Immigration row: ED Balls says high levels affected pay of many

Balls is Labour’s leadership contender


7th July 2010: In what could possibly signify a major shift in Labour’s immigration policy in the days to come, leadership contender-cum-shadow cabinet minister Ed Balls claimed high levels of immigration under Labour affected the pay and conditions of "too many people".

Balls said the Government should have followed the precedent of most European partners. It should have restricted the rights to work and claim benefits of people from countries, such as Poland.

He even claimed Brown was told his government was “making a mistake” by not talking about immigration.

He went up to the extent of commenting that the points-based system introduced by the previous government had no effect on EU immigration; and called for better protection for British workers under any future European Union expansion.

Brown even claimed time had come to renegotiate a key EU directive on freedom of movement, particularly the right it gives migrants to send UK child benefit and tax credits to their families back home.

Reacting to the developments, Immigration Minister Damian Green said Balls was only cheek talking about the wrong decision over Eastern Europe in 2004.

At the time he was an adviser at the Treasury – the Department which pushed through Labour’s open-door policy.

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