How immigration has helped reduce the deficit

By Michael Burton | 02 December 2014
  • Michael Burton

Conspiciously absent from last week’s hysterical debate about immigration and indeed from this week’s Autumn Statement announcements was a big thank you from George Osborne to EU immigrant workers for helping him reduce the deficit.

Far from being a burden, the recent wave of immigrants to the UK since 2000 – in particular those from the EU – have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Between 2001 and 2011 the net fiscal contribution of all European immigrants was £20bn and non-EU immigrants £5bn.  Even during the depths of the recession 2007-2011 recent EU immigrants made a net contribution of £2bn to the UK public finances.

Between 1995 and 2011 immigrants to the UK have been generally less likely than the ‘native-born’ population to receive state benefits or tax credits or live in social housing. They also share the cost of fixed public spending such as defence.

In addition EU immigrants in that period have brought with them £14 billion worth of education provided by their countries of origin or £18bn for all immigrants arriving between 2001 and 2011.

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