New tax on migrants a “drop in the ocean” compared with cost of migration initiatives. For every £1 of Government spending on schemes to help migrants, new tax will raise about 7p.

March 19, 2009

Research conducted by think-tank Migrationwatch shows that the amounts raised by the “migrant tax” are paltry compared with the significant amounts spent on government programmes specifically to help migrants.

Under the Government’s new scheme, to be announced formally on 19 March, anyone from outside the EU applying for student or work visa will be required to pay a new tax of £50 into the Migration Trust Fund, which the Government claims will be used to help local communities pay for public services in areas where there are high levels of migrant workers. The Government claims that this will raise £35 million a year. However, the Government spends over £500 million a year on schemes specifically to help migrants alone – quite apart from the extra cost of migrants to the public services.

Commenting on the announcement, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch, said:

‘The Government say the new tax will raise £35 million per year. This may sound impressive, but it is a drop in the ocean compared with the huge sums spent each year by the Government as it tries to help society cope with the impact of immigration both nationally and at the local level. A rough estimate shows that, for every £1 the Government spends on schemes specifically to help migrants, its new tax will only raise about 7p. And that spending does not allow for the fact that one new home will have to be built every six minutes for new immigrants; nor the additional costs to the NHS and education services; nor the countless other costs to local services that large-scale immigration brings. Our population will hit 70 million in 20 years. 70 per cent of the increase will be thanks to immigration: this new tax will not begin to foot the bill that this population increase will present to British taxpayers.’

The table below lists only some of the Government spending on initiatives specifically relating to immigrants.

Name of fund/area of funding

Department Amount Description
ESOL DIUS £289m (2006/7) Funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training.
Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant DCSF £187.6m (2008-9) For schools working with English as an Additional Language.
Cohesion CLG £50m (over three years) - £16.6m per year. £50million over the next three years to support local areas in preventing and managing community tensions. This comprises: £34million in area based grant; £3million to support the National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy to develop regional and local capacity to meet community cohesion challenges; £4.5 million to help schools and others offer positive activities for young people with a focus on community cohesion; and £7.5 million to support inter-faith work.
Connecting Communities Plus grants programme


£18m (over three years - £6m per year) Funding for activities which encourage race equality and community cohesion. 
Migration Statistics Improvement Programme Cross-departmental £12m £12 million cross-government programme led by ONS and the National Statistician to improve the population and migration statistics, including those at the local level. Will deliver improved local estimates and projections by 2010, in time to calculate the next three year local government finance settlement from 2011-12.
Exceptional Circumstances Grant DCSF £6m (2008/9) To support schools with a rapid growth in pupil numbers and/or increase in pupils who have English as an Additional Language.
Rough sleepers (London Boroughs) CLG £600,000 For central London Boroughs for their work with EEA nationals who are rough sleepers.
  Total £517.8m Per year

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