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. TM

    The Left is indeed full of the chattering classes of London, basically the affluent Middle class socialists who pretend to care. Why do they care so much about immigrants and not poor Working class people in Britain? Anyone care to answer that? Immigration is about one thing: CHEAP LABOUR!!!! Do the Middle class suffer here? Well if they were believe me there’d be a change of tune coming from them, but as it’s only poor people being affected, who cares about them anyway? As long the Middle class of whatever political persuasion have their affluent careers and nice housing and access to good education and wonderful lifestyles, well why would they care? Have they ever? They are the archetypal do gooding class, either contemptuous of the white Working class or patronising. That about sums up the Right and the Left in this country. And anyone who disagrees with a Middle class person is either a racist or a pleb!!! So there’s no debate either. Welcome to 21st century Britain.
    I will never vote for UKIP however because we would be swapping one load or rich posh Southern boys with privileged lives, for another. Some choice that would be.

  2. Sparky

    This is why I am against more migrants:

    1. They are competing for jobs that unemployed people here could do.
    2. They are prepared to work for less so they drive down wages
    3. They put added pressure on housing and infrastructure and public services

    What are your top three reasons for more migrants? I don’t mean a critique of my reasons, I mean three positive benefits.

  3. Sparky

    Come on James, how about an article addressing that question? They’re not going to claim benefits but they’re also not going to compete with British workers for jobs?

  4. Boston_scoundrel

    1. They make a massive net fiscal contribution to the UK economy. EEA migrants contributed, net, about £22bn between 2001 and 2011 (according to the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London).

    2. They are, therefore, making a proportionally bigger contribution to infrastructure and services than UK natives

    3. They stop us becoming insular and mono-cultural

  5. Dave Roberts

    Boston_ scoundrel.

    Two points. How much do they take out and what is the political orientation of the think tank you use?

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