whether they propose to change the rules under which citizens of other European Union member states have access to the United Kingdom benefits system.Well, we'd all like to know.
In HMG's name Lord Freud, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions,
My Lords, we do not propose to change the way DWP determines benefit entitlement for EU nationals, but we are considering the details of a European Commission reasoned opinion against the right to reside test. While we accept our responsibility in supporting EU nationals who work and contribute here, it is absolutely necessary that we protect our welfare system from those who come here with no intention of working or looking for work.So, is that a yes, they do propose to change rules or no, they will stick it out and defy the Commission? Lord Empey asked for clarification, too, and got it, after a fashion:
My Lords, we are moving in two directions. First, we are looking hard at the Commission's opinion and considering whether we should go to court. We have two months in which to take that decision and the likelihood is that we will take it through the full legal process. The second area is the political one. We are talking to other countries which are also deeply disturbed about this. Some 13 countries have signed a motion calling for a minute statement and for a policy debate on this matter.So, we are not just going to say "forget it" to the Commission and stick to our own rules for welfare.