'Your benefits system is crazy. It's like finding a sackful of cash left on the road': How shocking admission by Rudi and his huge Romanian family debunks Eurocrat's claims that 'benefit tourism is a myth'
Rudi Ion struggles to count up the children from his huge Romanian clan who now call Britain home. It could be 100, he tells me.
‘I’ve got 25 cousins all living around Nottingham, each with three or four kids,’ he adds with a loud laugh.
‘Your benefits system is crazy — I would actually say it was sick,’ he says, as he makes a gesture involving sticking his two fingers down his throat.
Of course Romanians will settle in Britain if they get this kind of money. It is like walking down the road and seeing a sack full of cash that has been dropped, picking it up and no one saying anything.
‘If my people bring more children in, or have more children here, there are more benefits. So, of course, they have babies.’
‘I have never been told to look for work by the job centre. I have never called back there after I got the National Insurance number. Why would I want a real boss when I get £300 put into my bank account each week for nothing?
‘There is the child benefit of £170 a month for Ionut and Constantin, too. In Romania, we were only given £17 a month for them. Now I sing “God praise your Queen Elizabeth” every day, because we have arrived in heaven.’
That pronouncement was followed by David Cameron’s claim that arrivals of Romanians (and Bulgarians) were ‘reasonable’, although he admitted no one had done a headcount, so was guessing from ‘what I read and see’.
So did Rudi think that Cameron and the Ambassador were right?
‘Of course not,’ he told me, before inviting me to Nottingham to meet his family the next day.
There, he explained further: ‘Each bus that comes from Romania is full of people coming to live here. Each plane has 20, 30 or 40 of these passengers on board, and we Roma are also driving here by private car. We are not talking about visitors but those who come to stay.
‘You will get more people when the weather gets to spring. We feel good here because it is a better life. At home, even if you offer to work on a pig farm, the farmer says “No” because you are a gipsy.’
‘We Romanians can go anywhere we want in Europe now — but, of course, it is only Britain that pays us to live.
‘Of course, we want to be here. I will only run away when your country starts sinking under the weight of people, which will happen one day.’
Then he turns to the big TV set on the wall in the overcrowded living room. It is blaring out the news from a Romanian TV channel showing six-foot snowdrifts in Bucharest.
As Rudi points to the chilly scenes, he asks frankly: ‘Who would want to be there when you look after us so well here?’
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