Cameron's accused of 'media hysteria in UK immigration speech

25 Mar 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Prime minister David Cameron's received a mixed response to his speech on UK immigration issues, with one organisation going as far as to accuse him of succumbing to the level of "media hysteria".

During his broad policy announcement, Cameron attempted to reassure people that the government is working hard to encourage the positive aspects of migration, while preventing migrants from taking advantage of the system.

He praised hard working migrants who contribute to the economy but explained that new measures will be introduced to the system before the current restrictions on working migrants from Romania and Bulgaria are lifted, in order to prevent the development of what the prime minister called a "something for nothing culture".

"Ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare. We're going to give migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) a very clear message," he said.

Cameron went on to state that the government will work harder to crackdown on people who take advantage of the UK's welfare system, either through benefits or access to the NHS.

However, while the rhetoric from the Coalition has suggested that there is an undercurrent of abuse in the immigration system that requires tackling, others have said that the picture is far from clear.

Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, stated: "This rhetoric may curtail rights to benefits on a minor scale, but relatively few migrants compared with 'indigenous' people actually claim benefit anyway.

"The real effect of this speech will be to further increase the intolerance and the hostile reception that immigrants are facing from some sections of society. There's nothing new about people from these countries coming to live and work in the UK. This media hysteria denies the fact that immigration helps our economy and is a great boon to tackling the coming demographic imbalanced posed by our ageing population."