Opinium’s latest voting intention poll has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%. The seven point Conservative lead is much tighter than we’ve seen in other recent polls, which have almost all had double-figure Tory leads. While the lead has dropped in this poll, I suspect the difference is methodological somehow – most of Opinium’s recent polls have had Tory leads that are smaller than those from other companies. One of the results of the 2015 polling error and polling companies’ efforts to correct them is that we can’t really tell for sure which are right. Is it that some companies haven’t done enough to correct the errors of the past, or others who have done too much?

Given I’ve flagged up the increase in Lib Dem support in the last three polls I should also point out the absence of one here, they are down one point. We’ve had four polls since the Richmond by-election, two showing a small increase, one a small drop, one a substantial increase. Taking an average across the four polls, a very modest impact on national levels of Lib Dem support. Full tabs are here.

The same poll had a couple of questions for Keiran Pedley – the first asked people if they preferred a Brexit where Britain left completely, but got a harsh deal meaning the economy suffers, unemployment increases and there’s less money for public services… or a Brexit where Britain remains in some EU institutions, has freedom of movement, is subject to the EU courts and so on. Faced with that stark choice, people went with the “soft Brexit” option by 41% to 35%. However, it does, of course, assume that people can be convinced that a “hard Brexit” option would result in the economy suffering, unemployment increasing and so on. We’ve just had a salutary lesson that lots of experts telling people that leaving the EU would have negative economic effects is not necessarily effective. I think the most we can say is that it suggests if people can be convinced that a hard Brexit would damage the economy, jobs and public services and that a soft Brexit would not, then they would prefer a soft Brexit… but that “if” is doing a lot of work.

Keiran also asked two questions about a second referendums, both finding a majority of people do not want one. The first asked if people would like a second referendum after terms are agreed, the second asked if there should be a second referendum if it becomes clear that Brexit is damaging the economy. In both cases 33% said yes, 52% said no – suggesting that a declining economy wouldn’t necessarily make people want to reconsider the issue.

That second question is key in a lot of current discussion about public attitudes to Brexit. It is clear from current polling that that has not been any significant shift in public opinion since the referendum, most people think the govt is obliged to deliver on the referendum result and that most people do not currently want a second referendum. The hopes of some of those who would like to stay in the European Union are pinned upon the idea that as the negotiation period progresses the impact on the British economy will begin to be felt and at that point the public will change their mind, want to stay after all, and therefore be open to the idea of a second referendum.

Whether there is a chance of this happening is very tricky to measure in a poll. It’s asking people to predict how their opinions might change as a result of future economic developments, when respondents themselves don’t know the answer. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the economy in coming years, and we certainly don’t know what the public will attribute it too. It would be naive to think that an economic downturn will necessarily be blamed on Brexit by those people who supported Brexit. People view new events and information through the prism of their existing views, and many Brexit supporters will blame it on other economic factors, or on the rest of the EU trying to punish us, or pro-Europeans wanting Brexit to fail…. or take it as short-term pain that will be outweighed by later gain (in the same way, many pro-EU people will be liable to blame things on Brexit that have nothing to do with it. This is not a comment about supporters of one side or the other, but on human nature in general).


986 Responses to “Opinium – CON 38, LAB 31, LDEM 6, UKIP 13”

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  1. @candy

    To be fair both the UK and rEU would have to deal with the fallout of that plan.
    Yes the rEU would have to take back 3 million people who are predominantly young and healthy and often well qualified (doctors, dentists, nurses, plumbers etc).
    We would have to take back 1 million people who are, as you say, often retired. But, given the effectiveness of our social care for the elderly I am sure that will be fine.

  2. @JohninDevon

    The majority of the EU migrants are labourers, – the qualified people are the non-EU migrants who only get visas if they fit certain criteria and earn over £30k.

    It is estimated that 80% of the EU migrants wouldn’t pass the criteria to get a work visa under the current rules. See

    https://www.ft.com/content/43645264-12a7-11e6-839f-2922947098f0

    So we will save a lot of tax credits if we get them to leave.

    As for the elderly returning – we are already paying for their pensions, heathcare and social care. It is a complete myth that the Europeans pay for them – the NHS transfers money across. A big issue is that while we transfer money dutifully, Europeans are scamming us and refusing to pay us for the care of their citizens, hence that trial where passports were demanded before care. Europe actually benefits because our retirees spend their pensions over there. If they come home, they’ll spend the money here.

    So a net gain to us overall if we hold firm.

  3. Candy
    “we walk away from the table, give people permission to remain who have been here for five years and conform with the criteria, and the rest go home.”
    My wife has been here (from Holland) 31 years, brought up three children, but she does not fulfill the criteria because she has been ill and hasn’t worked regularly. There are probably about a million others like her because the criteria are very tight, and theoretically she could be deported right now. We have this in writing from a Home Office minister, who advises her to leave the country in order to ‘regularise her position’, and apply for a residence permit from there. Are you really happy with this? I’m not sure people always realise how deeply some people’s lives may be affected by Brexit.

  4. @PatrickBrian

    If the Dutch government, whose responsibility she is, cares so little about her that they blanked Mrs May when she tried to get an agreement to regularise all the migrants, then there is nothing we can do.

    We’re in a standoff because the Europeans won’t do a deal. They are trying to use people like her to undermine our sovereignty to force us to continue to accept migrants in the future.

    She needs to lobby her govt to do a deal and also ask herself why she freely voted for a Dutch govt that cares so little about her.

  5. @BigFatRon

    “Food processing used to depend on either itinerant crop pickers (Irish mainly) or on female casual labour”

    Or child labour. The long summer school holiday is a hangover from when children were needed to work the fields.

  6. @Somerjohn

    “under AV:
    2. Everyone can vote for their true preference, without fear of a wasted vote.”

    Not entirely true. Yes it allows ‘safe’ votes for minority parties with no hope of winning, but take this as an example. Who should left-leaning voters put as their first preference, where this is actual voter preferences:

    Left: 11,000, all with Mid as their 2nd pref.
    Mid: 10,000, 2nd prefs split 50-50
    Right: 18,000

    Vote Left and Right win. Vote Mid and Mid win.

    And should some of the Right vote Left tactically, so that Mid are eliminated and Right win?

  7. @Candy

    You make a whole lot of, rather insulting, assumptions there with regards to the personal circumstances of someone you have never met.

    The idea that foreigners in our country are their not our responsibility but only their original country’s responsibility… Is an odd position to take. Would you suggest that should someone be visiting our country from abroad be kidnapped or worse, then our police should do nothing because they are a foreigner who is not our responsibility? Or if a foreign visitor defaults on a debt, then the courts can do nothing because that foreign visitor isn’t their responsibility? May a foreigner refuse to pay taxes because they aren’t the responsiblity of the government? This line of argument that you can just legally ignore people if they’re foreigners is fatally flawed.

    I would suggest that your opinion is actually contrary to some basic principles of law in this country. A person has many rights conferred simply by being a person. (Somerset v Stewart, 1772) Declaring persons to be absent of rights that have been generally accepted as conferred to them requires an act of parliament.

  8. @Robin

    Since half the Mid voters prefer Right to win, that means that a majority of people in the vote prefer Right to win over Left. This is not a flaw, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    Right tactically voting for Left doesn’t change the arithmetic there. It actually makes it possible that Left wins, if 3000 Right voters ‘tactically’ voted Left because they thought somehow that would make them win.

  9. @Jayblanc

    Under the current Treaties EU citizens are the responsibility of their own govts, which they vote for.

    We’re prepared to do a deal to regularize existing migrants, but once we have left, who we allow into the UK is down to who is running the govt of the day. It is not for some foreign govt to dictate to us what we do.

    We also care very much about the rights of UK citizens in the EU – because they are our responsibility no matter how long they’ve lived over there.

    The Dutch govt appears not to give a toss about their citizens, and wish to use them to force us to give up our sovereignty even after we have left the EU. They have also made it clear they don’t give a toss about UK citizens in the Netherlands.

    You position seems to be that a) it’s fine for the Dutch not to care about Dutch citizens here and b) it’s fine for the Dutch not to care about UK citizens living there and c) it is fine for them to try to undermine our sovereignty in future.

    Only Britain is supposed to care, about everyone.

    This is insane. Our only responsibiliy is to our own citizens. And we’re prepared to take our people back and look after them.

    If other countries don’t give a toss about their citizens, then that is down to the people who voted for them, no-one else. And if those govts deem that their citizens living in the UK are worthless, valueless people – why on earth should we value them?

  10. @candy

    To be honest this is a debate I do not really want to get into but there are so many problems with your argument that it is difficult to resist. Firstly it is simply wrong to say ‘the qualified people who come are the non-EU migrants’ Some are and some are not – There are I believe about 55,000 rEU nationals working in the NHS, my last three dentists have been from the rEU for example. Are you arguing that these people are all unskilled?

    Then you go on to the old chestnut –

    A big issue is that while we transfer money dutifully, Europeans are scamming us and refusing to pay us for the care of their citizens

    Do you have any evidence for this and before you post something which does not answer the question let me be specific about your claim? You are stating that European governments are or have refused to pay costs which we are entitled to charge under the IHIC (or the other similar) systems. I appreciate that our government has not always been good at reclaiming money due from other countries around Europe but I have seen no reports showing where suitably authenticated claims from the NHS have been refused. Maybe you can share these.

  11. @Candy

    It seems to me that you have set up your argument as a fine way to decide that it is okay to treat some people as worthless, valueless people. Then place the blame for that on external forces for forcing you to do so.

    I suggest that is sophistry.

  12. @John In Devon

    I would assume it is the same as the claim that the UK was sending vast amounts of money abroad to pay for Child Benefit. Not based in any actual fact, and refuted by the actual government statistics.

  13. Candy

    Perhaps my wife and I might be permitted to live together in Holland, obviously we don’t know. But are you really so callous about splitting families? What about those who have been here only four years and have young (English) children? Do you, and perhaps the British public, think the undoubted suffering to families with EU members is worth it so that you can enjoy the sunny uplands of post-Brexit? I hoped you, and they, were kinder.

  14. Also, my wife hasn’t had a vote in Holland (or here for Westminster) for thirty years! I doubt she knows who the Dutch PM is.

  15. @Jayblanc

    We’re prepared to do a deal to regularize existing migrants.

    It’s the Europeans who refused to talk.

    Ergo they believe their people are worthless and valueless.

    Which means we default to basics – we take back our people, we give permission to remain to those who fit the criteria, and the rest go home.

    If Europeans are unhappy about this, they need to take it up with their govts. And they need to search their souls to wonder why they freely voted for govts who were unwilling to to make a deal to protect them. We didn’t force them to vote for said govts, they chose to, and they need to take responsibility for their decisions, they are adults not children.

  16. @PatrickBrian

    The same applies to Brits in the EU. I understand Spain only gives permission to remain after ten years, not five like in the UK. So we need to secure their rights, because we are responsible for them.

    You and others seem delighted that the Europeans seem to be taking a hard line to both our citizens and theirs. Because apparently only Britain is supposed to care, and the Europeans can behave as cruelly and callously as they like, and the Remainers will justify it.

    Get your wife to lobby her govt. Our govt is willing to talk, it’s her govt that is holding things up.

  17. Candy

    “You and others seem delighted that the Europeans seem to be taking a hard line to both our citizens and theirs.”

    What on earth gave you that idea? Nothing would please me more (and others with EU family members) than an an equitable and amicable agreement that allows everybody to stay living where they have made their lives. But I wonder why you are so aggressive. It seems to me that it is my family that has a lot to lose here, not yours. And I am, by the way British, and hope that my government may take into account my and my children’s interests even if they seem to view our wife/mother (like you) as none of their business.

  18. “The Dutch govt appears not to give a toss about their citizens, and wish to use them to force us to give up our sovereignty even after we have left the EU. They have also made it clear they don’t give a toss about UK citizens in the Netherlands.”

    Any evidence to support this assertion about the policy of the Dutch Government?

  19. @PatrickBrian

    I was just irritated that remainers like Jayblanc believe that only Britain must care, and no-one else should.

    Get your wife to write letters to the equivalent of the Foreign Office in the Netherlands, and to the Dutch ambassador in the UK. If they don’t hear from people like her, they will think there are no consequences to not talking to Mrs May.

    I’m surprised at their attitude TBH. Britain is acutely aware of our responsibility to protect Brits abroad regardless of whether they vote, and I would have thought all countries took the same approach.

  20. @Jayblanc

    I was simply pointing out that AV does not completely remove incentives to vote according to your preference. It makes them less extreme, but there will still be (not inconsiderable) edge cases where one has an incentive to vote other than for your first preference.

    I do actually favour AV, but with additional members – but unlike e.g. Scotland, the additional members should be worked out using the constituency AV first preferences. Thereby reinforcing the incentive to vote for your genuine first preference.

  21. @Patrick,

    After 31 years in the UK and marriage to (and parentage of) British citizens, I am pretty sure your wife qualifies for permanent residence and (if she wants it) citizenship.

    There are tens of thousands (at least) of spouses from non-EU countries living here so why not a Dutchwoman?

  22. @Hireton

    Sure – they blanked Mrs May when she proposed coming to an arrangement about existing migrants in both countries. Ergo, they don’t care what happens – if they did, they’d talk.

  23. @Candy

    If what you say is true, and we are failing to reclaim NHS costs of EU nationals, that is our fault for not doing more to claim them. It is not the fault of those EU nationals.

  24. @Candy

    Mrs May was being a bad-faith negotiator trying to get special deals from individual parties prior to the formal negotiations with the EU beginning. There had been an agreed formal path for the negotiations to take.

  25. @Robin

    You are right, it IS our fault, as we don’t always record when someone from the EU is being treated.

    But when the govt did something about it and ran a trial to get passports shown, there was predictable furore from people who think we’re made of money. See

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/21/show-passport-want-use-nhs-patients-could-told/

    quote

    Mr Wormald told the public accounts committee the Government was considering rolling out plans which were “controversial” and would mean a significant change to the culture of the health service.

    The committee heard that Britain has paid £4.3?million towards treatment for Britons in Poland – but received just £1.5?million for the cost of treating Poles in NHS hospitals.

    Mr Wormald said the Department of Health was examining whether passports would be suitable for every part of the country.

    It was possible that schemes could be targeted in areas with high immigrant populations, he suggested.

    “We are looking … at whether trusts should do upfront identification,” he told the committee.

    “There are individual trusts like Peterborough who are doing that, who are reporting that it makes a big difference.”

    end quote.

    Recall that there are 1.4 million people here from eastern europe, but only 57,000 Brits in eastern europe and those figures about who is paying for healthcare is out of whack, and is the reason the NHS is under strain.

  26. Neil A

    No, she doesn’t. Via my MP (Sarah Wollaston) I have been in contact with the Home Office. The regulations are quite precise and have to do mainly with work record. Also for students and the self-sufficient there is a little know regulation that you have to have had an insurance certificate (CSI). Length of stay beyond five years is irrelevant as is marriage and children. Non-EU citizens have their own routes to residence and are careful to comply with all the box-ticks and paper trails. That is why Mr Goodwill of the Home Office told my wife to leave the country and apply for a residence permit from abroad (having done a language test etc). This is a route devised for arranged marriages etc – not a good idea at the present. Please believe me, we have been into this. The irony is that probably about a million EU citizens (mainly women) could be deemed to be living here unlawfully and deported right now, without any need to leave the EU at all. How the electorate would react to such a degree of splitting up families is something I’m not so sure about.

  27. PatrickBrian

    Quite. The government should probably take at least some of the moral high ground on this, purely for pragmatic reasons. I can’t imagine any but the most callous of voters wanting to split families.

    Easy enough to say that if you can demonstrate marriage or long-term cohabitation with a Brit or have a British kid (or a kid who speaks a UK language as his/her first language) you qualify for British citizenship. All the people involved settled in the UK in good faith and they’re by definition nicely integrated. Chucking them out doesn’t seem very compatible with ‘British values’ or with human rights law.

    I think a compassionate case could also be made for elderly long-term UK residents: frail people tend to die if uprooted and it would be more difficult for older people to establish a new social network in their country of origin. But the government might struggle a bit more to make that case to the public, because of the demand on NHS resources.

  28. CANDY @Jayblanc
    It’s the Europeans who refused to talk.

    The “Europeans” [of whom you presumably are not one] have NOT refused to talk. They have simply required that the UK provide a valid and constitutional document confirming that the UK will withdraw from the EU as specified in A50.

    As HMG don’t seem even to have considered constitutional issues until they lost the London High Court case five months after the advisory referendum, surely the EU27 have a pretty good reason to suggest that valid A50 notification must be provided before negotiations can begin.

    We might get an idea of those constitutional requirement from the SC in January unless the EC ask for an ECJ decision first. If they don’t, of course, it’s likely that the EC will feel it necessary to do so. Either way, I find it hard to imagine that the validity of the A50 notification will be agreed by all parties before next summer.

    PATRICKBRIAN

    My commiserations.

  29. @ Neil A

    Unlike British citizens by birth, foreigners would have to take an oath of allegiance to the queen and anyone she appoints (arguably, although not intentionally, it is a paraphrasing of the NSDAP oath – civil servants do make odd mistakes) – this deterred me. For example, the liking the song by Sex Pistols could actually disqualify me, unlike the born Britons.

    It also deterred me that one would have to take an exam based on a single textbook (now how that particular book got the contract …), which is full of errors, thus the correct answer is wrong. The textbook doesn’t know, among other things, that education and health service are devolved matters.

  30. @ Candy so just to confirm, when you said ‘Europeans are scamming us and refusing to pay us for the care of their citizens’ you had no evidence to support the claim? In fact you now say ‘You are right, it IS our fault, as we don’t always record when someone from the EU is being treated.’
    Thanks for clarifying.
    Patrickbrian – I really hope your situation gets resolved quickly.

  31. AW
    “We don’t know what’s going to happen to the economy in coming years, and we certainly don’t know what the public will attribute it too. ”
    Or – given that the daily reports on the economy which we see on the box every day deal with movements on the stock exchanges, including the Hang Seng, and in internatonal currency values – what the public thinks is meant by the economy.
    Questioning which asked whether they would support a hard Brexit etc, if it led, in the experience of the respondent,, to their experiencing a loss of wealth and spending in their households, loss of employment, and lessening of access to public services, might have more meaning.

  32. LASZLO

    @”Unlike British citizens by birth, foreigners would have to take an oath of allegiance to the queen and anyone she appoints (arguably, although not intentionally, it is a paraphrasing of the NSDAP oath – civil servants do make odd mistakes) – this deterred me”

    I don’t always understand your meaning Laszlo-usually I just pass on by.

    But this one leaves me needing to clarify.

    Do you mean that you have been “deterred” from seeking UK Citizenship because the oath of allegiance to our Head of State-The Queesn- “paraphrases” this :-

    “I swear: I will be faithful and obedient to the leader of the German Empire and people, A***f H****r, to observe the law, and to conscientiously fulfill my official duties, so help me God!”

    Is that what you mean?

  33. @JohninDevon

    In some cases we’re at fault because we’re not claiming, but in other cases they arn’t paying what we have billed. See the following for more:

    http://news.sky.com/story/nhs-scandal-as-uk-pays-millions-to-eu-10189381

    quote

    The new figures reveal that nearly every country claims more from the UK than the UK claims back from the rest of the EU.

    For example the UK pays France £147,685,772, but France only pays UK £6,730,292 and the UK pays Germany £25,873,954 but Germany only pays the UK £2,189,664.

    MP John Mann, who obtained the figures in a parliamentary question, told Sky News that “logically the UK should be receiving more than it pays out”.

    He estimates “the real cost is a billion pounds a year”.

    Mr Mann told Sky News: “Other countries are recharging and we are not.

    “The figures are astonishing – we are paying them 70 times more than they are paying us.

    end quote

    We have to crack down on this, and immediately, we shouldn’t wait till article 50 is triggered, we have a right to get our money back now.

    And this is another reason we shouldn’t rush to unilaterally give permission to EU migrants to remain. The EU countries will just use it as a reason to fleece us. The bill for all this needs to be part of the settlement.

    Brexit is going to clean the Aegean stables, and how!

  34. LASZLO

    I have just checked the UK Citizenship Oath of Allegiance .& Affirmation

    It is :-
    “I swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors according to law.
    I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British Citizen I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors according to law.”

    it is followed by a Pledge :-
    “I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.”

    I can fully imagine -putting aside your concerns about the Party Membership of our Queen, – that the wording of this Pledge would deter you from giving it.

  35. Candy

    “Brexit is going to clean the Aegean stables, and how!”

    You make me frightened.

  36. @candy

    Utter rubbish. The EU are simply waiting for the UK Government to notify them formally that the UK is leaving the EU before beginning negotiations. It is hardly their fault that the Government you support is unable several months after the referendum to articulate any coherent policy. I see that as ever when challenged you are unable.to provide any evidence to support your ranting. I wonder why you bother.

  37. CANDY
    Brexit is going to clean the Aegean stables, and how!

    I can sympathise with your desire for HMG to employ more civil servants to clean our own stables to claim back the monies due from other EHIC member states [EEA + CH], but that of course will take time. If we remain in the EEA, it will of course be money well spent.

  38. Augean Stables-not Aegean.

    Augeas-king of Elis and father of Epicaste. – one of the Argonauts.
    Aegean-A Sea-full of drowned Syrian women & children.

  39. @Candy
    You provide a link to some experimental fruit-picking technology and suggest that we can safely send all the people who work in the related industry home as it can all be automated?

    That’s just silly…

  40. @ Candy

    You say:
    ‘The majority of the EU migrants are labourers, – the qualified people are the non-EU migrants who only get visas if they fit certain criteria and earn over £30k.
    It is estimated that 80% of the EU migrants wouldn’t pass the criteria to get a work visa under the current rules. See
    https://www.ft.com/content/43645264-12a7-11e6-839f-2922947098f0
    So we will save a lot of tax credits if we get them to leave.’

    Again, that’s silly – the work will still need doing, the wages will still be low, and the tax credits will still need to be paid, and that’s assuming we can find anyone local to do the work in the first place.

    And be very careful not to conflate low-paid with unskilled; the Polish, Portuguese, Latvian and Bulgarian care workers in our local hospice may be badly paid but they are skilled, caring and thoroughly professional.

    Your prejudices appear to be showing…

  41. @Barbazenzero

    We don’t need to employ additional civil servants, we just need to make migrants bring their passports to the hospital in order to get treatment and for us to record that they are foreign. It is already being trialed in Peterborough

    @Colin

    Thanks for the correction

    @BigFatRon

    Its not experimental, Farmers are already deploying the bots – see the following

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/robots-that-are-replacing-farm-workers-2016-8?r=US&IR=T/#the-wall-ye-prunes-vineyards-1

  42. @Barbazenzero

    We don’t need to employ additional civil servants, we just need to make migrants bring their passports to the hospital in order to get treatment and for us to record that they are foreign. It is already being trialed in Peterborough

    @Colin

    Thanks for the correction

    @BigFatRon

    Its not experimental, Farmers are already deploying the bots – see the following

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/robots-that-are-replacing-farm-workers-2016-8?r=US&IR=T/#the-wall-ye-prunes-vineyards-1

  43. @Candy
    Final piece of nonsense:
    ‘Recall that there are 1.4 million people here from eastern europe, but only 57,000 Brits in eastern europe and those figures about who is paying for healthcare is out of whack, and is the reason the NHS is under strain.’

    The NHS is under strain because the social care system in this country is on the verge of collapse and the NHS is taking up the slack. Yes, the additional money we could put into the NHS by claiming back treatment costs to other EU countries would be a help, but a relatively small contribution to the total gap.

    To claim this is ‘why the NHS is under strain’ is massive hyperbole and deflects from the real causes of the very real problems that the system faces.

  44. Actually you would have to make everyone bring their passport. Not sure how you make migrants do so as you suggest.

  45. Last to Candy.

  46. @Colin

    Reading those UK Oaths and Affirmations, I would not join/subscribe to a group that made me say that.

    I do feel strongly that you should honest to yourself, and if I said thos those things it would not seem right.

    (This is why I never got with the Scouts when I was younger – swearing allegiance to God and the Queen gave me two big issues!)

  47. candy,
    “I think they’re playing chicken with us. They want us to cave on the issue of migrants and free movement.”

    Problem is, if we threw out the three million or so EU citizens, a number of key UK sectors would collapse. Those three million would be irreplaceable from the Uk workforce.

    The EU understands this perfectly, I am sure. How soon will MPs cave in when the local hospital suddenly cannot maintain a service? Amber Rudd had an unfortunate altercation with a local small employer, when she suggested they should send their foreign workers home. They angrily replied they cannot. I wonder of her local council will be having a word when it loses all its EU care workers?

  48. CANDY
    We don’t need to employ additional civil servants, we just need to make migrants bring their passports to the hospital in order to get treatment and for us to record that they are foreign.

    But that’s something for the future, and we will have to record EHIC patients and patients from countries with which we have reciprocal agreements as well as charging other non-UK patients who don’t benefit from such arrangements.

    Your post that included “A big issue is that while we transfer money dutifully, Europeans are scamming us and refusing to pay us for the care of their citizens” implies that HMG have not been operating the scheme properly in the recording of costs incurred in treating EHIC patients. Those are the stables which HMG needs to clean.

  49. @BigFatRon

    There are 1.4 million eastern europeans here, but only 57,000 Brits in eastern europe, but we paid $4.3 million to Poland for the treatment of Brits, but got back only £1.5 million from Poland towards the treatment of their people.

    The Sky news link estimated that we were owed some £6bn from the all the 27 European countries for treatment of their nationals. That is a lot of money The IFS estimates that increasing income tax across the board by 1% would raise only £5.5 bn.

    So yes it is a huge issue – isn’t it lucky the public grasped the size of the problem and voted Leave? Now it will get sorted out, and once we end free movement, we won’t face such costs in future.

  50. @Danny

    Businesses with a low cost model might struggle – but they have two years to streamline, automate and adjust.

    Of course they would rather not make the effort – a lot of the protests are similar to the ones we heard when Osborne jacked up the minimum wage – but mysteriously they are all coping! They’ll cope with this change too, and come out of it a lot more productive.

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