UK & World News
Benefits Battle: Parties Talk Tough On Welfare
Jobless immigrants will be denied housing benefit under Government plans to tackle immigration and prevent the welfare system from being exploited.
Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the move would come into force from April.
It follows legislation rushed through Parliament to prevent migrants from claiming out-of-work benefits until they have been in Britain for three months.
Meanwhile, in her first major speech as shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves will later outline Labour plans to strip benefits from unemployed people who lack basic English, maths and IT skills unless they take up training.
Speaking on Sky News Mr Duncan Smith said: "These are strong measures †to make sure that British taxpayers don't subsidise †people who want to do a bit of benefit tourism."
He said that the Government had introduced rules so that from January 1 this year immigrant would not be able to claim out-of-work benefits until they had been living in the UK for three months.
Building on this he said that from April 1 the Government would be removing entitlement to housing benefit altogether for this group.
He added that EU migrants would only be able to claim jobseekers' allowance for six months but would then have to leave the country.
Mr Ducan Smith highlighted figures showing the number of Britons in jobs fell by 413,000 between 2005 and 2010, while the number of working foreigners increased by 736,000.
Under the Labour proposal to be unveiled by Ms Reeves this morning, all new claimants of jobseeker's allowance would have to sit a basic skills test to measure their abilities within six weeks of signing on.
Those found to need improvement will be put on a programme of training aimed at getting them up to the standard required for steady employment.
Ms Reeves is expected to say: "We all know that basic skills are essential in today's jobs market, but the shocking levels of English and maths among too many jobseekers are holding them back from getting work.
"This traps too many jobseekers in a vicious cycle between low-paid work and benefits.
"Government plans in this area just aren't enough. They're now asking jobseekers who exit the failed Work Programme to take up literacy and numeracy training, three whole years after those people first make a claim for benefits."
She will add: "Labour's basic skills test will give the long-term unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis."
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