We repeat, migrants are *less* likely to claim benefits than indigenous Britons

Contrary to what David Cameron would have you believe, benefit tourism just isn't a significant problem.

In a sop to UKIP, David Cameron has pledged to bar migrants from claiming out-of-work benefits for three months after their arrival to the UK.

The measure is supposed to put off ‘would-be benefit tourists’ from coming to Britain.

What David Cameron probably won’t tell you, however, is that migrants from Eastern Europe are less likely to claim benefits than indiginous Britons.

Most migrants from the EU do not come to Britain to sign on, but to work. Migrants who came to the UK after the year 2000 have made a ‘substantial’ contribution to public finances, according to a recent study by University College London.

Those from the European Economic Area (EEA – the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) made a particularly strong contribution in the decade up to 2011, contributing 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits, the study found.

Other data backs this up.

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 contributed 0.96 per cent of total tax receipts and accounted for only 0.6 per cent of total expenditures (see table).

Benefit tourists

And before someone makes a boring argument about Britain’s benefit system being ‘the most generous in Europe’, that isn’t true either. A study by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Centre for Population Change (CPC) carried out last year found that the UK had below average levels of welfare spending among developed nations. (See graph).

Benefits graph

There is no reason to view Britain as any more attractive to benefit tourists than other EU countries, and no reason to view the latest ‘crackdown’ on ‘welfare tourism’ as anything other than an attempt to shore up the right-wing vote.

Benefit tourism just isn’t a significant problem.

45 Responses to “We repeat, migrants are *less* likely to claim benefits than indigenous Britons”

  1. Mike Stallard

    James – I work at a Centre which welcomes immigrants and has done since the Poles first arrived. What you say is absolutely true – at first they were exemplary. They worked like demons for our centre (and church) voluntarily AFTER 12 hour shifts at the factory or in the fields!
    But things have changed a lot now.
    There are professional human traffickers around who shove people in here for money. There are professional hucksters who show how, if you just get rid of your partner, you can get free housing and so on. There are a lot of Europeans now, collecting all the welfare they can get – and then collecting it at home too.
    Oh yes, the vast majority do in fact do us the honour of becoming British. They learn the language, dress and behave just like us and their children are as British as you or me. Lovely people most of them too.
    Overall I am very positive about immigrants: they have saved our (Catholic) Church. But there is enormous amount of swindling too.

  2. SimonB

    It’s been pointed out elsewhere that much of what was announced today is already being done, and the new bit, the minimum earning threshold, is probably illegal. So another triumph for tabloid-led policy.

  3. Sparky

    James Bloodworth’s thinking:

    1. Migrants are less-likely to claim benefits than the indigenous population, but
    2. Migrants don’t take jobs away from the indigenous population.

    Which is it? Either they’re competing in the job market or they’re not.

    Perhaps he could clarify.

  4. Two Bob

    I care about all of the youth that are leaving our education system and are being left on the scrap heap because it is cheaper for big business to hire immigrant pre trained labour than directly train our youth for the work (not because our boys and girls are lazy – mere propaganda). I was talking to a check out girl at Aldi the other day, lovely 26 year old woman from Poland, got a good degree and works shelf stacking at Aldi and has been there for a few years. If that is not a waste of her education and potential I do not know what else is. Why is her country not providing her with the opportunities she deserves and why is our country not giving our school leavers the opportunities they deserve, relative to their education rather than leaving them to wither away on benefits?

    Everyone has to start somewhere, but why would an employer want to give a basic job to a school leaver with no experience if the rotten system allows them to have someone (and an unlimited supply of people) with a degree and a couple of years of experience ready and willing but prepared to work for the same salary (or less)? The fact this system allows that to happen is what disgusts me, but of course organisations like the CBI love the EU – this sort of thing benefits them.

    Westminster is a mess and the EU is a mess. There is nothing wrong with a free trade area but there is everything wrong with having a federal cancer attached to it. For Britain, France, and Spain and Greece etc all to be successful in the future is to have politicians that work soley for their own people, not the so called European project. Being more country orientated is not going to start a war, Europe would not suddenly go back 70 years – but chronic youth unemployment alonemay cause it.

    Because of immigration the jobs being created are quickly being taken by migrants. There is a crisis in the NHS and Education because of the sheer volume. The birthrate is out of control, pushing our population up to unsustainable levels. There is also a housing crisis which can only be appeased by building on greenbelt land which would be a nothing other than a catastrophe, becoming apparent in the near future. Unfettered immigration is wrong for Britain and will eventually be the straw that broke the camels back. It is eroding the quality of our lives piece by piece year after year. Just remember how limited in size our country is.

    If Britain leaves the EU it will be much better for all of us. Britain could create its own Common Market with its former colonies, from India to Australia, from South Africa to Canada. And will save alot of money. We wont be alone or isolated in the world – our ultimate goal would be to broker and associate with many of the trading blocks around the world without having to join at the hip – it is a huge opportunity. Those people who accuse us Ukippers of being Little Englanders are themselves infact Little Britainers or Little Europeans. We are not even remotely suggesting turning our backs on Europe or clicking our fingers to bring online our defensive shield, so why say that?

    Many of us Ukippers love Europe itself and spend considerable holiday time in France, Spain, Italy, not to mention dear old Scotland. We are proud Britons, and proud members of the family of Europe. But we cannot stomach having a tsunami of regulation and legislation handed down to us by mediocre, unelected bureaucrats, presiding over a monetary union that has been disastrous for several smaller nations and bodes ill for several larger. We cannot accept that our independence has beengiven away by the slitherers of new labour, and we are going to reclaim it. We accept that controlled immigration can welcome talent to Britain through stringent admission procedures, but for people with degrees from poor countries to come here and work minimum wage jobs, out competing our school leavers simply because their minimum (and average) wage is a fraction of ours is immoral and is quite frankly a kick in the teeth. Anyone can have huge work ethic if they are given the opportunity to earn 5 times more than they usually would, so the playing field is hardly level, not to mention the people in semi skilled jobs formerly earning a living wage having to re-price themselves in the jobs market, widening the gap between rich and poor.

    Free movement between Britain, Holland, France, Germany, Italy Finland etc was never the issue. The amount of free movement a country and its citizens can have access to should be directly linked to the wealth of their country, their economic performance should reach a minimum standard per capita before full free movement can be initiated, otherwise it is simply a race to the bottom for the working class of western Europe, and extremist parties will get the opportunity to take advantage, and massively take advantage they will if things carry on as they are. Expect an huge army of eurosceptics from France, Britain, Holland, Denmark, Finland, Italy in May 2014 based on this issue, and also the issue of the euro, both which are dragging ordinary people (and countries) off the edge of a cliff, the process of turning Europe into a country, slowly but surely (deny it all you like europhiles, but that is the ultimate goal and you cannot fool us) is harming its citizens.

    I cannot fathom how any normal person from any country, let alone England/Britain can disagree with any of this, unless they have a serious vested interest, whether that is their hiring of a cheap cash in hand nanny from Latvia, or their gravy train in Brussels waiting for them to climb aboard once they get booted out of government. So please, get a grip and look at society as a whole, not just GDP, human nature is far more important. Boston & Skegness will get its first UKIP MP (among many) for a reason. Britain is the dustbin of Europe, and Poland is now thriving, yes because less people mean less unemployment, whilst we pay for their kids at home and go to foodbanks.

    Limited imigration is good. Uncontrolled mass economic migration is not. You are a typical chattering class stooge. Any left winger who thinks the system is fine as it is needs to look at themselves in the mirror and think about the working class of Britain for a change. Champagne socialists make me sick.

  5. Dave Roberts

    James. I was about to go on the offensive when I saw the main title but by the time I got to the article itself I saw you had changed the story somewhat. Poles are not Somalis and it is totally disingenuous to to suggest that they are. A book well worth reading is ” The Diversity Illusion” by Ed West who totally demolishes the current liberal/extreme left consensus on immigration.

    Ignoring benefits received at the point of delivery such as education and the NHS Poles take a half of one per cent of other applied for benefits. With Somalis the figure is over seventy.

    Poles, Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians and others, but not all, from the former Soviet empire are essentially Europeans with all that that implies. Their religious, family and general social values are very similar to our own. That cannot be said of a culture like the Somalis, and I realise that there are sub groups and cultures among them, that believe in female genital mutilation. Sub Saharan Africa isn’t and never will be largely Catholic eastern Europe.

    To point that out isn’t, as Simon B seems to be saying, a victoryfor tabloid led something or other, it’s just true.

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