"The Government does not keep a record of how many people from other European Union (EU) countries claim benefits in Britain, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said today.Which is pretty extraordinary.
Mr Grayling said he had been "surprised to discover" that such records did not exist and pledged to ensure the figures were documented in the future.
He claims that
"One of the things I was surprised to discover over the past few weeks is that the department (Department for Work and Pensions) does not, and indeed did not under the previous government, keep any record of the nationality of people who claim benefits.OK, so far so ruddy useless, until Philip Hollobone asked the queston he hadn't bothered to do anything, or even find out. But then it gets weird, because in a follow up statement Grayling says,
"This is something we're now moving to address and find a way to make sure we do so."
"I have had many conversations in the last few months with fellow employment ministers in other EU countries and there is a mounting debate about a need for rule changes that will set exactly when and where benefits should and should not be paid."Now if the minister has been talking to his EU counterparts about this, surely he should have known the extent of the situation? If he has been talking to them for months, he has blathering from a point of complete ignorance and hasn't bothered to inform himself. Which is pretty much the rule when it comes to EU discussions and negotiations under this government.
But then I start to wonder. Why are these statistics not collated? Why is he talking to his counterparts rather than ordering his department to publish the facts. Is it because he would be accused of discriminatory actions if he did so without EU approval?
And if so, as Paul Nuttall the UKIP deputy leader has just said,
"If he does need their permission it will never be granted, as a majority of EU states do not want light to be shed on the mystery. They do not want British taxpayers to know how much they are forking out for other nationals through their benefits system".