Office of Budget Responsibility: Immigration and Public Debt

19 July, 2012

The graph below, taken from the latest OBR Report has been seized upon by the immigration lobby as it purports to show that immigration helps us to tackle our debt problem.

Two points they did not make:

  • (a) The magic scenario that holds our public sector debt to 40 % of GDP results in a UK population of 88 million in 2060. An increase of 25 million!
  • (b) Any effect is temporary as the calculation depends on an assumption that immigrants are younger than the general population but, amazingly, they also grow old….. The OBR admit this to be the case “This effect would reverse over a longer time horizon, when those immigrants who remain in the UK reach old age” (para 24).

We believe that it was irresponsible not to have made these points clearer.

Figure 1