Britain is giving more than £30 million a year in benefits to families in other countries and, under European Union law, the government can do nothing about it. This means that families with hardly any connection to Britain can take advantage of its generous benefits system, with most of the money going to families of migrant workers, especially in Poland.
The Express reports that the Treasury released the figures yesterday in response to questions from MPs.
Last year, Child Benefit went to 20,400 families living overseas, with a total of 34,268 children. Most of these are relatives of migrant workers who came to Britain under the EU’s free movement rules.
Of those families, 13,174 are in Poland, 1,215 are in Lithuania and 416 are in Romania and Bulgaria.
Andy Silvester, the campaign director for the TaxPayers’ Alliance told the Express: “The Government has to step in. The idea that UK taxpayers should be paying to raise children in foreign countries is ludicrous.”
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said: “I don’t believe anybody coming in from the EU should get benefits until they are more permanently settled. It should be five years. David Cameron says we cannot do it at the moment. I think we should.”
His colleague Mark Reckless also said: “It is a disgrace that we are paying Child Benefit for kids who do not live in this country. It is yet another reason why we need to get out of the EU.”
Labour MP Keith Vaz added: “Without EU reform this issue will never be resolved. The Prime Minister should lay out his reform agenda now or face an impossible task.”