Top political stories right now
The Government has defended its latest crackdown on European Union immigrants claiming benefits against accusations that it will affect very few people.
David Cameron said the move to halve the period during which unemployed migrants can claim out-of-work and child benefits would save the taxpayer £500m.
The BBC’s head of statistics Anthony Reuben estimated that fewer than 10,000 people would be affected by the change, while former Cabinet Office chief economist Jonathan Portes said it would hit “almost nobody”.
However, Iain Duncan Smith argued that the best figures available to the Government showed that more than 120,000 EU migrants applied for national insurance numbers at the same time as claiming welfare last year.
He blamed the shortage of information on the last government’s refusal to collect data and said that the £500m figure was from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
“He [Reuben] doesn’t know and that’s the real point about this which I want to point out because the last government refused at any stage at jobcentres and benefit centres to break down the nationality of people,” the Work and Pensions Secretary told the World at One.
Mr Cameron also announced plans to cut back on the number of British jobs advertised abroad and stop “bogus colleges” allowing immigrants to enter the country as students.
“Let’s be clear, some people are coming here to work, some people are coming here to claim, and some people are coming here pretending to be students,” he told reporters.
“I have a very clear approach to this, which is that if you don’t have a right to be here, you will be sent home, you shouldn’t be here. People want to know that we have a fair, legal migration system, but in terms of illegal migration, we will find you, we will send you home."
Labour accused the Government of failing to take “firm action” and said it had been calling for a crackdown for 18 months.
“The Government should get a grip and finally implement Labour’s proposals to stop the undercutting of wages and jobs for local workers by the exploitation of low-skilled migrant labour, including banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe,” Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said in a statement.
On The Way Up
Today in Schools, education & training
Today in Economy & Employment
Today in Culture, media & sport
Today in Local and Regional
Today in Party Politics & Reform
News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh
This morning's top ten must-reads
Today's Five at Five
Find out more about the professional political news service
Bits and bobs from the political day
Hand picked politics - Live
Blog 17:20 | The perverse consequences of punishing the banksCoffee House
Blog 17:10 | America needs to end its obsession with trying to fix everything inGaza | Aaron David MillerComment is Free
Blog 16:59 | The Long GameTotal Politics
Twitter 16:54 | Government's continued dash for dirty gas now includes opening up 10 of the UK's 13 national parks for fracking. Totally unacceptable.Roger Godsliff
Blog 16:51 | The Lib Dems’ underwhelming review of their own financesConservativeHome
Blog 16:40 | Gaddafi has gone but Libya is more dangerous than ever, thanks to thewest | Nabila RamdaniComment is Free
Blog 16:24 | Is David Cameron's latest immigration crackdown legal under EU law?Open Europe blog
Blog 16:21 | The McGuffin EffectTotal Politics
Blog 16:05 | Why Labour loves Andy BurnhamComment is Free
Blog 15:45 | Has anyone seen this missing Tory candidate?LabourList
Latest opinion research and analysis
Most read around the web
Most read on PoliticsHome
Click to see todays front pages and political bits
The political diary