National News

Immigration should be about work – not about benefits tourism.

That’s why the Conservatives are fixing the welfare system by tightening up the rules for immigrants.

EU immigrants will now have to prove that they’re doing everything possible to find a job and demonstrate that their English is good enough to get work – otherwise, we’ll stop their benefits.

It’s part of the Conservatives’ plan to reward work and help people who play by the rules.

From next year, immigrants will also be banned from claiming out-of-work benefits during their first three months in Britain. And after six months, we’ll cut their benefits off if they don’t have a realistic chance of getting a job.

The Conservatives welcome immigrants who work hard and contribute to our economy.

By ending Labour’s something-for-nothing culture, we’re ensuring that immigrants coming to Britain make that contribution.

That’s what the hardworking people who have paid into Britain’s welfare system deserve.

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Today Labour confirmed that they would rather cut pensions than benefits.

Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary, said Labour would include the Basic State Pension in their cap on ‘social security spending’.

In other words, Labour would choose to cut the pensions of those who have worked hard and done the right thing all their lives, rather than cut welfare benefits.

Labour have no clear plan to fix the welfare system, end the something for nothing culture and control spending on benefits. It’s the same old welfare party.

Today’s news follows last week’s announcement that UKIP would oppose the triple lock on pensions – putting pensioners’ livelihoods at risk.

But the Conservatives are on the side of Britain’s pensioners.

Since 2010, we’ve increased the Basic State Pension by £650.

What’s more, we’re capping benefits to reward work – to ensure that no out-of-work household can receive more than the average family earns in work.

While the Conservatives’ long-term plan helps pensioners, Labour’s policy hurts them.

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The Conservatives’ long-term economic plan is working – but the job is not yet done.

In the Autumn Statement, we’ve set out measures to secure the economy for the future and help hardworking people:

These measures include:

  • Freezing fuel duty until 2015 – saving the average motorist £11 every time they fill the tank
  • Capping increases on regulated rail fares to no higher than inflation in 2014
  • Acting on energy bills – saving the average household around £50
  • Giving a £1,000 discount on business rates to local shops, pubs and restaurants – helping them grow and create jobs
  • Abolishing the jobs tax for employers hiring people under 21 – getting young people into work

The Conservatives will keep taking the difficult decisions necessary to secure a recovery for all.

The biggest risk to that recovery is Labour. Ed Miliband has no plan and would only borrow more, spend more and tax more – for which all hardworking people would pay.

Only the Conservatives can secure the economy for the future – and for our children.

That’s why we need to finish the job.

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Today, the Conservatives set out £375 billion of investment in Britain’s future.
 
From roads and railways to flood defences and broadband connections, the Conservatives are investing in our national infrastructure to ensure Britain can compete in the global race.
 
When times were good, Labour failed to invest.

But today’s news confirms the Conservatives’ commitment to Britain’s future.
 
It’s part of our long-term plan for hardworking people.
 
By tackling Labour’s underinvestment, we’re creating jobs, making it easier to do business and helping all those who want to work hard and get on in life.

David Cameron has set out his long-term plan to control immigration from the EU.

In 2004, Labour had the power to impose a seven-year ban before EU migrants could enter Britain. But Labour opted out of those transitional controls, allowing more than a million immigrants to come here.

Three years later, Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. That was the moment to address difficult questions about when to allow new entrants full access to each others’ labour markets – but Labour ducked these questions.

The problem was compounded by Labour’s failed education and welfare policies, which let down millions of young people and didn’t make work pay – leaving a hole in our labour market for EU migrants to fill.

But the Conservatives are fixing Labour’s failures on immigration.

Our plan includes:

  • Tackling Britain’s skills shortage by improving education, providing record numbers of apprenticeships and fixing welfare to make work pay
  • Ensuring that nobody entering Britain can claim work benefits for the first three months, and thereafter for no longer than six months
  • Stopping new EU jobseekers claiming housing benefit
  • Removing people who are not here to work
  • Fining employers up to £20,000 for every migrant they hire at below the minimum wage – that’s four times higher than the current maximum fine

The Conservatives have already cut net immigration by a third and we will also seek a new settlement with Europe that limits EU immigration to more sensible levels.

We will then put that settlement to the British people in an in-out referendum – unlike Labour, who want to deny the British people their say.

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The Conservatives are standing up for hardworking people by capping the costs charged by payday loan companies.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the industry’s new regulator, will now be compelled to cap the costs companies charge their customers.

The Conservatives want to see a responsible payday loan industry that’s on the side of hardworking people, protecting customers from overcharging and exploitation.

It’s in stark contrast to the last Labour government, who failed to introduce any cap and left hardworking people at the mercy of payday loan companies.

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Last summer, the Conservatives launched the Start-Up Loan scheme to help entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

Today it was announced that 10,000 Start-Up Loans – worth a total of £50 million – have been approved.

Because of Labour’s financial crisis, people who want to set up a new business often had the door shut in their face by the banks.

These are people with ideas, determination and costed business plans, who through no fault of their own couldn’t get money to make a go of it.

Start-Up Loans are changing that. By investing in our entrepreneurs, the Conservatives are helping hardworking people fulfil their potential.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, a symbol of aspiration and a source of thousands of jobs – from which we all benefit.

That’s why Start-Up Loans are such a vital part of our long-term plan to fix the economy – and help the hardworking people of Britain.

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The Conservatives have secured a new GP contract that brings back family doctors.

Labour’s 2004 contract broke that personal link between GP and patient.

Moreover, it piled target after target on doctors, removed their responsibility for out-of-hours care and put huge pressure on our A&E departments.

The new contract is a vital part of the Conservatives’ long-term plan to fix Labour’s failures.

We’re restoring designated GPs for vulnerable elderly patients – in other words, proper family doctors able to give care to those most in need and prevent unnecessary hospital visits.

What’s more, new rigorous inspections of GP surgeries will ensure that all patients will get the care they deserve.

The Conservatives are easing the long-term pressures on A&E services, empowering hard-working doctors and improving care for those with the greatest need.

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Jack Straw, the former Labour Home Secretary, has admitted his party ‘messed up’ on immigration.

Under Labour, net immigration rocketed to 2.2 million – more than twice the population of Birmingham.

Straw said it was a ‘spectacular mistake’ to throw open Britain’s borders to migrants from Eastern Europe. Labour had predicted only 13,000 migrants would come to Britain from Eastern Europe per year. In fact, over a million came.

Labour’s policy of mass, uncontrolled immigration put a huge strain on communities, depressed hardworking people’s wages and stretched public services to breaking point.

Straw’s long-overdue admission confirms what everyone knows: Labour let immigration get out of control.

But the Conservatives are now cleaning up Labour’s mess.

Since 2010, we’ve cut net immigration by a third, stamped out abuse of the system and made temporary migrants pay into the NHS.

We are building an immigration system that cannot be abused – and giving hardworking people the confidence that immigration to Britain is controlled, manageable and does not put pressure on our public services.

But Labour have opposed every one of our measures to bring immigration under control.

Despite Jack Straw’s words, Labour hasn’t learned its lessons on immigration.

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