What Have You Got to Hide, Mr Cameron?

I’ve met a wide cross-section of people from other EU countries who have come to Britain to work. I’ve never met one for whom Britain’s in-work benefits factored at all in their decision to come here. Yet Cameron and his cabinet colleagues assert, again and again, that curbing such benefits is a key part of our EU renegotiations.

Cameron looking shiftyI’ve searched many times for any research or evidence from a reliable source supporting the idea that our benefits system attracts workers from other EU countries. I can find no such evidence. Last week, an economist working for the Office for Budget Responsibility told a Parliamentary committee that curbing such benefits would make “not much” difference to migration flows. And yet Cameron ploughs on, hitting strong opposition to this proposal in his Brussels working dinner last night.

It has also emerged recently that HMRC (who administer tax credits) have refused a Freedom of Information request from the respected National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The request is to publish figures of EU migrants claiming benefits. The reason stated is worth a full quote:

“The information is being used to inform the development of policy options as part of the negotiation process and therefore relates to the formulation of Government policy. HMRC continues to believe that releasing information in the form requested would, at this stage, be unhelpful to the negotiation process.”

Any intelligent human being is quickly going to come to an obvious conclusion: the numbers don’t support Cameron’s assertion. You can be sure the numbers would have been published if they did. Once again, this demonstrates Cameron’s ineptitude as Prime Minister. His weakness shows again against the Daily Mail and Sun , UKIP and the xenophobic right in his own party. Trying to counter their lies and distortions by hiding the facts is hardly reassuring to the public.

As government ministers are keen to say when demanding ever more snooping powers for the security services: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”. So what exactly have you got to hide, Mr Cameron?


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