East european migrants "Not a major boon to our economy"

October 22, 2006

A report out today reveals that migrants from Eastern Europe pay, on average, just over half the amount of tax and National Insurance as the average British worker.

The report, by Migrationwatch, quotes figures obtained from the Home Office which show that 95% of East European workers earn less than £8 an hour; only 2% earn more than £12 an hour.  This means that the average annual earnings of East Europeans are only 60% of those of British workers. On this basis, their tax and national insurance contributions average £2,900 a year compared to £5,500 for a British worker (53%).

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green the Chairman of Migrationwatch, said "Such low incomes do not matter as long as these migrants remain young, single and healthy.   But if the number of dependants increases the picture will look very different.  It will also look different if East Europeans start to take British jobs on a significant scale since we will also be paying unemployment benefits to the British unemployed".

Further calculations based on this information about the earnings of East Europeans show that their average earnings per head (including dependants) are slightly less than their British equivalents.

“This suggests that, even while the number of their dependants remains very low, East Europeans have a very small negative impact on GDP per head.  They also, of course, add to pressures on our infrastructure and public services”, said Sir Andrew.   “They are clearly willing workers who are valuable to individual employers but the idea that they are a major boon to our economy as a whole does not survive examination”, he added.(Read report).

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