Wednesday, July 30, 2014
British PM announces immigration benefits crackdown
David Cameron is to announce tough action on immigration that will halve the amount of time foreigners can claim benefits in the UK.
The Coalition will introduce laws to ensure that European Union migrants can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months, Mr Cameron says in an article for The Telegraph.
The Prime Minister also pledges to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU and announces tough new curbs on colleges offering visas to “bogus” students.
The Government will make changes to the immigration system that put “Britain first” and ensure that the UK is “a country that is not a soft touch”, Mr Cameron says. “We changed the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months,” Mr Cameron adds.
“And we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for. It used to be that European jobseekers could claim Job Seeker’s Allowance or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.
“I can tell Telegraph readers today that we will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.”
Mr Cameron’s latest intervention on immigration will be seen as an attempt to woo back Conservative voters who have defected to Ukip in recent months.
Under measures announced last year, European immigrants have to wait three months before they can claim out-of-work benefits. They can then claim the benefits for a maximum of six months.
Mr Cameron’s announcement came as the International Monetary Fund warned that “restrictive immigration policies” in the UK “could have a negative impact on productivity growth”. In a report on Britain’s finances the IMF, which last week upgraded its forecast for UK growth to 3.2 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2015, said: “Relaxing immigration requirements in areas with labour shortages, such as manufacturing, could provide a boost to productivity and facilitate the rebalancing of the UK economy.”
There was anger last year after it emerged that under an EU scheme partly funded by British taxpayers, all positions advertised in UK job centres also have to be offered to workers in European member states. UK firms are given as much as £1,000 as a bonus for taking on the foreign workers.
The EURES scheme offers foreigners hundreds of pounds of funding to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons.
Of the 2.4 million jobs posted on the EURES site, 1,138,847 are posts in the UK. Jobs at UK firms including Tesco and Sainsbury’s are advertised on the site.
Downing Street said that in future, jobs will only be uploaded to the website if an employer specifically requests that the position is offered across the EU. “Some recruitment agencies have even been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for jobs,” Mr Cameron writes. “So we are banning overseas-only recruitment — legally requiring these agencies to advertise in English in the UK. And today we are announcing a further measure. In the past, all vacancies advertised in Jobcentre Plus were automatically advertised on an EU-wide job portal.
“This meant advertising over a million job vacancies across the EU. So we are going to massively restrict this, aiming to cut back the vacancies on this portal by over 500,000 jobs.”
There have also been growing concerns that colleges are abusing immigration rules offering visas for money so that people can come to the UK to work by pretending that they are here to study.
“Some of the most egregious examples were those claiming to be students, enrolling at bogus colleges,” Mr Cameron says. “We have taken radical action – shutting down more than 750 of these colleges. Today we are announcing a further step to make sure colleges do proper checks on students: if 10 per cent of the students they recruit are refused visas, they will lose their licence.”
In his article, the Prime Minister also highlights a series of measures that have come into force in recent days, including new restrictions on abuses of European human rights laws, which immigrants have used to avoid deportation.
Female brains really ARE different to male minds with women possessing better recall and men excelling at maths
Men’s and women’s brains really are different.
Researchers say that if both sexes had access to the same levels of education, they’d expect women to do best on tests of memory – and men to excel at maths.
The prediction comes after an analysis of how the sexes’ abilities varied across Europe across time.
More than 31,000 men and women aged 50-plus from 13 countries were put through three tests of brainpower.
The test of numeracy involved being given five questions, such as working out how much a cut-price car would have cost when new, while the memory test involved trying to remember a list of ten words.
The third test was of ‘verbal fluency’ – and involved naming as many different animals as possible in a minute.
In northern Europe, women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s consistently outperformed the men in the memory test.
However, in southern Europe, where economic conditions were poorer for longer, the earliest born women did worse than the men. However, as education and living conditions improved, so did their performance and those born from around 1940 onwards beat their male counterparts.
However, the gap narrowed as conditions improved, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.
The researchers, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, said that women may benefit more than men from improvements in lifestyle because they were at a greater disadvantage to begin with.
They said the patterns mean that if men and women had equal access to education, females should do better than men.
Men should still do slightly better in maths – and the sexes should do equally well in quick fire tests of vocabulary.
It is thought the differing strengths can be explained by differences in the biology of the brain as well as in the way the sexes are treated by society.
Hallelujah! The tribunal gravy train's derailed: As workers are made to pay £1,200 fee, discrimination cases plunge by 75%
The multi-billion pound industry built on vexatious discrimination claims against employers has virtually collapsed, it emerged yesterday.
Employment tribunal cases have dropped by three-quarters over the past year, with sex discrimination claims down by 80 per cent and race claims by 60 per cent.
The spectacular decline follows a simple reform introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last summer – the charging of fees to workers who want to make a claim against their employer.
The charge, which is £1,200 for discrimination claims, is reimbursed to employees who win. But the threat of losing this money appears to have deterred the majority of those who would once have been tempted to claim.
In the first six months of the new fees system, the number of claims to employment tribunals dropped from 109,425 to 20,678.
This fall of nearly 90,000 is a major boost for businesses, which were previously spending around £1.6billion a year in defence costs. There were 191,000 employment claims in the financial year to March 2013.
Around one in five businesses were thought to have been threatened, with the average defence costing £8,500 and compensation to employees who won averaging £10,000 each.
The scale of the collapse was highlighted by the TUC in a report on the impact of the new fees. Trade union leaders argued the reform has meant ‘a huge victory for Britain’s worst bosses’.
TUC chief Frances O’Grady said: ‘By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims the Government has made it easier for bad employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.’
But there was satisfaction among ministers and business leaders, who believe the system was regularly abused by vexatious claimants, including serial litigants trying to win thousands of pounds for spurious complaints.
The consequences of vexatious claims are most serious for small businesses, which can rarely afford to launch a robust defence. Prior to the new system, claims had more than doubled since the year 2000, when there were around 80,000 a year.
The fees, introduced at the end of July last year, range from £390 for a straightforward claim over unfair dismissal or a failure to pay wages, to £1,200 for sex or race discrimination. But poor claimants can have the fees reduced, or even waived.
If the claimant wins, the tribunal normally orders the employer to reimburse the fees.
The TUC report, based on Ministry of Justice figures, said sex discrimination claims went from 6,017 in the three months to March 2013 to just 1,222 in the same three months this year.
The figures also showed there were 584 claims of race discrimination in July 2013. By January this year the number had fallen to 157.
Equal pay claims also saw a large decline, from 3,654 in March 2013 to 574 in March this year.
John Allan of the Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the changes, saying: ‘Employment tribunals should always be the last resort in an employment dispute as they can be stressful, time consuming and expensive for all parties.’
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: ‘It is reasonable to expect people to pay towards the £74million bill taxpayers face for providing the service.’
Malaysian politicians claim it was offensive and disrespectful to Muslims to use Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
And I think it is offensive and disrespectful for Muslims to bad-mouth dogs, who are usually much loved by their owners
The Scottie dogs which stole the show at the spectacular Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow did not get quite as warm a reception with some Malaysian politicians.
The animals which led each team in the parade of athletes at the event in Celtic Park proved a hit on Twitter - but have earned the ire of officials in the Islamic country as dogs are considered unclean by some Muslim scholars.
During the parade of athletes, each team was led by a Scots man or woman in tweeds walking a Scottish terrier wearing a jacket bearing the name of the country.
Judy Murray tweeted after the ceremony: 'Scottie dogs in tartan coats at CG opening ceremony. Barkingly brilliant.'
Jackie Baillie MSP tweeted: 'Just love the Scottie dogs! Can I have one please?" while Heather Patterson wrote: "These Scottie dogs are the best thing about this ceremony... pure class.'
However, Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said: 'Malaysia and all Islamic countries deserve an apology from the organiser.
'This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims – especially as it happened during Ramadan,' he added, according to the Daily Telegraph.
'Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organiser should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue. It is hoped this incident can teach other Western countries to be more respectful in the future.'
Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa called the use of the dogs 'shameful' and 'offensive'.
A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said there have been no complaints about the dogs from any of the nations taking part.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.