Europe Likely to Scorn PM’s Migrant Welfare Ban

Macer Hall writing in the Daily Express regarding David Cameron looking likely to receive a fresh setback in his drive to cut welfare hand-outs to European Union migrants last night after Brussels officials rejected his plans as “unworkable”.

Sources at the European Commission indicated that the Prime Minister’s plans will be dismissed  as incompatible  with EU freedom-of-movement rules.

A formal rejection of the proposals is expected to be delivered to Downing Street later this year, the sources said.

The news was a hammer blow to the Prime Minister last night on the eve of crunch talks with Angela Merkel about his agenda for reforming the EU.

Mr Cameron will hold discussions with the German Chancellor at No 10 and is expected to visit the British Museum with her.

He will use the visit to explain to her full details of his plan for reducing migration to the UK by curbing migrants’ access to the benefits system.

Senior Downing Street officials believe that winning over Mrs Merkel is the key to success in any new EU deal for Britain.EUA spokeswoman for the European Commission yesterday declined to comment on the reports. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also declined to comment.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said it was “ridiculous” to expect the commission to make an exception for Britain.

He also predicted that Mrs Merkel would be unwilling to give in to Mr Cameron’s demands. Mr Farage said: “Germany is facing its own problems at the moment and would not want Britain to start turning away EU jobseekers, potentially redirecting them to seek work there.”

In November David Cameron promised to crack down on benefits for migrants from the EU. The Prime Minister pledged to stop them receiving handouts for their first four years in the country and to deport those who fail to get a job in their first six months. He said these measures would mean “EU migrants should have a job offer before they come here”.

Unfortunately, Eurocrats are deeply wedded to the idea of ever-closer union and are ideologically opposed to anything that slows that process.

Mr Cameron has promised to renegotiate our relationship with the EU and then hold a referendum in 2017. But at every turn Brussels has done whatever it can to stifle attempts at renegotiation and it would be optimistic to expect that situation to improve.

“The only way to secure real change is for Britain to leave the EU. Perhaps we should be able to decide that sooner rather than later.”

Hospitals Just Can’t Cope

Most major daily newspapers today are running headlines regarding Britain’s Accident and Emergency units going into meltdown yesterday as medics struggled to cope with a huge surge in patients.

Waiting times grew to 12 hours in A&E departments as politicians warned of a crisis.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted there was a “huge amount of pressure” on hospitals in England.

And he added: “We are running just to keep still.”

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Mr Hunt spoke amid a huge surge in demand for A&E this winter, forcing nine hospitals to declare “major incidents” as they ran out of beds.

These normally only occur in cases such as a terror attack or a plane crash, and saw all but the most vital operations cancelled.

Croyden University Hospital, south London, yesterday became the latest to struggle after delays rocketed to half a day. It made a plea for resources as medics feared they would have to turn away more patients in urgent need.

Local Labour MP Steve Reed said: “A woman in her 80’s called my office to say she had waited 12 hours on a trolley bed in a corridor.

“The government has created an A&E crisis across Britain.”

Mr Reed spoke out as fellow Labour MPs said the NHS would not survive five years if the Tories win in the May General election.

Peter Carter, of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Patients and hard-working staff are being let down by a system which is in crisis.”

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine said “all bets are off” about how the NHS would cope between January and March, the toughest time.

Hospitals were “full to bursting” and far too many patients who should have been discharged but could not because there would be no care for them in the community he added.

David Cameron accused unions of trying to “scaremonger” by claiming the NHS was “on the brink of disaster.”

He said: “I don’t think it’s remotely true or remotely responsible. The fact is the NHS is coping with a huge amount.”

The winter rush of patients  using A&E instead of waiting days for a GP appointment has put the system under unbearable strain.

“There are pledges of more money and plenty of rhetoric but no plans for reform to turn this situation and disgrace to our nation around.”