In her article for The Independent on Sunday on 20 April, Barbara Roche criticised Yvette Cooper for failing, in her recent speech, to make “the single most important argument on migration; that immigrants put more into Britain than they take out”. She continued “Their net contribution – equivalent to more than 4p on the basic rate of income tax, according to calculations by the OECD – helps fund our public services, cuts the deficit and reduces the pressure for deeper cuts or higher tax rises. This is the keystone of the case for migration. It rebuts UKIP’s central charge on the costs of migration. Without it Labour cedes the argument to UKIP and critically undermines its own case for Europe”.
Unfortunately Mrs Roche has misrepresented the OECD report. She was referring to their 2013 Migration Outlook. This has an extensive section on the fiscal impact of migration worldwide. It concludes with a table of countries with four columns expressing the fiscal impact in terms of GDP. Mrs Roche is quoting only the figure for tax paid less cash benefits received. However, this takes no account at all of public spending on schools, health etc. The report goes on to calculate the impact of such public spending and finds that there is either no positive impact at all; it is either minus 0.01% or a negative of -0.26% if debt interest is allocated differently. The report also qualifies its findings by noting that the period surveyed was 2007-2009 which they describe as “buoyant” economically. Thus they concluded that, overall, there is no positive benefit for the UK even in the best of times.
Yet again, the immigration lobby are making a false argument. In this case, they describe it as the “keystone of the case for migration”. Indeed so.
Link to the OECD's estimated net fiscal impact of immigrants: http://tinyurl.com/n77pqoz
Link to Barbara Roche's article in The Independent: http://tinyurl.com/keg738u