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Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:55 pm on 5th February 2016.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 1:55 pm, 5th February 2016

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that, because the situation regarding child benefit is probably one of the most indefensible in the benefit system. It does not matter how much evidence there is of how many people it applies to; it cannot be right, as a point of principle, that somebody can come into this country from Poland to work and claim child benefit for their children, who still reside in Poland and have never set foot outside Poland. It cannot possibly be right, on principle. We do not need any evidence to know that that is wrong; it is clearly and palpably wrong. It is strange that the Labour party is so wedded to its European credentials that it will inevitably have to see restrictions in benefits for all UK citizens to pay the bill for benefits to European citizens. I am sure that that does not go down very well in many of the estates in the hon. Lady’s constituency.

I do not intend to speak for long, because I appreciate that we need to press on, but I want to make a point about clause 3, which will ensure that nobody is paid a level of benefit above that of the equivalent benefit in their own country. I think I am right in saying that that the Prime Minister is trumpeting something similar in his deal regarding child benefit. As I understand it—my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch, who is far more knowledgeable on the matter than I am, will correct me if I am wrong—the Prime Minister is saying that under the great deal that he has secured for the nation, Polish people, for example, who claim child benefit will be able to claim only for the child benefit rate in Poland, or whichever country the children reside in. That seems very similar to clause 3.