Monday, October 30, 2006

Housing benefit goes off the scale in Lewisham
In another example of trend setting, Lewisham has helped qualifying residents, on average, move from a deficit of £17 to a surplus of £24 thanks to a new housing benefit scheme.

Aside from fears of overpayment (and memories of the tax credit fiasco are still fresh), tenants who move home and do not inform the council, still get the money. The Department for Work and Pensions is losing the battle to stop overpayments. How will it cope when Romanians and Bulgarians come to the UK next year as fellow EU citizens? The pro-EU think tank, `Open Europe’ admits past promises have failed: The government said that they would restrict access to welfare benefits for people from the new member states when they joined the EU. But the system has failed. There have been 42,057 successful benefit claims since May 2004 by immigrants from Eastern Europe.

It seems to me that the call for a review of our links to the EU is well overdue but this organisation stubbornly persists to be the elephant in the room…

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