New study tells us nothing we didn’t know

Yet more evidence was released this morning about the impact of migration between the UK and other EU countries, this time from a detailed study conducted by University College London:

European immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed more than £20bn to UK public finances between 2001 and 2011. […] Over the period from 2001 to 2011, European immigrants from the EU-15 countries contributed 64% more in taxes than they received in benefits. Immigrants from the Central and East European “accession countries” (the EU-10) contributed 12% more than they received.

The very fact that this new research has made headlines in such a major way today is revealing in itself — since it tells us nothing we didn’t already know! Every single independent study into this issue, for as long as I can remember, has come to the same conclusion: that people who move to the UK from other European countries make a massive net contribution to our society and make us all more prosperous.

Whipping up anger against ‘foreigners’ and ‘outsiders’ for perceived injustices in society has been the favourite tactic of the reactionary right throughout history, but it has never been based on reality, and we have always known that. It is a sad indication of how ignorant our national debate about migration really is that a study like this, simply updating existing data, deserves to be splashed across so many national media outlets (and, of course, studiously ignored by the Daily Mail).

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  1. But these figures of how much immigrant’s contribute to the economy etc, etc, mean little for those squeezed out of being able to get a job at all.
    It may be nice for a politician to start quoting aggregate statistics for “the economy”, but if you turn up to an employment agency only to find a hundred immigrants have got there before you, you are going to be getting the £70 dole, and not the £250 pay check – and what good is the GDP figure to you then ?
    This is my experience, and millions of others, and immigrant’s contribution to the economy is a cause for woe, not celebration, in those circumstances.
    I worked at Greencore for a while, for my sins, and for agency workers every day was a scramble to try and get in first as more would turn up than were needed, and you have high levels of resentment towards foreigners because of oversupply of labour like this. National statistics are no comfort at all for those drawing dole.

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