Belfast Telegraph

Unskilled EU migrants cost £6.6bn a year, Brexit 'rough estimate' claims

Unskilled migrants from the European Union are costing British taxpayers £6.6 billion a year, the Economists for Brexit group has claimed.

New analysis by the group estimates that such migrants cost each UK taxpayer £17.75 per month.

Meanwhile, the group also claims that the average family of unskilled migrants costs the UK almost £30,000 a year once tax, public service use and benefit payments have been taken into account.

But Remain campaigners have slammed the group for making "baseless claims".

Economists for Brexit admits in its own report that the £6.6 billion figure is "necessarily highly imprecise" because of a lack of detailed data on things like migrant wages and household size.

The report also states the £6.6 billion figure is a "necessarily rough estimate for essentially illustrative purposes".

Patrick Minford, co-chairman of Economists for Brexit, said: "Migration can be an economically positive or negative issue. To make it a success you need control and in the EU there is zero prospect of that happening.

"Skilled migrants offer a huge economic boost to the UK and it would therefore be entirely appropriate to continue to attract those from around the world that offer a significant contribution to the UK.

"However, it is clear from our analysis that the UK is suffering in economic terms significantly from the vast numbers of unskilled EU migrants, which is only set to get worse."

But former shadow Labour chancellor Chris Leslie hit back and said: "These are baseless claims from Patrick Minford, who boasts that leaving Europe would eliminate British manufacturing.

"The country's most credible economists all now agree that leaving would damage the UK economy, push up prices and cause unemployment."