UK gained $32bn from EU migrants over 10 years: Report

University researchers' report published amid anti-immigrant political rhetoric in Britain

UK gained $32bn from EU migrants over 10 years: Report

World Bulletin/News Desk

Immigrants coming from the European Union to the U.K. contribute more in taxes than they take in benefits, according to a new report as a debate over the cost of immigrants rages in Britain.

The study by the University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Research and Analysis of Immigration contradicts much of what mainstream politicians have been saying in public over the last year as public sentiment in Britain has hardened towards immigrants amid harsh "austerity measures" imposed by the government.

The report found that European immigrants who had arrived in the UK since 2000 contributed more than £20 billion ($32 billion) to the U.K.'s public finances between 2001 and 2011.

Professor Christian Dustmann, Director of CReAM and co-author of the study, which looked at 10 countries which joined the EU in 2004, said on Wednesday: “A key concern in the public debate on migration is whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems."

"Our new analysis draws a positive picture of the overall fiscal contribution made by recent immigrant cohorts, particularly of immigrants arriving from the EU," he added.

Dustmann went on: "European immigrants, particularly, both from the new accession countries and the rest of the European Union, make the most substantial contributions.  

'Positive picture'

"This is mainly down to their higher average labour market participation compared with natives and their lower receipt of welfare benefits," he said.

Many politicians have accused migrants of being an economic drain on the U.K. and coming there in order to receive benefits, as Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party has come under pressure from the anti-EU and anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP).

However, immigrants were also found to have added £4.96 billion more in taxes than they took out in benefits from 2004 until 2011, the report said.

The report also stated European migrants gave the country “productive human capital,” that would otherwise have cost it £6.8 billion.

In the decade from 2001 to 2011, European immigrants from the EU-15 countries contributed 64 percent more in taxes than they received in benefits, whereas immigrants from Central and Eastern European contributed 12 percent more than they received. 

The report paints an overall positive picture of EU immigrants and their contribution to the U.K. and points out that EU immigrants are less likely to receive state benefits and live in social housing compared to UK nationals. 

'Red line'

The conservatives have lost many votes to the UKIP party, according to opinion polls, and two Conservative MPs have defected to it.

Cameron has responded by taking a stronger line on the EU and immigration to address the growing concerns of his party members.

The adoption of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the U.K. amid calls to limit immigration have led to Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel saying that the principle of free movement within the EU was a “red line,” and she would rather see the U.K. leave the EU than have it compromised, according to reports in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Douglas Carswell sparked a by-election when he switched from the Conservative Party to UKIP in August and stood down from his parliamentary seat in Clacton, Essex.

He retook the constituency for UKIP with a 12,404 majority. Mark Reckless, the Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood, announced weeks later that he was also defecting to UKIP, triggering another by-election to be held later this month.

David Cameron is to give a speech on immigration before Christmas.

Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2014, 15:31
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