UK

Immigrants DON'T Cost UK Taxpayers More Than £22m A Day, Despite What Migration Watch Say

13/03/2014 07:52 GMT | Updated 13/03/2014 10:59 GMT

Immigrants have cost UK taxpayers more than £22 million a day for 17 years, a report by an anti-immigration lobby group has claimed, a figure strenuously denied by the academics who did the original research.

Migration Watch UK research claims that the public purse was £140 billion worse off between 1995 and 2011 as a result of people moving to Britain.

Migration Watch based their claim on figures from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, at University College London.

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Immigrants could have cost UK taxpayers more than £22 million a day, a report has alleged

Their figures showed immigrants had made a "substantial" contribution to public finances since 2000 and those from the European Economic Area had contributed 34% more in taxes than they received in benefits in the decade up to 2011.

Cream has strenuously dismissed the Migration Watch use of their data, insisting the think tank's work is "based on a serious misinterpretation of the methodology we have used in our work, which leads to fundamental mistakes that invalidate their calculations".

Migration Watch UK said it had followed the methodology used by Cream but had changed what it called the "unrealistic assumptions" that had been made in that study, such as suggestions that EEA migrants are only half as likely to claim benefits or tax credits - something it claimed was "highly misleading".

Its report states that findings about the contributions made by EEA migrants are "simply wrong" and rely "on assumptions that employees earn the same as the UK-born population".

"In fact, on less unreasonable assumptions, there was no positive fiscal impact at all from the recent EEA migrant group singled out... for their 'very positive contribution'," it states.

"Indeed, migration to the UK continues to have a significant fiscal cost, and recent migrants made no difference to the upward trend."

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "Our report finally disposes of the immigration lobby's oft-repeated claims that immigration reduces our tax burden.

"The total cost is high and increased dramatically between 1995 and 2011, providing no compensation for the overcrowding of this island which we are experiencing, largely as a result of immigration."