BRITISH government plans to restrict access to some benefits to migrants from the European Union could hit young British citizens too.
Under Conservative proposals, only EU migrants who have been living and working in the UK for a minimum of four years would be eligible for benefits that can be claimed while working, such as tax credits and housing benefit.
However, according to BBC reports on Tuesday (August 11), ministers have been advised that solely applying the restriction to migrants would be illegal under EU law.
“Imposing additional requirements on EU workers that do not apply to a member state’s own workers constitutes direct discrimination which is prohibited under current EU law,” says a document from government lawyers seen by the broadcaster.
Extending the restriction to the UK population as a whole would mean 18-year-old British workers would also be ineligible until they reached 22, and that is reportedly what the government is considering. The BBC says this would affect around 50,000 UK citizens under 22 who receive tax credits, most of whom have children.
Tax credits are paid to workers earning below a certain level to top up low wages.