Latest Public Sector News

08.05.13

Immigration to be restricted – Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s speech has focused on measures to restrict EU migrants moving to Britain.

The Government is introducing an Immigration Bill which includes reduced access to welfare and introduces fines for private landlords who do not check the immigration status of their tenants.

Jobseeker’s Allowance will be restricted to six months for immigrants and businesses will face tougher fines for using illegal labour.

A new residence test will require most individuals to be lawfully resident in the UK for at least 12 months before access to civil legal aid. Home Secretary Theresa May will use the Bill to make it easier to deport suspected criminals and terrorists, who will no longer be able to cite Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence) to stay in the UK. Article 8 is a qualified right, so in some circumstances public authorities can already interfere with the private and family life of an individual, where necessary to protect national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country; to prevent disorder or crime, protect health or morals, or to protect the rights and freedoms of others. But May suggested that judges are too often ignoring this qualification.

The speech said: “We want to attract people who will add to our national life, and those who will not should be deterred.”

The speech also put forward a bill to introduce a single weekly state pension of £144 per week, which will replace the current pension of £107 plus means-tested top-ups, as well as measures on energy infrastructure and a cap on the cost of social care, as recommended by the Dilnot Commission.

The focus on immigration comes a day after Lord Lawson called for the UK to leave the EU, highlighting the economic benefits of doing so.

But at a conference on Somalia in London, the Prime Minister said: “I want to give people a choice not between the status quo and leaving the European Union.

“I want to give people a proper choice between Britain remaining in a reformed EU or leaving that EU. That's the choice that people will have. That is the choice that people want. And there is only one way to get it and that will be by supporting the Conservatives at the next election. Frankly, I welcome the attention that is being put on this very clear promise.”

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