EU referendum: Benefits brake won't even stop a 'push bike'

David Davis MP pictured with David Cameron in 2005.
David Davis MP pictured with David Cameron in 2005.

THE PRIME Minister’s ‘emergency brake’ on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits would not even ‘stop a push bike’, Conservative MP David Davis has claimed.

The Eurosceptic and one-time contender to lead the party lampooned Mr Cameron’s EU deal as ultimately having ‘little impact, if any’ on the nature of the EU, and no impact at all on dissuading migrants to come to the country.

In a speech delivered in Central London yesterday morning, Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis said the so-called brake in-work benefits for four years will be meaningless because of the 265,000 people who migrated to the UK, most of them are from poor Eastern European countries who won’t be put off by the proposed changes.

He said very few migrants claim in-work benefits in the first few years of their arrival, and since most don’t have children so they are not paid a considerable amount in child tax credits.

Futhermore, by the time they are likely to claim, usually up to four years after arrival, a single person on the minimum wage would only be eligible for £10 a month in tax credits.

“Not even with a very generous leap of imagination can anyone believe that the loss of this amount would dissuade people from coming to this country,” he said.

“The other problem with the brake is that the Government’s own policy to dramatically raise the minimum wage in the form of the national living wage will have the effect of abolishing in-work benefits.

“By 2020 when the living wage is due to be £9 per hour, and the personal tax allowance has risen further, in-work benefits will be minimal. And the minimum wage in this country will be an even greater multiple of the average wage of the poorest EU members.”

Describing the union as a ‘crumbling relic from a gloomy past’, he said he preferred Canada’s relationship with the EU and Britain should try and strike a similar arrangement.

The former chairman of the Conservative party praised the country for having gained a full scale free trade agreement, but without the freedom of movement of people, through their Canadian Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

He said: “This would be a perfectly good starting point for our discussions with the Commission.”