'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's huge family could consist of up to 100 children, with 25 cousins
His family moved to a 3-bedroomed house in 'shabby' Nottingham suburb
Laszlo Andor, announced to UK ministers: ‘Benefits 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.
Rudi is speaking from his rented three-bedroom terrace house in Bridlington Street, a shabby part of the Midlands city where he’s settled with his wife Anda and their two sons, nine-year-old Ionut and Constantin, six.
His mother Elena, 53, and sister Ana, who is 32, live there, too.
Rudi is an ebullient 28-year-old who speaks English well. He doesn’t seem surprised when I tell him that a recent controversial report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that more than 25 per cent of children born in England and Wales in 2011 were to foreign mothers — up 16 per cent on the decade before.
The highest number among women from Europe — 2.93 children per family on average — were the offspring of Romanians, and a spokesman for the ONS has suggested that Britain’s generous benefits system could encourage the migrants to have more children so they can claim extra money.
What is particularly striking, according to the ONS, is that Romanians who come to Britain are actually having more than twice as many children as they would at home, where the average is 1.25 children born to each family.
This week, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor, attacked the so-called xenophobia of British politicians over the issue of migrants coming to Britain and claiming welfare. He grandiosly announced: ‘Benefits tourism as such is a myth.’
Yet Rudi readily admits that our generous benefits’ culture does encourage Romanians to uproot to the UK, where they can claim state money for the children they bring with them.
‘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.’
His family came here from District Two, a multicultural area of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, after Rudi had first tried his luck in eight other countries dotted around the European Union.
He admits: ‘I made my way by pick-pocketing, thieving and other small crimes.
‘I was put into prison or arrested by the police in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Austria and Germany before I arrived here. My German is quite good because they jailed me there for six months, and the Austrian prison was very tough.’
When I was in the rest of Europe, I never got benefits,’ he says. ‘In France, they chucked me out of the country and gave me £250 in Euros to fly back to Bucharest. ‘But, of course, I just returned to Western Europe again.
‘There is nothing for a Roma gipsy in Romania. The authorities treat us like dogs. They beat the kids in the schools and they refuse to give us jobs.
‘It is different here. We are even welcome at the GP’s surgery when we are ill.’