A study conducted by The University College London (UCL) has found that European Immigrants have made a positive financial contribution of £4.4 billion to the United Kingdom between the years of 1995 and 2011. The calculation also takes account of their use of public services. The study comes amid unrest from some political parties on the cost of immigration to the United Kingdom.
The research is timely considering the pressure David Cameron and the current government are facing to take a stance on the UK’s immigration controls especially considering the growing popularity for UKIP. Professor Christian Dustmann, director of UCL’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (Cream) and co-author of the study, said: “A key concern in the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems.” He draws a positive conclusion of the overall contribution that has been made, with the study finding EU immigrants make a substantial contribution.
Robert Peston Economics Editor for the BBC contributed that “The big point is that without the immigrants, our taxes or public sector borrowing would be measurably higher. Which, at a time when the government is failing to reduce the UK’s large public sector deficit at the speed it would like, seems of some relevance.”
Beverley Budsworth, MD of the Debt Advisor Ltd adds, “Our business has definitely benefitted from employing staff who originate from within the EU, including Poland and Greece. This has helped us provide a multi-lingual service to our clients. My personal view is that they contribute so much more than they take.”
However, Migration Watch Chairman, Alex Green is worried about the pressure on services in the United Kingdom with the increased population. He states “If you take all EU migration including those who arrived before 2001 what you find is this: you find by the end of the period they are making a negative contribution and increasingly so.” He reasons that this is because; “if you take a group of people while they’re young fit and healthy they’re not going to be very expensive, but if you take them over a longer period they will be.” He finishes by claiming that “their contribution (immigrants) to the exchequer amounts to less than £1 a week per head of our population”. He feels the UK will have to decide whether the contribution is worth the extra pressure on services.
What has been made clear from the report is that opinion is heavily divided on the topic. Going forward David Cameron has pledged renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU, before holding a referendum in 2017 on whether to leave, if he is re-elected in six month’s time.
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