David Cameron promotes business leaders' plan to slash Brussels red tape with blueprint to sweep away EU rules and regulations
PM prepares new blueprint for EU as row grows over migrant figures
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 15 October 2013
A blueprint to sweep away European Union rules and regulations to cut company costs and create jobs will be presented by a taskforce of business leaders to the Cabinet at its weekly session today.
David Cameron will use the report to demand a more pro-active approach to cutting red tape by the European Commission when his fellow EU leaders discuss the issue at a summit next week. The proposals include scrapping the requirement for small firms in low-risk sectors to keep written health and safety assessments to save €2.7bn across Europe.
Yesterday the Prime Minister was embroiled in a row with the Brussels Commission after it dismissed the Government’s claims that migrants are being attracted to the UK to claim benefits and have NHS treatment. A study for the Commission played down the scale of “benefit tourism”, which ministers have used to justify plans to restrict access to state handouts and health care for new arrivals.
Laszlo Andor, the EU Employment Commissioner, said the majority of EU citizens move to another member state to work and that “so-called benefit tourism . . . is neither widespread nor systematic.” He said the Commission remains committed to ensuring that EU citizens can work in another member state “without facing discrimination or obstacles.”
According to the Commission, EU migrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, and jobless EU migrants form only 1.2 per cent of the EU population in the UK. A Commission spokesman dismissed as “a gross and totally irresponsible misrepresentation” newspaper reports saying there are 600,000 unemployed EU migrants in Britain. He said this figure included older schoolchildren, students and retired people, pointing to UK Government statistics showing that fewer than 38,000 claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) were from EU nations, 2.6 per cent of those receiving the benefit.
But Downing Street insisted there was “widespread and understandable” public concern that benefits were among the “pull factors” that persuaded migrants to come to the UK. It defended plans to tighten the “habitual residence test” which determines whether EU migrants can claim benefits such as JSA, as well as auditing the NHS bill for treating EU nationals. “We don’t think the current system is working in the right way,” said Mr Cameron’s official spokesman.
In an unusual move, the Prime Minister invited the six bosses on his taskforce to address the full Cabinet. They are Marc Bolland, chief executive at Marks & Spencer; Ian Cheshire, chief executive at Kingfisher; Glenn Cooper, managing director at ATG Access; Louise Makin, chief executive at BTG; Dale Murray, an entrepreneur and angel investor and Paul Walsh, former chief executive at Diageo.
Their 30 EU-wide proposals include fast-tracking measures to cap fees for credit card, internet and mobile payments; abandoning plans to force small firms such as carpenters to pay fees to collect and transport waste and streamlining a rule on chemicals.
In a letter to fellow European leaders, Mr Cameron said the EU needed to go “further and faster” to tackle the costs and burdens which hamper companies. “We must also put business at the heart of this debate, listening to what they need to successfully compete,” he said.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...