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Jobseeker’s Allowance (EU Claimants)

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

15. Whether she has made a recent estimate of the number of people from EU accession states who are claiming jobseeker’s allowance. (321790)

The information is not available in the form requested. Accession-country nationals who have worked and paid sufficient national insurance contributions, and who meet the other conditions of entitlement, may be entitled to contributory jobseeker’s allowance. Of those who have claimed income-based jobseeker’s allowance, it is estimated that 5,647 passed the habitual residence test—the test that must be satisfied to access income-related benefits—in the 12 months to September 2009. However, data on how many went on to receive the benefit are not available, as this information is not recorded by nationality.

Does the Minister find it surprising that thousands of eastern Europeans may well be claiming these benefits given that, despite the fact that we have had 13 years of anti-discrimination legislation, some companies are now allowed openly to advertise that they do not want to employ indigenous British people, but only those of Polish or other eastern European origin? Is that not outrageous?

No, if I can give the hon. Gentleman a little more information, he will understand that his claims are exaggerated, to say the very least. Last year, 162 A2 nationals passed the HRT. The number who passed for claiming income support was 40, the number who passed for making a claim for employment and support allowance was 16, and the numbers from the A8 countries were some 6,000, so the hon. Gentleman should set this in the context of the overall amount of benefits that are paid in this country.