£2.5bn Immigrant contribution claim is yet another 'dodgy dossier'

April 25, 2006

Repeated Government claims that immigrants contribute £2.5bn more to the British economy in taxes than they receive in benefits and state services have been exposed as entirely false.

Instead of a surplus of £2.5bn the true figure is actually a deficit of £200m for the year the Government chose, says a report from Migrationwatch out today. (Read report)

Migrationwatch used the same methodology as the Government (and a subsequent paper from the Institute for Public Policy Research) in arriving at their results but with one very important difference – the allocation of nearly one and a half million children.

Both the Home Office and IPPR apportioned dependent children to the migrant population but only if both parents (or the sole parent) were foreign-born. Children of “mixed” households - those who had one UK-born parent and one foreign-born parent - were attributed entirely to the native population.

This meant that in these “mixed” households, the cost of all the children was attributed to the UK born parent and none of the costs fell to the immigrant community.

As there are some 1.4m children of “mixed” households this had a decisive effect on the result, as the original researchers should have realised. In the event, they chose the only assumption that could deliver the “positive” result that Ministers were clearly seeking.

By recalculating the figures and using the more equitable method of apportioning these children equally between the immigrant and native British communities the £2.5bn ‘surplus’ becomes a £200m deficit.

‘Our research completely demolishes the Government’s last remaining excuse for the highest levels of immigration in our history by exposing a serious error in their methodology,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch.

‘The government have produced yet another “dodgy dossier” on a matter of the first importance to the British people. They have used this statistic on every possible occasion but now it has been shown up as entirely worthless. Their case is holed below the waterline.’ he said.

This paper has been seen by David Coleman, Professor of Demography at the University of Oxford and by Robert Rowthorn, Professor of Economics at Cambridge University, who endorse its critique of Home Office and IPPR calculations. They have a special knowledge of the subject, having written an article for the leading academic journal, the Population and Development Review, in December 2004 entitled "The Economic Effects of Immigration into the United Kingdom".

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