Opinion - Policy & Ideas

2007 - 2022

Brexit vote forces Cameron into EU benefits U-turn

Last week’s Brexit decision will mean the end of some Tory Benefit cuts, in an ironic twist for the populist right. The planned cuts would have meant the end of all Jobseekers Allowance claims for EC Citizens and a ban on Tax Credits for the first 4 years of residency; plunging thousands of working families into poverty.

MAIN-David-CameronThe move was so extreme that Cameron had to negotiate special permission from Brussels, using the threat of Brexit as a bargaining chip.

Now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, that chip is long gone and Cameron’s special deal is off the table forever. This was made abundantly clear by the joint institutions of the EU, last Friday.

“As agreed, the ‘New Settlement for the United Kingdom within the EU’, reached at the European Council on 18 to 19 February 2016, will now not take effect and ceases to exist. There will be no renegotiation.”

David Cameron himself confirmed the death of the policy in a commons debate yesterday, telling the house: “I made a series of suggestions about welfare changes that will not now be coming in, and I am obviously sad about that.”

So, no more special treatment for Tory Politicians. No new benefit cuts for EC workers.

The overall situation, however, remains bleak. EC Citizens across Britain woke up on the 25th to a future of uncertainty and an unprecedented rise in racial abuse. And, while the latest cuts have been averted, previous cuts must still be lived with.
As we reported on 20th June, The Tory Government has repeatedly targeted benefit cuts at EC Citizens, creating a two tier benefits system. (https://dev.bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/06/20/camerons-toxic-welfare-debate/)

An EC citizen arriving in Scotland today to look for work faces a three month wait before they can even make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit.

Once they have claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance, they are only entitled to it for 3 months before facing stringent questions on their likelihood of finding work. If their only “right to reside” is as a jobseeker, they will not be entitled to Housing Benefit at any point.

If an EC citizen loses her job after working in the UK, she can “retain” her “worker status.” This will entitle her to 6 months of Jobseeker’s Allowance before the dreaded “genuine prospect of seeking work” test kicks in- resulting in benefits termination in most cases.

Scotland now faces a new referendum and a new chance at national self-determination within the institutions of Europe. To be a good European Citizen- an independent Scotland we will need to reverse all these cuts and restore our fellow Europeans to a position of equality within the benefits system.

Comments (5)

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  1. tartanfever says:

    Thanks Ellenor,

    I was wondering what Cameron was talking about when he said this in his speech.

    More good/bad news. I’m not sure which it is. Good I suppose that this is being said and judgement is being given.

    The UN has found the UK in breach of it’s Human Rights Obligations. You can read about it here:


    ‘The United Nations has confirmed that the UK’s Austerity policies breach the UK’s international human rights obligations.

    The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has expressed “serious concern” about the impact of regressive policies on the enjoyment of economic and social rights in a damning report on the UK.’

    1. Ellenor Hutson says:

      No probs, Tartanfever and thanks for the link. It should make interesting reading

    2. bringiton says:

      Oh well,another club for Little England to part company with.

  2. c rober says:

    Actually the Tories and the Labour party have now both suffered for deacades of inaction on benefits , in that the EU members have in the majority conditional benefits structures , ie on the soil , lived there a defined time frame and importantly paid into a system as a worker for x amount of time.

    This could have been resolved long ago , especially with child benefit , where in the most cases , of nations which actually have some for of it themselves , in that the child is to be resident in country of the claim made. Unlike in the UK .

    But as we see it was better to do the smoke and mirrors , lie back and lie , to show that the EU was tying the Uk hands , and those same eu working migrants were responsible for lack of investment into housing and services. Where this was summarily exacerbated by the London centric banking system , keen on low wages and mortgage growth and ever increasing House price increases , and of course austerity over investing out of a recession , with low interest rates benefitting the stock market and banks brick assets from auction style property sell offs to refinance their books.

    The snp should learn from this that you cant keep a blamehound and not expect a different outcome than that of which you want.

    This is part of the reason why only certain benefits have , or will be , devolved to holyrood , a poison chalice with external control of budgets…. leading to hatred of the Holyrood system , and thus the SNP as the deliverers of Westminsters cuts and policies on their behalf.

  3. David Allan says:

    Cameron’s EU Welfare cut negotiation would have eventually been challenged as discriminatory in the EU Courts, it wasn’t worth a jot and Cameron new it.

    Why is he continually treated with kid gloves by the Capital’s media political hacks?

    His cowardice in stepping down despite continually stating when asked that he would lead brexit negotiations speaks volumes of his real etonian boarding school inspired character.

    No doubt a lucrative new city role awaits.

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