Are 1 in 10 on the dole really immigrants?

The Sun should use language that reflects reality, not their readers' prejudices.

David Cameron benefits

Foreigners now make up almost one in ten of all dole claimers, according to page 2 of today’s Sun.

The statistic is just the latest rejoinder in a row between the government and Brussels over the extent to which migrants are moving from country to country as ‘benefit tourists’ within the EU.

A total of 9.4 per cent of all Jobseekers Allowance claimants this year – 142,300 – were ‘not British born’, according to the Sun. This compares with the 3 per cent figure cited by the EU – prompting the Sun to boast that the “statistics used by the controversial [EU] report are almost two years out of date”.

The Sun’s story, however, is quite misleading.

Firstly, why has the paper chosen to use the broad term ‘not British born’ in a piece about benefit tourists coming to the UK from other EU countries?

One in 10 job seekers allowance claimants are ‘not British born’, according to the Sun. This is not the same, however, as one in 10 jobseekers allowance claimants being ‘benefit tourists’ from other parts of the European Union – as should have been obvious to the journalist writing the piece.

According to the 2011 census, one in eight – 13 per cent – of UK residents was born overseas. To give an example of just how fatuous the term ‘not British born is, here are a few British national treasures who would fall under the paper’s definition of ‘benefit tourists’ should they ever sign on for jobseekers allowance (unlikely, I know):

Tory MP Daniel Hannan – born in Lima, Peru

Joanna Lumley – born in India

Eddie Izzard – born in Aden, Yemen

Richard E. Grant – born in Swaziland

Boris Johnson – born in New York, USA

Bradley Wiggins – born in Ghent, Belgium

John Barnes – born in Kingston, Jamaica

None of these celebrities were British born. According to the Sun,  they are therefore ‘foreigners’ and potential ‘benefit tourists’.

As to the wider row about migrants coming from places like Poland and Hungary to claim benefits and ‘steal our jobs’ (you’ve probably noticed a contradiction there that some of our political commentators are seemingly oblivious to), there is, as it happens, no precedent to support such claims.

Research published by the government last year found that almost 17 per cent of all British nationals were receiving working-age benefits compared to under 7 per cent of all those classed as non-UK nationals when they first arrived in the UK.

As of February 2011, those who were foreign nationals when they first came to the UK represented 6.4 per cent of claimants – despite making up 13 per cent of the population.

Working-age benefits are defined as income support, job seeker’s allowance, carer’s allowance and disability living allowance.

This is a long-term trend. In 2008-09, at the height of Labour’s policy of so-called ‘uncontrolled immigration’, A8 immigrants paid 37 per cent more in direct or indirect taxes than they received in public goods and services.

A8 immigrants also contributed 0.96 per cent of total tax receipts and accounted for only 0.6 per cent of total expenditures (see table; click to zoom).

Immigration graph 2

The Sun may not have wished their terminology to have been interpreted in this way. They may also have been attempting to whip up hostility to migrants using phrases like ‘not British born’. Either way, they should use language that reflects reality, not their readers’ prejudices.

47 Responses to “Are 1 in 10 on the dole really immigrants?”

  1. Richas

    How could you leave out Cliff Richard, born in Lucknow India?

    The Sun also seems to have left out the large number of German born people who moved to the UK when their tourist parents stopped being based in Germany as art of the British Army on the Rhine. They selfishly served their country by being based overseas and actually brought their kids back to the UK with them after!

  2. henrytinsley

    They’ve a bloody nerve stirring this up – the owners of the Sun aren’t even British themselves.

  3. Alan Ji

    You forgot journalist and former Tory MP Matthew Paris. Does he still owe a round of drinks in Newcastle after his “World in Action” programme?
    Not to mention distinguished England international footballers
    Graeme Le Saux and
    Matthew Le Tissier
    both Channel Islanders.

  4. Selohesra

    Whilst you may have a point there is a world of difference between your headline questioning whether 1 in 10 immigrants are on the dole and the article referring to 1 in 10 on the dole being immigrants. I think perhaps you suffer the same wooly thinking asThe Sun

  5. John Woods

    I had thought that immigrants from the EU had to be able to support themselves for 3 months (13 weeks) when they got to any other member country. If so how are some Romanians begging in the streets as soon as they arrive?

  6. John Woods

    Not only Germany, people like Cliff Richard and Spike Milligan were born in India and other overseas colonies and came back when we were decolonising. Just as well Australia did not decide that all the criminals we exported (transported) should go back home. What right does Jason Donovan have to return without permission from the Queen?

  7. treborc1

    I live in a back water in Wales which has been invaded by the Polish and to be honest my Job center is being honest and say they do not deal with the polish unemployed that’s done by an agency which is run in partnership between a private company and the council, this is due to a number of fights between youths who were looking for work at the job center and a really ill feeling between the two groups.

    We have 9,000 polish people, in the most all houses by the council this again has caused great issues with families and again now a new housing group looking after the polish people.

    But are more polish people on the dole no not in my area because we have 15,000 people out of work and we are told only 3,000 polish people, but then I look around my council estate and I can in honesty say the majority of the polish people I see are claiming benefits, then again so are the other groups.

  8. gtrtyyytut

    wake up immigrantion is destroying the UK
    -10% of benefit claimants are immigrants
    -600,000 EU immigrants do not work- http://www.dailystar.co.uk/star-says/345192/Immigration-is-bordering-on-insanity
    -500,000 immigrants live in UK social housing
    -all have free access to nhs and schools we have to pay for, NHS costs £1.5bil just for EU immigrants

  9. Donnacha DeLong

    Paddies like me aren’t immigrants, we have our own status (under the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens have a de facto right of abode in the UK) and can sign on here in Blighty. Given the collapse of the Irish economy, there’s probably more than a few signing on here.

  10. Donnacha DeLong

    Roma aren’t necessarily from Romania.

  11. Dacus

    You forgot Prince Phillip born in Greece. In The Sun’s logic he is a benefit tourist too.

  12. Dacus

    You forgot Prince Phillip born in Greece. According to The Sun’s logic, he is a benefit tourist too.

  13. Dacus

    Many non-working EU people are pensioners and university students. Both are living from funds coming outside the country. As from using the NHS, the country of origin pays for the medical costs within the whole EU. So the costs incurred by a Romanian patient in a British hospital will be paid by Romania, no matter what tabloids say. The non-EU citizens are the real health tourists, not the Eastern European that are EU citizens.
    I can hardly wait Spain complaining against all EU non-working people living over there, mostly British pensioners!!!!

  14. Dacus

    Because they are not genuine immigrants but people trafficked to the UK to beg and commit petty crime. They don’t require work permits for these activities, unlike genuine work seekers from Romania and Bulgaria. This is a matter for Police and Justice, not immigration.

  15. Dacus

    Nor should EU citizens, including the EU Eastern Europeans citizens, considered immigrants. In the continental Europe, nobody calls the EU citizens ‘immigrants’. Immigrants are considered all those coming from outside the EU.

  16. Alec

    The claim by the the Sun – no matter how objectionably misleading it was – was that people who are not contributing to the Exchequer, never have and weren’t even born to parents who had are claiming benefits.

    So, other similarly wooly thinking can be seen in the citing of those names born in [then] colonies where their parents were parts of the administrations. That wasn’t really another country in the political sense, was it?

    Of the others, Johnson is more accurately described as having been born during a family holiday to New York. Wiggins had a British mother and was in this country before his second birthday. Both Hannan’s parents were British and he was educated in this country and always has been employed here.

    The closest we have is Grant and Barnes. Yet, although Barnes clearly was born a Jamaican to Jamaican parents, but moved to this country as a minor and entered employment here at the first opportunity. Grant may have been born abroad to non-British parents, but his father was part of the colonial administration.

    This piece would be on stronger ground if it questioned the tax-paying status of the owners of the Sun. Of course, that wouldn’t have made for a “ooo, must get some copy out asap”.

    ~alec

  17. Alec

    Hardly. He was born into the monarchy for goodness sake! Honestly, there are sound and reasoned arguments to make against this… yours, however, is about the same level as having a five year old tell us where babies come from.

    ~alec

  18. Alec

    To be accurate, Cliff Richard is Anglo-Indian so, presumably, his family’s presence in India dated back to the turn of the 19th Century with strong non-Euro branches.

    ~alec

  19. OldLb

    Is he on the Dole?

  20. OldLb

    So have you any references for how much money flows?

    The cost of the NHS is 2K per person a year (roughly).

    So for each Pole, we have 2K coming to the UK?

    What about the US? Do we have cash coming from the US?

    Nope, its a joke. There aren’t the flows to cover the cost of providing the insurance.

  21. OldLb

    However, the real question isn’t whether they are paying tax or not. The questions are they paying enough tax?

    So what’s enough tax to cover their costs. Quite easy. We take total spending and divide by number of people. Note that this assumes they don’t get a state pension.

    So that’s 11.5K a year, or 40K a year in income. Per migrant. Man woman and child.

    So not many will make the grade.

    End result., those on benefits are a liability.

    Since economic migration is optional, we need to be stopping people who don’t earn enough and removing those who don’t’ too.

  22. Alec

    Yes, but what does this have to do with pensions?

    ~alec

  23. Alec

    Yes, but what does this have to do with pensions?

    ~alec

  24. Alec

    Yes, but what does this have to do with pensions?

    ~alec

  25. OldLb

    The mantra from the left is that we need migrants to pay our pensions. However they are getting their own entitlement in the process.

    Plus, we have lots of migrants on welfare, who clearly aren’t paying for anyone’s pension.

    Why shouldn’t the criteria for economic migration be whether or not you cost other taxpayers money?

    e.g. Do you pay more tax than the average government spend?

    This is the problem the left has. People have worked out that for lots of migrants this isn’t the case.

    So the left then goes and says the people pointing this out are racists, or bigots or nazis. The inconvinient truth is there.

    It’s the same with other things.

    e.g You’re safe in the NHS. 1,200 deaths at Stafford, and the reaction is the same. Hound the whistle blower out of town.

    Point out that pensions can’t be paid, because the debts are too large and growing too fast, and you will be attacked. After all the consequences of people finding out is that the gravy train will stop. No more public sector jobs. See Greece for an example.

    So migrants won’t pay the pensions of others, because for the a large percentage of them , they aren’t paying more tax than it costs to have them here.

  26. OldLb

    They are. Look at Gibraltar.

  27. Alec

    I knew your plodding golf club mind would get round to that eventually.

    ~alec

  28. OldLb

    So what’s yours?

    Lets see. You want to get your cut of other people’s money. Get rich and sod the poor.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_263808.pdf

    6,500 bn of debt hidden off the books. No assets to back them up.

    That’s really going to do the poor in. It’s going to make them destitute.

    No doubt, just so long as people like you get your public sector pensions, the poor can eat brioche.

  29. Alison Piearcey

    Well, I have a source showing that precious resources are wasted on dogs. Coming over here, having puppies, corrupting our youth into wearing stripy jumpers and carrying catapults.
    It’s from the Beano. (Gnasher is an Abyssinian Wire Hound)

    If you will quote your stats from a comic book (and not even a funny one) Beano is better researched than Daily Star.

  30. Alison Piearcey

    Most public sector workers don’t get pensions any more than private sector do anymore – this might be one of the reasons behind the striking? Or did you not bother to find out why millions of workers downed tools? or perhaps you think doctors, teachers, probation officers and other civil servants shouldn’t get the option to retire – we should all drop in harness.

    You seem to have this impression that ‘public sector workers’ and ‘the poor’ are somehow distinct. Have you noticed how many PS jobs are minimum wage or less lately?

  31. OldLb

    So if they aren’t getting pensions then look at what that means.

    About 2 trillion owed (present value) to civil servants. If most don’t get pensions what does it mean about the pensions of those that do.

    They are raking it in. There are some unbelievable fat cats in the PS.

    Or you’re argument about pensions is wrong.

    Which is it?

    Why should PS be any different from the rest of us? Why should we slave until we drop just because the fat cats want their 2 trillion, rising with inflation. All Bernie Maddoffed off the books.

  32. Alison Piearcey

    That’s my point – PSW shouldn’t get a worse deal than private sector workers. That private workers should get some kind of retirement too. Maybe we could all pay a bit of our current wages – those that have them. We could call it ‘pension contributions’ and many of us have been paying them for years.

    And as for raking it in – Brown spent a whole lot of the pension funds, so not as much as you make out.

    Judge all of by a few fat cats? Can I just say ‘bankers’ and then we all accept that not everyone in any industry, sector, company or welfare provision gets the same amount? That the most are workers, not CEOs – in both sides of the increasingly artificial division between ‘public’ and ‘private’. How many public services are now in the hands of private companies.

    So – neither. That’s what you get for setting up a false dichotomy. The reality is that a large number of public servants were promised a decent retirement, payed in for years, and now are getting close to retirement, find the money’s all gone. So that 2 trillion (I’m going to imagine that’s lifetime amounts, assuming everyone got maximum) isn’t there anymore – no-ones having it all, it isn’t there to be had.

    Not to say some senoir civil servants haven’t done quite nicely – but if they paid in for 40 or 50 years, there ought to be something left so a lifetime of service isn’t rewarded with poverty. Whereever you worked.

  33. OldLb

    PSW shouldn’t get a worse deal than private sector workers.

    =====

    But they aren’t. A small number(you’ve said that most don’t get pensions) are owed 2 trillion rising with inflation

    The money to pay that comes at the expense of the private sector workers. They get no pensions, so the public sector gets their gold plated pensions.

    ====

    We could call it ‘pension contributions’ and many of us have been paying them for years.

    ====

    Agreed. We’ve been paying. So they owe us a pension? Right? They owe in total 6,500 bn pounds.

    So what have they done with the money. Lots of assets. All that investment Labour goes on about. Er, no. They’ve spent the lot. It’s all gone. There is no pot of gold.

    Wake up. It’s a fraud.

    ========

    (I’m going to imagine that’s lifetime amounts, assuming everyone got maximum)

    =========

    No, its just what’s owed. Didn’t you realise that the fat cats in the public sector excluded themselves from life time limits? That’s for the private sector not the PS fat cats. After all, if that limit didn’t exist, people would be contributing to their own pensions rather than the fat cat pensions in the PS.

    ==========

    if they paid in for 40 or 50 years, there ought to be something left so a lifetime of service isn’t rewarded with poverty

    ==========

    Exactly.

    Except you don’t realise that its the majority who get the poverty, and the fat cats in the PS who are in clover. It’s come at the expense of those who aren’t in those jobs.

    PS. This is just civil servants. Local government, teachers, NHS aren’t part of that state system. That debts on top. Those pension schemes are ‘fully funded schemes’. Note that this means they should be fully funded, not that they are. The LGA scheme only has assets to cover 50% of what they owe. Massive black hole.

    Now think about the state pension. Lots of people involved there. How much are they owed? 30 million people, compared to the small number of civil servants? Just over double, for lots more people.

    Now face up to the numbers.

    Debt increasing at 850 bn a year.
    Taxes 600 bn a year total.

    Guess what’s going to happen.

  34. Alec

    Just how thick are you? I am in disagreement with the way the op-ed is presented… I made the exact same point which you think is the “real question” everyone is ignoring.

    Honestly, can you not parse a simple sentence; or are your basic bad manners so ingrained that you don’t bother with actually reading the AtL piece or BtL comments but start blathering from the word go?

    ~alec

  35. OldLb

    A8 immigrants paid 37 per cent more in direct or indirect taxes than they received in public goods and services.

    ============

    This is completely wrong.

    We know what the cost of public goods and services are. It’s 11.5K a person a year.

    Migrants on average do not pay 11.5K a year per person in tax. That would mean the average pay of a migrant is over 40K assuming they have no children or dependants. Add on 40K for each dependant.

    That’s the generalisation.

    For the specific, there are lots of migrants who don’t come close to paying 11.5K a year in tax. So the argument presented is false.

    Similarly the 11.5K a year ignores the pension debts to the migrants that are accruing. Unless you think that we should say no migrant gets a pension from the UK government?

    How about Alec, that you address the points I’ve made, rather than your usual debating tactic so beloved of the left. Attack the messenger.

  36. Alec

    Why are you responding to one of my comments with a quote from the op-ed which I have expressed disagreement with? Is it ‘cos you’re: a) engaged in a purposeful attempt to mislead; b) so thick you cannot be trusted to find your bum in a darkened room using both hands?

    ~alec

  37. Alison Piearcey

    Please stop conflating Fat Cats with Civil Servants. Most Civil Servants are workers who are being shafted by management just as much as private sector workers are. As for ‘a small number of civil servants’ try about 6 million directly, with nearly as many again indirectly – both in companies that rely on public funds and in the NHS, which is counted as private, by the ONS

    The 2 trillion is the number it would be if everyone got what they were promised when they were paying in. We are not getting that, no-one is – it’s not simply that some boss somewhere is drawing my pension. You seem to have missed the point I was making. Here it is again, as simply as I can

    No, you didn’t pay into the work pension scheme my college used. (for which I didn’t qualify) You just paid National Insurance. Just like I did. So that anyone who didn’t have private pension contributions could have State Pension when they retired. Just like you can. Only now, the age you get it is going up again, and the amount is going down.Just like it is for me. Why does this lead you to assume and keep supposing I am somehow gold plated ?

    When I worked in the public sector, I got no gold parachute, no guaranteed wage, no sickpay, no holidays, no pension rights and no sympathy from folk like you because I was stupid enough to
    work for an employer called Government.

    Even if I had been eligable, your mythical ‘gold plated’ really wasn’t. I din’t do all the numbers, since I didn’t qulaify, but it came out as ‘not much above inflation, and quite risky’ This would be the reason my landlord, a colleague, didn’t bother with it, but worked three jobs to afford another property. I am sitting in his retirement plan.

    Your magic plan is what exactly? Let anyone who happened to work for the state starve, so you can be cushy?

  38. Alison Piearcey

    Please stop conflating Fat Cats with Civil Servants. Most Civil Servants are workers who are being shafted by management just as much as private sector workers are. As for ‘a small number of civil servants’ try about 6 million directly, with nearly as many again indirectly – both in companies that rely on public funds and in the NHS, which is counted as private, by the ONS

    The 2 trillion is the number it would be if everyone got what they were promised when they were paying in. We are not getting that, no-one is – it’s not simply that some boss somewhere is drawing my pension. You seem to have missed the point I was making. Here it is again, as simply as I can

    No, you didn’t pay into the work pension scheme my college used. (for which I didn’t qualify) You just paid National Insurance. Just like I did. So that anyone who didn’t have private pension contributions could have State Pension when they retired. Just like you can. Only now, the age you get it is going up again, and the amount is going down.Just like it is for me. Why does this lead you to assume and keep supposing I am somehow gold plated ?

    When I worked in the public sector, I got no gold parachute, no guaranteed wage, no sickpay, no holidays, no pension rights and no sympathy from folk like you because I was stupid enough to
    work for an employer called Government.

    Even if I had been eligable, your mythical ‘gold plated’ really wasn’t. I din’t do all the numbers, since I didn’t qulaify, but it came out as ‘not much above inflation, and quite risky’ This would be the reason my landlord, a colleague, didn’t bother with it, but worked three jobs to afford another property. I am sitting in his retirement plan.

    Your magic plan is what exactly? Let anyone who happened to work for the state starve, so you can be cushy?

  39. OldLb

    Let me explain your plan. After all you are in favour of the status quo.

    Lets say I get burgled. Under your scheme of things, its now perfectly acceptable for me to go out and burgall someone else to get my property back or equivalent.

    Or if you want a different scenario. A fraudster is up in court. You have to repay your victims says the judge. We’re going to release you until you go and defraud someone else to pay your victims back.

    Eh? I can hear you say. That’s not acceptable. Well its exactly what you are saying. You’re saying that those who have been defrauded, the public sector workers, must get their pensions, even if the state has to make someone else poor by taking cash from them, so they are poor.

    What’s my magic plan? For what? Solving the states pension mess? It’s very simple. They have to default because there is no other way out. That leaves the question, who gets hit the most. After all I didn’t cause it. The blame lies with politicians, and with the people working for them. That’s the new matra isn’t it. All bankers a guilty because some of them are fraudsters. Same with public sector workers if you are of the same opinion as the Labour party.

    So let me answer your last question with the obvious one. Why should the public sector workers (small number) be comfortable, and everyone else starve? You’ve not answered that.

  40. Alison Piearcey

    At no point did I support burglary or fraud. Quite the reverse

    I’m in favor of those collegues who PAID INTO a pension plan not being robbed simply because they worked for the state. How does this inconvenience you in any way, unless you are a pension fund manager? Let me reiterate, those public sector workers should get WHAT THEY PAID FOR. How is this robbery?

    You are not paying for public sector pension any more or less than any other person who pays NI. Including all public sector workers. Further, those PSW who have paid into a pension schem did not do so with your money, but with their wages. Again, where do you get this martyr complex that you’re paying for everything?

    How about we posit that nobody starves? No, the state doesn’t have to default on its responsibilities, we’ve ‘owed money’ for the last four hundred years, and seem to have managed to still exist. I don’t see why suddenly we can’t pay for state pensions, but we can still give rises to MPs – a welfare state seems somehow unaffordable but we can happily waste money on unneccesary wars. There isn’t a problem unless it is made to be so.

    I’m just laying forth the argument that perhaps instead of blaming workers you blame owners.The blame does indeed lie with politicians, but not ‘those working for them’ since this is about a quarter of the working population. Your average civil servant did not cause there to be ‘a problem’.(the only problem is the perennial one of meeting everyone’s needs, which we’ve had ever since we recognised people to have needs) – perhaps if you think there is a problem, you should be asking – Is there no longer sufficient income? Why? Did some people stop paying in?

    Why should PSW (a quarter of the workforce) be comfortable? why shouldn’t they? they’re people, ergo should be allowed to exist. You still seem to be subscribed to the idea that somehow public sector workers don’t earn their living. As I said before, the public/private divide is no longer meaningful. Workers are workers, and deserve a living wage while working and a pension when they retire

  41. OldLb

    I’m in favor of those collegues who PAID INTO a pension plan
    ==========
    They paid in, they should receive.

    However, that’s conditional. It’s conditional on not making other people destitute.

    So they should get whatever that money has grown to after being invested.

    ie. They should get it, but they shouldn’t get it at someone elses expense. No more than if you were a victim of crime going out and robbing someone else to get what you are entitled to, your property back.

    How does it inconvinience me or those not in the scheme? Its come at the expense of our pensions. We’ve had to pay for the gold plated pensions and as a result people don’t have the money for their own pensions.

    So in order to get their pensions, all paid out of money from the non public sector, they have to rob the non public sector of money.

    So its robbery. The public sector have been robbed of their contributions and now your solution is that the state should rob other people of their retirement to pay for it. Unless you say PS workers should get their fund and thats its. In which case I’m quite happy. PS won’t be. They won’t have any pension. There is no fund.

  42. Jamie

    `the left` – what are you on about?

  43. mactheanti

    Woooosh that was the irony going completely over your head!

  44. mactheanti

    Same sort of reporting in the Times today about Falkirk where they talk about “indications” where they should have written “evidence”. Obviously they cannot write evidence because they do not have any!

  45. Alec

    And with that devastating riposte, how can I possibly hope to respond?

    (Quite easily as it happens, see above.)

    Irony doesn’t mean what you think it does.

    ~alec

  46. Alec

    Heads-up, this thread is three weeks old. Try finding a more recent one to troll with your Mike Giggler style quips.

    ~alec

  47. Kangaeru

    You are generalising and grossly overreaching with this statement. Non-EU migrants who are living and working legally in this country pay both NI and tax like their British counterparts, yet, as is clearly stamped in their passports, HAVE NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS (capitalised for clarity). Also, please note your use of the term “health tourist” – by definition, this refers to a group of people entering a foreign state for the sole purpose of garnering health care. I hardly see how a whole group of people, namely “non-EU citizens” can be categorised as such.

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