Now that we’ve pulled apart the idea that newly-arrived immigrants are being fast-tracked to social housing ahead of indigenous Britains, it’s worth a quick look at the myth that immigrants are somehow a drain on the economy; that there is a pressing need to “get tough” with them, send them home, afflict various hardships on them, whatever.
Much like the scaremongering over social housing, the perception that immigrants are somehow a drain on the country is built on a foundation of xenophobic sand.
As a 2009 study has noted, immigrants from the “A8 countries” – that is the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland – are around 60 per cent less likely than natives to receive state benefits or tax credits or to live in social housing.
The report added that “even if A8 immigrants had the same demographic characteristics of natives, they would still be 13 per cent less likely to receive benefits and 28 per cent less likely to live in social housing”.
In 2008-09 – the year prior to the study – A8 immigrants paid 37 per cent more in direct or indirect taxes than they received in public goods and services.
And here is the important bit: in 2008-09 – at the height of Labour’s policy of so-called “uncontrolled immigration” – A8 immigrants contributed 0.96 per cent of total tax receipts and accounted for only 0.6 per cent of total expenditures (see table).
As Left Foot Forward has previously pointed out, immigrants are helping to pay for our pensions.