'Emergency brake' will have little or no effect

February 24, 2016

The 'emergency brake' on in-work benefits, announced as part of last week’s renegotiation deal, will have little or no effect on net EU migration. That is the conclusion of a new Migration Watch UK report.

Migration Watch UK research has found that 50 per cent of those who have arrived in the past four years were single. Another 25 per cent were couples without children. Their entitlement to in-work benefits is marginal, so the ‘brake’ would be very unlikely to act as a deterrent – especially as these groups are likely to benefit the most from the move to the National Living Wage.

The introduction of a National Living Wage, reaching £9 per hour in 2020, will outweigh any impact the ‘brake’ may have in deterring migrants from key demographic groups from moving to the UK as income levels rise by more than benefits are reduced, and might indeed increase the attractiveness of the UK as a destination.

Couples and singles with dependent children, who would be entitled to significant benefits, make up only a small proportion of those Eastern Europeans who first arrived in the UK from 2011 onwards.

Net migration is currently 336,000 per year, with approximately 180,000 arriving from the EU. The UK’s population is growing at its fastest rate in nearly a century and official forecasts see it set to increase by nearly ten million in the next 25 years. Two thirds of this increase will be due to future migration.

Commenting, the Chairman of Migration Watch UK Lord Green of Deddington said:

This outcome will make virtually no difference to immigration, nearly half of which now comes from the EU. Singles and couples without children have only marginal entitlements to benefits and most EU migrant families do not qualify for much in the way of benefits in their early years in the UK. The availability of work and salaries considerably higher than those at home are likely to be the main attraction.

To read the full report, click here.

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