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Parliamentary questions
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2 August 2019
Question for written answer E-002518-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Sophia in 't Veld (Renew) , Luisa Porritt (Renew)

 Subject:  EU citizens left homeless in the UK as a consequence of the ‘hostile environment’ policy

The Guardian reports that EU citizens are being turned down for universal credit, despite the fact that they are residing legally in the UK. EU citizens cannot always prove that they are habitually resident, as EU citizens exercising their right to freedom of movement were not required to keep certain records. Even the Department for Work and Pensions does not seem to keep all records — or in any case does not actively search for them. The negative decisions cut benefits off abruptly, leaving people destitute and homeless. Although negative decisions can be appealed and are overturned in over 90% of cases, great harm is done in the meantime. According to some, this is a consequence of the UK’s policy of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for non-UK citizens.

1. Will the Commission raise the difficulties that EU citizens are facing under the UK’s universal credit scheme with the UK Government as a matter of urgency?

2. Does it agree that although EU citizens are not specifically targeted by this policy, they are disproportionately affected — which would constitute indirect discrimination on the basis of nationality, something prohibited by EC law?

3. What can it do and will it do to support those EU citizens affected, including through possible legal proceedings under EC law, in the event of the UK withdrawing from the EU?

Last updated: 28 August 2019Legal notice