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Report suggests EU migration costs British taxpayers £3m a day

18 May 2016

According to recent research, European immigrants cost the British taxpayer £3 million a day in 2015. This figure, which was published in a report by MigrationWatch UK, an organisation that campaigns for more restrictive border controls, equates to £1.2 billion in total last year. This includes recent arrivals and those who have lived in the UK for many decades. This figure was determined by reviewing the amount of money migrants contributed to the Exchequer through tax in the past 15 years, and then subtracting the cost of public services and benefits they used.

The MigrationWatch UK report claims that immigrants that have been residing in the UK since 2001 (including large numbers of arrivals from the eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004) have been "cost neutral" to Britain. Therefore, according to the analysis in this report, EU migration, when calculated as a whole, is not producing the positive economic contribution that has been claimed by many supporters of the free movement of people.

In 2015, migrants who had originated from all parts of the world cost the British Exchequer £17 billion, or £46.5 million a day. This does include those migrants that arrived in the UK in the 1960s and who are now pensioners with greater healthcare needs - and thus having an impact on the NHS. MigrationWatch’s research appears to claim that eastern European migrants cost the Exchequer £2.8 billion in 2014-15, but this shortfall was then was negated by a £2.8 billion excess created by migrants who had come from other European countries, such as Spain and France.

MigrationWatch’s chairman, Lord Green said: "This report shows that EU migration, taken as a whole, is not making the positive fiscal contribution that has so often been claimed." Lord Green also argued that immigration was having a negative effect on housing and public services. Lord Green stated that immigration was resulting in an unmanageable population increase of half a million a year, which equates to a city the size of Liverpool.

In justifying the results of this research, MigrationWatch said it had based its research methods on those used in a 2014 report by University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration. The UCL’s research found that immigration from Europe boosted the UK economy by £4.4 billion between 1995 and 2011. However, MigrationWatch stated that the UCL report also discovered that economic contributions from Europe began to fall in the final three years of this timeframe.

MigrationWatch’s research determined that this decline was to continue, leading to the £1.2 billion cost of European migration from April 2014 to March 2015. The MigrationWatch report stated: "The [UCL] finding that recent immigrants have made substantial net contributions to public finances appears to have resulted from the strong economic growth in the UK leading up to the recession in 2008. These net contributions were not maintained in the subsequent years." The results from this report will undoubtedly add to the Brexit debate, with the referendum vote on June 23rd drawing ever closer.




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