Wednesday September 12,2012
By Macer Hall
Sign the e-petition on immigration here-http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19658
A report showed that 371,000 people claiming working age benefits were non-British citizens
A BULGARIAN family of nine who targeted Britain’s soft welfare system have been given a council house just three weeks after arriving here.
Jobless Rusi Georgiev, 41, headed to the UK with partner Mariana Sabeva, 34, and their seven children after reportedly telling fellow Bulgarians he would live on benefits here.
The family set up a squalid camp outside Westminster Cathedral in central London – and were handed accommodation after lodging a claim for asylum with the Home Office.
Last night, critics said it was another example of foreigners taking the British people for “mugs” by milking our lax benefits system.
Tory MP Mark Spencer said: “My constituents are sick to the back teeth with this sort of thing.
“People who work hard and fall on hard times find that getting access to benefits is intolerably long winded. Then they see people coming into this country who have contributed nothing and easily getting handouts. It is morally indefensible.”
Mr Spencer, MP for Sherwood, Notts, added: “People from Bulgaria should not be coming here to claim asylum – it is another EU country.
“This is another problem brought about by our membership of the EU. We should not be being told what to do by Europe.”
Nicholas Soames, Tory MP for Mid Sussex, condemned the housing offer as “unacceptable”.
UK Independence Party Euro-MP Gerard Batten said: “We can’t blame the Bulgarians, they are speaking the plain truth.
“Our membership of the European Union means that we are essentially inviting every parasite in the EU to come and take advantage of our housing and benefits system.
“We are the biggest mugs in the world to allow this to happen.
“I have decent, hard-working constituents in London who are losing benefits and cannot get public housing.
“But at the same we have flung our doors open to people who have never paid a penny in taxation to the UK and probably never will.”
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Ministers must ensure Britain isn’t an easy target for benefit tourism.
“Asylum is not meant for anyone who fancies an easy life at taxpayers’ expense.”
The family arrived in the UK legally, travelling by coach and using European Union passports.
Initially, they were given council emergency accommodation, then set up camp outside Westminster Cathedral. Witnesses said they were living in squalid conditions, sleeping on the ground surrounded by dirty nappies.
Westminster Council then took them off the street because of “safeguarding concerns about the children”. They are now living in accommodation funded by taxpayers while officials process their asylum claim.
A fellow Bulgarian told reporters: “They heard about the benefits here and have come to claim them. They’ve been offered tickets back to Bulgaria by the authorities but they want to stay.
“In Bulgaria they can’t get these benefits. More and more people are going to do this.”
Westminster City Council insisted it was legally obliged to offer the family housing under current benefit rules because of concerns about the children.
Councillor Nickie Aiken, cabinet member for Children, Young People & Community Protection, said: “This kind of case further illustrates the strain that people suddenly arriving in London place on an authority like ours.
“There are nearly 7,000 short-term migrants in Westminster already – and those are only the ones we know about.
“The reality is that groups like this come in every day and, if they have a claim on council services – for example if there are children who need looking after – then we have a legal duty to step in.
“Inaccurate counting in the 2011 census means the city council potentially stands to lose up to £15million because of people who live here but don’t appear in the statistics.
“People who come here and demand to be housed or looked after are just adding to the bill.
“I can totally understand the frustration of Westminster taxpayers that they are paying for people who apparently are here to play the system.” The case emerged a day after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith attacked benefit tourism.
He told the Commons on Monday: “It is not right for us to end up with a system – other countries agree on this – in which someone can literally arrive here and, only days after, decide they are not working and therefore they are eligible for benefits.
“That would be quite wrong for the British taxpayer.”
Ministers are currently fighting a court battle against European rules insisting that EU migrants are eligible to claim certain welfare benefits as soon as they arrive in the UK.
Recent figures from Whitehall showed that foreigners are now pocketing £2.1billion in UK welfare handouts every year.
A Government report showed that 371,000 people claiming working age benefits were non-British citizens.
Other official figures showed that one in eight of all council houses for young adults are now occupied by foreigners.
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