David Cameron and the coalition are having a bit of a bad time. Last week the UN’s Special Rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, called for the abolition of the ‘bedroom tax’ saying:
“I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis.
“People in testimonies were crying, saying ‘I have nowhere to go’, ‘I will commit suicide'”.
The Conservative Party (NOT the government) responded by flooding the media with misrepresentations about Ms Rolnik’s “agenda” and took the low road by playing up the Daily Mail’s accusation that she was a “loon”; all of which have been comprehensively debunked.
Today Cameron is faced with having his plan to prevent migrants from being able to claim state benefits, so-called “benefit tourism”, called in to question by the House of Lords Committee charged with oversight of UK government EU policy and by the European Commission. It should be no surprise to readers of this blog that the problem Cameron faces is a near total absence of evidence to support his claim that benefit tourism is in fact a real problem in the UK.
Cameron’s attempt to undermine the principle of free movement within the EU’s labour market by using our media fuelled fear of immigrants is criticised by the EU, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the international headhunting firm Harvey Nash and the Lords, who have, according to the Observer, said that:
“despite several requests the government has failed to offer anything more than anecdotal claims to back its assertion that “social benefit tourism” is a real problem”.
In a statement to the Observer, the European commissioner for employment and social affairs, László Andor, also said that the UK was not proving its arguments with evidence. “It is important that policy on labour migration within the EU is based on facts rather than gut feelings or perceptions,” he said. “If there are indeed substantial problems, the commission would of course be willing to consider how best to address them. We have not received any substantive data so far.”
“….a joint report by the CEBR and global recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash has concluded that any measures to restrict freedom of movement to the UK from other parts of the EU would have a devastating effect on the British economy, because EU citizens are more likely to be in work and are more productive than British-born workers. The report says that curbing immigration from other parts of the EU could cost the UK £60bn in lost GDP (2% in real terms) by 2050…..
According to the CEBR/Harvey Nash report, immigrant workers are more likely to be in work (63%) than UK-born citizens (56.2%) and are more economically active. It says British businesses rely heavily on immigrant workers. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of non-British EU-born citizens employed in the UK went up from 762,000 to 1,647,000.”
The Observer (15.9.13)
Cameron’s evidence free ideological policy making on immigration is underpinned by the UKIP dog whistle but even parliament is starting to ask “Where’s the beef?”.
- James O’Brien shows UKIP supporters why facts matter
- UKIP: lying about who makes the UK’s laws since 2009
- Iain Duncan Smith’s explosive row with LBC’s James O’Brien
- UKIP Fruit Loops (An Occasional Series): No.2 David Silvester
- UKIP’s party election broadcast fact-checked and found (seriously) wanting
- It’s not just UKIP members who are fruit loops, it’s their donors too!
- UKIP Fruit Loops (An Occasional Series): No.1 Godfrey Bloom
- Updated With Video: Do you want the truth from your government or just what a minister says he ‘believes’ to be true? (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Do you want the truth from your government or just what a minister believes to be true? Part 2 (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Do you want the truth from your government or just what a minister believes to be true? Part 3 (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Migration Myths (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Are You Stupid? What Has Happened To Rational Debate Over Immigration? (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Are You Stupid? What Has Happened To Rational Debate Over Immigration? (Part Two)(imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Faisal Islam’s (not) looking for answers (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- £334m Written-off Or Mismanaged By Iain Duncan Smith In Universal Credit “Disaster” (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
- Tory anger over UN benefits report (bbc.co.uk)
- Bedroom Tax: United Nations rules hated charge breaches human rights and should be scrapped (mirror.co.uk)
- UN housing expert’s call to axe bedroom tax ‘a disgrace’ – senior Tory (theguardian.com
- Bedroom Tax: Tory Grant Shapps brands UN inspector who vowed to abolish hated charge an ‘absolute disgrace’ (mirror.co.uk)
- UN rapporteur sorry for using term ‘bedroom tax’ (itv.com)
- Grant Shapps should reconsider his ill-informed UN ‘bedroom tax’ outrage | Aoife Nolan (theguardian.com)
- Hysterical reaction to UN Rapporteur (natalie82b.wordpress.com)