‘Expert’ behind migrant report was man who said just 13,000 would come from Eastern Europe
Report claims EU immigration has boosted public finances by £20bn
Same academic also predicted 13,000 Eastern EU migrants a year
Professor Christian Dustmann accused of ‘taking a narrow view’
Minister say report ignored the physical pressure on public services
By JAMES SLACK
6 November 2014
The [immigrant] academic who predicted that only 13,000 Eastern Europeans would arrive in Britain each year was under fresh fire last night for his latest study which claimed that EU immigration has boosted public finances by £20billion.
Ministers said the new report co-written by Professor Christian Dustmann had taken a ‘very narrow focus’ which ignored the physical pressure migrants place on schools, hospitals and roads.
Yesterday, the Mail reported how Professor Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini [another immigrant], of University College London, had produced a report heralding the ‘positive economic impact’ of new arrivals from the EU between 2001 and 2011. The academics put particular emphasis on the fact that Eastern European workers had contributed £5billion more in taxes than they had consumed in public services and state handouts.
But, amid criticism of the fact the report did not include the potential future costs associated with the EU migrants growing older and using more State services, critics pointed to Professor Dustmann’s past history. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: ‘It is possible that Professor Dustmann’s enthusiasm is not entirely unrelated to the fact that he was a lead researcher on the 2003 Home Office paper which calculated that immigration from Eastern Europe would be between 5,000 and 13,000 a year.’
In the event, more than one million workers from Eastern Europe arrived between 2004 and the end of 2009 – an average of around 200,000 a year.
The study carried out by the academic for the Home Office has been widely ridiculed by politicians as ‘spectacularly wrong’ and ‘laughable’.
In the new report, EU migrants were said to have contributed a net £20billion to the public finances – including £15billion from the so-called old EU, which includes France and Germany.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the report had taken ‘a very narrow focus’. He told the Mail: ‘This is a complex topic and when it comes to EU migration this report does not take proper account of the pressures uncontrolled, mass immigration – the kind we saw under the last government [and still see under this one] – places on public services and communities.
‘It ignores issues that matter to [hard up] hardworking people, the impact [on jobs and wages] on schools, on hospitals, on roads, on housing [on the level of crime and disorder]. It tells us nothing about how uncontrolled, mass immigration can make it harder to maintain social cohesion [!]. The report takes no account of the future costs associated with those who stay, grow old and make greater demands on our public services.’
Ukip’s migration spokesman Steven Woolfe MEP said the study covers ‘only a narrow part of the UK migration policy debate’.
He added: ‘What it doesn’t do is to show what wealth our own people could have generated if they weren’t subjected to wage-reducing, employment-displacing mass immigration from the EU. Sir Andrew Green said: ‘If you take all EU migration, including those who arrived before 2001, you find by the end of the period they are making a negative contribution and increasingly so.
‘And the reason is that if you take a group of people while they’re young fit and healthy they’re not going to be very expensive, but if you take them over a longer period they will be.’
While the UCL focussed on new arrivals from within the EU, buried inside the 51-page report was a calculation showing that, if the time period 1995-2011 is considered, non-European migrants living in Britain took out more than they put in for 17 consecutive years. The total cost to the public finances was almost £118billion [or £6.94 billion per year – £112 from each individual every year on average].
Professor Dustmann has defended his 2003 report predicting up to 13,000 arrivals a year from Eastern Europe. He said it made clear immigration would be much higher if, as happened, Germany and other countries decided to curb access to their labour markets.
Analysis: True picture his figures do not reveal
What does the report claim?
The headline-finding of Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini, of UCL’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, is that European immigrants who have arrived in the UK since 2000 contributed more than £20billion to the UK public finances between 2001 and 20011. The pair are particularly keen to emphasise the fact that Eastern European workers put in 12 per cent more in taxes than they received in State services and handouts.
Were Eastern Europeans the major EU contributors to the Exchequer?
No. They provided only a quarter of the positive contributions – despite more than one million people coming from the former Eastern Bloc since our borders were opened in 2004. Some £15billion of the total came from the 15 members of the so-called old EU. It includes the vast sums contributed by bankers, engineers and IT experts from countries such as France, Germany and Holland.
In practical terms, what does it all mean?
Migrationwatch says the £20billion figure is the equivalent of a positive contribution of less than £1 a week per head of the total British population. For Eastern European workers, this figure falls to around 20p a week. The crucial question is: is this a price worth paying for the fact that, since 2000, more than a million EU migrants have been added to the population – placing significant strain on the country’s social fabric.
Does report assess impact of migration from outside the EU?
Yes – and it makes for far less positive reading. Between 1995 and 2011, non-European migrants living in the UK cost the public finances almost £118billion – taking out more in services and benefits than they paid in taxes for 17 consecutive years. During the same period, EU migrants made a net contribution of £4.425billion. British natives [including earlier immigrants and their offspring] were a net drain on the nation’s finances of £541billion – reflecting the fact the country has been running a significant deficit in recent years.
Why such a gap between EU and non-EU migrant contributions?
Many of the non-European migrants arrived during previous waves of immigration. They now have families and are making significant demands on schools, hospitals and the welfare state. The Eastern European migrants, by contrast, are typically young and single. EU migrants also have far higher employment rates. For example, 81.2 per cent of Poles are in work compared to 46 per cent of those from Pakistan.
Does the report measure the financial cost of the strain on Britain’s public services?
Calculations have been made to establish how much migrants cost in terms of government funds, such as medical expenses, schooling their children and the welfare state. The total was then deducted from their overall contribution to the public purse, including income tax, National Insurance, VAT, council tax and business rates.
So what are the key omissions?
First, the scope of the report is too narrow – focussing on the cost of using public services but not the physical pressure put on roads, schools [prisons] and hospitals by having to cope with so many new arrivals. Also, the report only looks backwards. It examines the taxes paid by the influx of Eastern Europeans when they are young, single and healthy but does not estimate the financial impact of them growing older and having families, putting a greater strain on the NHS and claiming a State pension. [It also omits the ‘black economy’ in which the estimated three million illegal immigrants in the country play a major part].
Is there any acknowledgement of this fact in the report?
Tucked away on p37, there is a paragraph which states that ‘ageing of the immigrant population that arrived since 2000 may lead in the longer run to an increase in benefit receipt’. However, the authors assert this will be offset by the fact some migrants will return home, while others are yet to achieve their full economic potential.
What about the impact of mass immigration on British workers?
The study makes no attempt to measure this. The independent Migration Advisory Committee warned earlier this year that cheap foreign labour has forced down the wages of some British workers. One study of pay in London had found the 20 per cent lowest paid had seen wages fall by 15 per cent on average. Driving down the wage of natives pushes up the overall welfare bill since they are likely to be paid more in tax credits and other handouts to
And the effect on British school-leavers?
The report makes great play of the fact that immigrants have ‘endowed the UK labour market with human capital that would have cost about £49billion if it were produced through the UK education system’. However, as David Green of the Civitas think-tank points out, the arrival of well-educated young migrants coincided with a slump in apprenticeships for UK teenagers – at great social cost. In 2012, the MAC estimated that, for every four migrant workers who come to the country from outside the EU, one British job is lost, again increasing the welfare bill [and blighting the lives and prospects of our own people, especially our young people].