Conservative Home Office Minister Earl Atlee has said that the government is “very happy” with immigration from the EU – and added that “hard working Romanian and Bulgarians” would pay more tax and claim fewer benefits than previous generations of migrants.
Earl Atlee was responding in the Lords to a question from Labour Peer Lord Davies regarding a study by researchers at University College London (UCL), which suggests that migrant workers contribute more to the economy of the UK than they take out. Lord Davies said:
“Amid all the unpleasantness in parts of the media over the past few weeks about Romanians and Bulgarians, has the noble Earl had the time to see the study recently published by a team from University College London, which shows that immigrants from the EU over the past 10 years have contributed far more in taxes and national insurance contributions than they have consumed in public services and in benefits – unlike the position of the native population?
“In other words, they have supplied us with a substantial financial and fiscal surplus, to the benefit of every taxpayer in this country. Is there not every probability that hard-working Romanians and Bulgarians will follow in the same footsteps?”
Earl Atlee agreed that migrants from Romania and Bulgaria would bring the UK more benefits than they took out.
Fears over how many new migrants from Bulgaria and Romania when work restrictions were lifted on 1 January have proved to be unfounded – as yet the planeloads of new migrants predicted by some have yet to materialise.
A BBC documentary presented by the BBC News political editor Nick Robinson shown on Monday (07/01/14) examined why New Labour allowed widespread immigration without opening up debate to the British people beforehand.
It emerged that the government at the time did not realise how many migrants from the EU would come to Britain to fill the skills gaps the UK was experiencing at the time.
Former New Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett said that the government was “on the side of the angels” when decisions were made to allow widespread migration to the UK without informing the existing population this would be happening.
Another former New Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw admitted, however, that the projected figures for immigration were wildly inaccurate. Researchers had estimated a maximum of 15,000 immigrants from Poland each year – which Mr Straw said had turned out to be “10 times that”.
An estimated 2.5 million migrants have come to work in the UK since New Labour relaxed UK borders to EU member states.
It is also estimated that as many as 600,000 people are living in Britain illegally, having overstayed their visas or been trafficked into Britain.
The UCL research estimated that, since 2000, migrants in the UK have contributed £25 billion to the economy and contribute 34% more in taxes than they receive in welfare benefits.
The research has recently been questioned by a leading mathematician, however, who says the methods used to interpret data are flawed.
Emeritus Professor of Statistics at UCL, Mervyn Stome, and statistician Nigel Williams from rightwing thinktank Civitas say that the methodology the researchers used regarding the impact of migration on the UK housing and transport sectors is “fatally flawed.
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