Sunday, 21 March 2010

Footnote To "In Every Back Garden A Heartache"

There is actually a serious reason to posting 'In Every Back Garden A Heartache', something that the Mail and the Express chose to ignore because of their rabid opposition to most things European and to all things EU.

It is almost certain that these squatters are all from the so-called A8 EU states - Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic - and because of that, and the way the A8 accession state agreements are structures, it is almost impossible for them to claim any welfare benefits, including Jobseekers' Allowance and housing benefit.

So, as most are likely to have been in seasonal employment picking vegetables, they suddenly have no money to pay rent and have no option but to live on the streets, or in someone's back garden, unless they have the money to travel back home. And if they are sleeping rough, they have little or no chance of finding other work.

Hence the Peterborough garden squatters, and the increasing numbers to be found across East Anglia. Obvious really but when one thinks about it but where's the newsprint in that?

The other problem is that seasonal work is by its very nature temporary and often the companies involved do not keep adequate paperwork. So when it comes to A8 or any other temporary workers claiming benefits when they do become eligible, assuming they know about them (around £10bn in available benefits goes unclaimed each year), they often lack the correct paperwork (payslips, etc.) to claim them. Making them even more likely to end up on the streets.

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