Migrants' access to benefits likely to be restricted

The government is expected to seek to restrict migrants’ access to social housing and benefits in measures to be outlined tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s Queens speech will include an Immigration Bill. This is expected to include measures to limit the access that migrants have to health services, benefits and social housing. There will also be measures to make it easier for foreign criminals to be deported.

The bill has been seen as a response to fears about the impact of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria when the restrictions on citizens from those countries working in the UK are lifted from next January. The Conservative party is also under pressure from its right-wing following the surge in support for the United Kingdom Independence Party in last Thursday’s local elections.

John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw, on Labour’s independent grassroots e-network Labour List, urged his party to tackle the ‘problem’ of UKIP and suggested people who lived in social housing as children should be at the top of waiting lists.

‘How is it fair that a youth can be born in a council house, live in it for 18 years and then lose out in allocation to a Polish family who have been in the country for a few months,’ he wrote. ‘How is this social justice?’  ‘It is time to stop meddling with vague concepts,’ Mr Mann urged. ‘Let us have clear social justice priorities.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband last week set out an ‘alternative Queen’s speech’ outlining what the opposition would do if it was in power. The alternative speech included a housing bill to create a national register of private landlords, end unfair letting agents’ fees and bring in longer-term private tenancies.