Phil Bennion – EU migration debate must not fuel inaccurate stereotypes

There is a case for Britain to adjust the rules for some benefits but this should not be used to fuel inaccurate stereotypes about the impact of migration, Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion has said following a meeting with EU Employment Commissioner Lazlo Andor.

The West Midlands MEP and Lib Dem Employment Spokesman says he has grown increasingly concerned at the direction of debate in recent days.

He commented: “We need to separate spin from substance. The current system of EU free movement of labour does not mean freedom to access benefits without contributing through taxes. It is therefore right that we close loopholes in order to prevent abuses.

“But it is not helpful of David Cameron to link minor changes for what are essentially minor problems with the Conservative Party’s long-term plans to undermine freedom of movement in the EU.

“All the evidence shows that EU migration has brought huge benefits to the UK and has been a bonus, not a drain, on the Treasury.

“Mr Cameron is in danger of stoking the fires of UKIP, while Labour are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to out nasty the Nasty Party over EU migration. It falls to Liberal Democrats, as the Party of In, to defend the principle of free movement in the EU and the huge benefits it brings, both to the UK economy and to the 2 million or so British citizens living and working across the European continent.”

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