The pillory, the precipice and the slippery slope: the profound effects of the UK's legal reform programme targeting EU migrants

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The year 2014 was the year for restricting EU nationals' access to benefits in the UK, with a series of measures introduced since 1 January. This paper assesses each measure's compatibility with EU law, examining the legal texts and the accompanying guidance, which may lead to infringements by administrative decision makers. The paper then analyses the cumulative programme of reforms, and identifies three societal concerns. First, the programme represents a departure from EU Treaty principles. Second, the effects of the new measures are felt by all EU migrants, not just the ‘economically inactive’, since they are subject to extra tests and delays, face amplified xenoscepticism, and are placed in a more precarious position, with greater risks attendant upon loss of work. Third, the measures represent a pure form of an individualist ideology, potentially lowering our resistance to child poverty and destitution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-136
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

(c) 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper accepted for publication in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.


  • welfare reform; Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006; Eurosceptic law making; welfare state ideology; EU migration; European Union citizenship

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