Around 260,000 extra people are predicted to move to the UK every year for the next decade if existing rights are maintained, according to analysis of government figures. Jeremy Corbyn has admitted there will be a “great deal of movement” under a Labour government and tore up election commitments made in 2017 to end the right. Labour’s manifesto commits to continued EU free movement if the country votes to remain under its plans for a second referendum and puts it on the table in negotiations with Brussels if the result is leave.
It states: “If we remain in the EU, freedom of movement would continue. If we leave, it will be subject to negotiations, but we recognise the social and economic benefits that free movement has brought both in terms of EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad – and we will seek to protect those rights.”
It also will make it easier for relatives of migrants to join them and will scrap rules setting a minimum on what they must be earning.
“In accordance with our values and domestic laws, we will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike,” it states. “We will end the deportation of family members of people entitled to be here and end the minimum income requirements which separate families.”
Conservative analysis using government figures found EU citizens equivalent to half the city of Liverpool are expected every year.
The bill for benefits such as universal credit, pensions and winter fuel, would top £4 billion by 2029 for claimants among the additional migrants, it said.
The party claimed the bill was likely to be much higher as it assumes there will not be an expansion in the number of EU states and does not include an increase from migrants from the rest of the world.
It said if free movement was extended internationally it could mean an average of over 840,000 extra people moving to the UK annually.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “Jeremy Corbyn has no plan for Brexit.
“The only policy he has committed to is maintaining free movement in all circumstances. He is completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters.
“This analysis highlights the cost of Corbyn’s immigration policy to our public services. The shocking thing is that this is yet another line item in Labour’s long list of uncosted pledges that will mean higher taxes for all of us. The UK can’t afford the cost of Corbyn.”