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Immigration 'cost UK £16.8 billion in 2014-15', claims Migration Watch

Published 17/05/2016

Think-tank Migration Watch believes current levels of immigration are unsustainable
Think-tank Migration Watch believes current levels of immigration are unsustainable

Immigration cost the UK almost £17 billion in 2014-15 according to research by think-tank Migration Watch.

The report estimates that the net cost of the UK-born population in 2014-15 was almost £88 billion, while migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) cost £1.2 billion and those from outside Europe cost £15.6 billion.

But the analysis suggested that immigrants who had arrived in the UK since 2001 from the EEA had little net impact on the public finances - because the £2.8 billion cost of people from the 10 newest, mainly former Soviet-bloc, members of the European Union was balanced by a £2.8 billion contribution to the Exchequer from other European migrants.

The net fiscal cost was estimated by assigning individuals their share of public spending and identifying their contribution to government revenues.

The study by the think-tank, which argues that current levels of immigration are unsustainable, suggested that the "deficit" from the UK-born population is accounted for by the spending on pensions.

The report said: "It is true that the native population is also in fiscal deficit, but this may be said to be entirely accounted for by spending on pensions.

"Thus - in broad terms - the working-age native population is in fiscal credit while the equivalent immigrant population is in fiscal deficit."

Migration Watch chairman Lord Green of Deddington said: " This report shows that EU migration, taken as a whole, is not making the positive fiscal contribution that has so often been claimed.

"Furthermore, it is adding to the rapidly increasing pressures on housing and public services. It also contributes to our population increase of half a million every year - roughly a city the size of Liverpool."

Ukip immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe said: " This research shows that immigration wherever it comes from costs the UK £3 million a day and whilst we fail to reduce the pull factors to the country, control our borders or withdraw from the EU, we have a ticking time bomb of costs that our nation will not be able to cope with as our population grows and those who have immigrated to the UK grow older and make further demands on our stretched pensions and health care system."

A Government spokesperson said: "These figures do not take account of the contributions to the UK economy that migrants have made over their lifetimes.

"Data released by HMRC only last week showed recently-arrived EU migrants paid £2.5 billion more in tax than they received in tax credits or child benefit in 2013/14."

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