happens if you want to work in Belgium or receive medical treatment in France.

Jeremy has suggested that migration has caused harm at the lower end of the market by “unscrupulous employers” bringing in low paid workers in favour of  British citizens. The evidence for this is pretty patchy however there are mechanisms to stop this if the UK can prove it is suffering harm, at present we can’t show this is happening.

Similarly if there is a surge to a particular region the migration can be halted/suspended to give time for public services etc. to catch up. Again this would require the UK to be able to show that harm is being caused.

Now is the time for a grown up discussion about migration.  We need to decide upon the powers we need to use and then look at the powers we already have.  If there is a gap then we have something real to negotiate for rather than silly wish lists and populist rhetoric.

Jeremy – now is your time.


References and links can be found in WE ARE BEING LIED TO 




As Yvette Cooper said recently “You can’t believe a word she says”

Theresa May has decided that lying is better than losing votes.  She is using the Trump tactic of not worrying about being caught in a lie as the people calling her out won’t vote for her anyway.

Trump has shown that believers will still believe and the others are a lost cause anyway.

This is hugely cynical and plumbing new depths even for UK politics.

She is helped by the massively supportive mass media not even mentioning the lies.

But, of course, she has not worried about lying in the past.

I have been keeping a bit of a list of the more brazen lies. Here they are:

  • Argued for Remain, now argues for Leave (one of the positions is deceitful)
  • Lied about UK law concerning consulting Parliament
    • Them blamed Gina Miller for obstruction by making her follow the law
  • Continues to lie that 17.4m of the British electorate voted to leave the Single Market and Customs Union, end Freedom of Movement and eliminate any influence by the ECJ. Some might have but there is no way they all voted for this.
  • Lied that the UK economy would be strong after leaving the Single Market
    • when CEBR and Government studies show that all forms of Brexit are worse than Remaining
  • Lied about immigrants saying they were putting pressure on the public services
  • Falsely blamed immigrants for stealing UK native jobs
  • Announced the Dementia Tax then scrapped it and famously lied that “Nothing has changed”
  • Said publicly, 6 times, that she would not call a snap election, then called a snap election
    • and blamed the Remainers because they were suggesting they would scrutinize the Exit deal
  • Accused the SNP of playing politics
    • Then blamed them for dividing the UK
  • Claimed in 2017 that the country was “coming together” when all studies showed it was more divided than ever before
  • Promised to enfranchise long-term ex-pats
    • we are still waiting….
  • Continues to say that the choice is between her deal and no deal when the the courts have ruled that the UK can revoke Article 50 unilaterally to stop Brexit
  • Claims a new public vote would undermine democracy
  • Claimed that Government there was “No special deal” with Nissan to secure the X-Trail and QashQai models in Sunderland
  • Claimed that the £20bn NHS additional funding was coming from a “Brexit Dividend”
  • Claims her deal “protect jobs” when in fact it just reduces the number of lost jobs when compared to a “No Deal”. Every form of Brexit will cost jobs when compared to Remaining in the EU.

I really don’t think we have ever had a PM quite as cynical, arrogant and, given these lies, corrupt.

I cannot believe that we want to be governed by someone with such a wayward moral compass.