Some Asian families in Britain are having too many children in order to claim extra welfare payments, Britain’s first female Asian peer claimed last night.
Baroness Flather accused the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities of failing to adopt the values of British society and said they should have their benefits slashed.
Lady Flather, a former Tory who now sits as a crossbencher, said this abuse of the welfare system has been brushed under the carpet out of political correctness.
She spoke out in the House of Lords during the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill.
Lady Flather, a former barrister who was born in the Pakistani city of Lahore when it was part of India, praised the Indian community in the UK for having taken on ‘the pattern’ of families in their adopted country, by limiting the size of their families.
But she took aim at the Pakistani community, saying uneducated immigrants are still following the traditions of their homeland by having more children because they end up getting a ‘bigger house’.
She told peers: ‘The minority communities in this country, particularly the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, have a very large number of children and the attraction is the large number of benefits that follow the child.
‘Nobody likes to accept that, nobody likes to talk about it because it is supposed to be very politically incorrect.’
Lady Flather said parents of all backgrounds who have extra children should have no right to a larger council house. She added: ‘It is about time we stopped using children as a means of improving the amount of money they receive or getting a bigger house.
‘I really feel that for the first two children there should be a full raft of benefits, for the third child three quarters and for the fourth child a half.’
The Welfare Reform Bill aims to cap the amount of benefits one family can received at around £26,000, to ensure claimants do not get paid more than the average income for working families.
In a speech likely to spark a fierce debate, Lady Flather said: ‘In the countries of origin, of course, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and even Indians have large families because there is no safety net.
‘When you get old it is only your children who are going to look after you. This doesn’t apply here–every old person does have their pension and they will be looked after.’
She said that in education tables, while Indian children came at the top, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis came near the bottom, which she blamed on their families.
She said: ‘Especially after the recent riots, I think we need to give back the responsibility for bringing up children to the parents. I hear parents say, “But the school should teach them that” and, “But the school should do that”. The school has so much less time with the child than the parents do.’