The 14 Words

Friday, 3 January 2014

Next stop Britain on this benefits bonanza express from Romania

HUNDREDS of penniless migrants last night waved goodbye to Romania after boarding the first buses bound for Britain.

A couple kiss goodbye next to a bus departing from Sofia's central bus station, headed to London 

The freezing streets outside the crumbling central bus station in downtown Bucharest were heaving with those who had saved for months to get seats.

The gruelling 1,600-mile journey to the “land of opportunity” takes an exhausting two days and passes through six countries before arriving at London’s Victoria coach station tomorrow. From there it heads on to Manchester and Liverpool.

Tickets cost £100 each, with some saying the marathon trip was worth it for the benefits bonanza they hope to reap once in the UK. Similar scenes were witnessed in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, as hundreds departed.

Constantin Binciu, 46, was lured to London because he earns just £4,000 a year in Romania. Once settled in the UK, he plans to bring over his 18-year-old son.

He said: 

“If I don’t find a job, yes, I will claim benefits. Britain is attractive to people like me. I am leaving behind a bad life to start something better in Britain – it’s a land of opportunity for us.”
As the double-decker executive bus left Bucharest at 6.30pm, those aboard smiled broadly and waved, excited at the prospect of being in the UK within 48 hours.

The coach also made stops in several towns and cities outside Bucharest before working its way across Europe. Passenger Gheorghe Raicu, 37, said: 
“I am going to Britain for the opportunity and we will see what happens.
“Maybe I will claim benefits if I cannot find work, because I know it’s generous.”
Coach operators predict as many as 7,000 eastern European migrants could flood into Britain by Wednesday. Over the next seven years some 350,000 could flock here, according to estimates by MigrationWatch, with fears of a £12billion burden on Britain’s over-stretched public services.

While some migrants have expressed a desire to work in the UK, there are disturbing messages on some internet forums.

One pregnant Romanian woman wrote: 
“I have read I can get £190 a week from the British Government from the 25th week of pregnancy. Could somebody help me with the documents?”

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