Let’s just say that “the facts” do not “speak for themselves” on the issue of immigration or on anything else for that matter. (Except in rudimentary cases such as snow’s being white or 2 + 2 equals 4.)
What happens is that most people – including myself – sees these issues through the prism of their prior ideologies, beliefs and values. Thus The Guardian, for example, talks about the“positive impact of migration within the European Union”; whereas Civitas argues that academics involved in this recent study have both a “shallow focus” and a “short-sighted immorality” on immigration (in that they completely ignore the social and political impact of immigration).
Facts and stats can be used to advance any position – including my own. And this is also to discount the reality that this issue isn’t all about how much taxes European immigrants do or do not pay anyway. Some issues can’t be quantified in the way that the academics at University College London’s Centre for Research & Analysis of Migration seem to have quantified this issue. (UCL is self-styled as “London’s global university”, which may give you a hint at its prior ideological position on immigration.)
Anyway, these are the figures from UCL.
The academic report tells us immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) made a net contribution of around £20 billion to the UK in the period from 2000 and 2011.
However,“buried inside” the report is the fact that immigrants from outside Europe cost the British tax payer £117 billion between the years 1995 and 2011.
So perhaps it can now be said that the happy medium position has in fact been advanced by The Times when it stated:
"Migrants costs £120bn but energetic young Europeans earn their keep."
Nonetheless, that net contribution of £20 billion (by European immigrants) would have been immediately eaten up by the net dis-contribution (as it were) of £117 billion of non-European immigrants. (Although, as said, the dates aren’t the same here.) Thus if we take that £20 billion net contribution away from the £117 billion paid in benefits, etc. to non-European immigrants, we still have a huge deficit of £97 billion!
So why did these UCL academics choose the years 2000 and 2011 specifically? Indeed why did the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph choose the years 1995 to 2011 specifically? No doubt both groups wanted to prove a political point which could be better established by their selected dates. Perhaps, for example, European immigrants were a tax burden before 2000 and that’s why the University College London selected that date. (Bulgarian and Rumanian immigrants also began to flood the UK after 2011.) Similarly, that might have also been the reason why the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph choose 1995 instead.
In any case, the UCL figures are exclusively about European immigrants; whereas the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are talking largely about non-European immigrants.
One other issue is the notion of European immigrants making “a net contribution to the UK”. What does that mean, exactly? Will all UK citizens have automatically gained from that net contribution? Not necessarily. Perhaps many Brits hardly benefit at all. It depends.
I mentioned that prior ideologies and values determine not the facts as such, but which facts/stats are chosen (or ignored) in the first place; as well as the resulting spin that’s placed on them.
On top of that it can safely be said that most of the academics who research into these things are already in favour of immigration. That is, they don’t become academic propagandists for immigration as a result of their research. They go into such research because of their prior (left-wing) political views on immigration and indeed on many other things.
|Christian Dustmann of CReAM.|
So it’s no surprise that academics at University College London have highlighted the “positive impact of migration within the European Union”. Indeed middle-class left-wing academics from London will benefit far more from cheap immigrants – whether that be nannies, gardeners or servants – than the average Brit.
Note: At the very least, the UK spends one billion on foreign aid each year. Now the UCL study above is for the period 2000 to 2011 in which European immigrants added £20 billion to the treasury. In that same period, at least £10 billion would have gone on foreign aid. (Actually, since in one year Cameron spend £2.5 billion on foreign aid, that estimate is very generous.) Of course European immigrants can't be blamed for foreign aid. So it will depend partly on how much of that aid went on European countries; and I don't suppose much did.
Still, in the same period mentioned, non-European immigrants received £120 billion in benefits, etc. Add to that 15 billion in foreign aid. Now you can see how bogus and intentionally misleading this study, along with the Guardian article, is