The UK Government puts out numerous claims that immigration is good for the country, and attempts to bolster this claim with data showing that EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they claim in benefits. Some of this “data” is cobbled together by so-called academics at University College, London. Well, it would be a wondrous thing indeed if this were not the case – how else would a surplus be generated to pay for public services (not to mention the cost of maintaining Cameron and his cronies)?
If we take the UK population as a whole, then what it pays in taxes (via income tax, VAT, excise duties, council tax etc) exceeds what it receives in welfare benefits by about 5:1. And this is absolutely necessary because there has to be money over to pay for the health service, for old age pensions, for education, for infrastructure like roads, for council services, for police, for the army, navy and air force, for our annual taxes to the EU, for the …. you get the picture. So to say that our EU immigrants pay in more than they take out via welfare payments is quite fatuous. There would something extremely wrong if they didn’t. Even they should make a contribution for all the public services that they get for “free”, like the rest of us.
However, if one wants to raise this issue, as Cameron & Osborne have done, then one should at least be more accurate. In fact, as far as can be estimated (and everyone except Tweedle-Cam & Tweedle-Oz admit the estimation is fraught with difficulties and based on assumption piled on assumption), the immigrants from eastern & central Europe make a far smaller contribution to UK government revenues than the rest of us simply because their incomes on average are lower. So these immigrants are certainly making a smaller contribution to all the non-welfare services which are actually the largest component of government expenditure.
Note that this comparison does not include the immigrants from the “older” EU countries like France, The Netherlands, Germany etc, most of whom are professionals earning considerably more than the average. Because their numbers were always relatively small, they were never considered a problem in the way the current level of mass immigration is.
However, the comparison is invidious because one should not compare low paid immigrant workers to the UK population, but to low paid UK workers, and no doubt if that could be done, it would show very little difference between the two groups. Both would make a small net contribution to the Government’s revenue. But both groups use public services, which are predominantly paid for by others. In that sense, both are subsidised.
So is the Cameron/Osborne claim that migration is a benefit to the economy correct? The Tory Duo, as usual, either through ignorance or deliberate deception, mix up government revenues with national economic benefit. Yes, government revenues are increased by mass immigration (assuming the migrants work and work “officially” with an NHS record), but their call on publicly funded services more than offsets their small individual tax contributions. But even more important, government funded activities are not the economy. Mass immigration has a major spatial impact, the more so since immigrants tend to settle in already densely populated areas where job opportunities are more likely. So the housing market comes under pressure, as do roads, parking, anything that requires space. We need to build over 80,000 houses a year just to keep pace with the tide of immigration (ignoring any backlog) and where are these to go? This is the part of the economy that Tweedle-Cam and Tweedle-Oz just don’t get. Why should they? They and their ilk are not affected by the pressures facing the rest of the population.
None of the above is an argument against immigration per se. We all know that depending on economic conditions and needs, skilled immigration can be highly desirable. What the above discussion shows, rather, is that mass immigration of low paid workers is hardly a benefit to the country. What is good in the short term for government revenues is not good for the population, especially those in the recipient areas. These people face not just increased competition for housing, space generally, public services, but also for their jobs.
A government that is unable to control immigration, that is unable to look after the interests of its inhabitants, that actually does not care about their conditions, is simply not a government – it is merely a mouthpiece of a foreign directorate. Our Prime Minister is just a viceroy for the shadowy powers in Brussels.
The issue is not about “Immigration – good or bad?” but can we control the level and type of immigration in the interest of Britons as a whole. Within the EU we cannot, and the only way to regain control is to leave this domineering and undemocratic power grouping.