Module II. The European Multinational and Multicultural Identity: assets and tensions, immigration and integration policies

3.5. Effects of migration

A study published by the Institute for Public Policy Research, London in April 200513 produced graphic figures indicating that immigrants are far from being a burden on the state:  total revenue from immigrants grew in real terms from £33.8 billion in 1999-2000 to £41.2 billion in 2003-4. This 22 % increase compares with a 6 % increase amongst the native born.

  • In 2003-4, immigrants made up 8.7 % of the population but accounted for 10.2% of all income tax collected.
  • Immigrants earn about 15 % more in average weekly income than the native born.
  • Each immigrant generated £7203 in government revenue on average in 2003-4 compared with £6861 per non-immigrant
  • Each immigrant accounted for £7277 of government expenditure, compared with £7753 per non-immigrant.

In contrast, a report by the Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords in April 2008 is far less sanguine. The committee indicated that, in their view, the economic effects of immigration are at best neutral and that, in places where there is the greatest impact on individuals (housing and schools for example), the impact can often be negative. They state, furthermore, that they can see no evidence for the benefits of immigration helping to sustain the UK’s economic growth. This presents a far less optimistic scenario than is frequently the case. This was trumpeted in the British popular press following publication of the report as “proving” the case for restricting immigration even though the report was far more nuanced.10

Activity 15

10 Lewis, Richard. New Europeans, New Identities – Reflections on Europe’s Dilemma, working paper for The Institute for European Studies (VUB). Brussels, 2008. p. 13

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