Azara Blog: Immigrants allegedly don't do much for the UK economy

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Date published: 2007/01/03

The BBC says:

The contribution of immigrants to the UK economy is "very slight indeed" and the main benefits are to the migrants themselves, a pressure group has said.

Migrationwatch UK says the economic benefit is equal to 4p a week for each person in Britain.

Its chairman Sir Andrew Green accused Whitehall of trying to divert attention from the problems caused by migration.

A Home Office spokesman said there was "a clear consensus" that migrants had helped the economy to grow.
Susan Anderson of the Confederation of British Industry said Migrationwatch was "seeking to score a few cheap political points".

"Migrants to the UK bring valuable skills and ideas with them and help to fill job vacancies where Britons are unable or unwilling to do so," she said.

"Their taxes help pay for our public services and our pensions, long after many migrants have returned home.

"Their presence also helps keep inflation low at a time when there are many forces pushing the other way."

BBC economics editor Evan Davis said Migrationwatch was right to try to assess how immigration affected an individual's wealth, rather than relying on government figures relating to the overall size of the economy.

But he said neither the government nor Sir Andrew had tried to work out the overall economic effect of immigration, which would be "impossibly complicated".

Surprise, an anti-immigration group writes a report against immigration. Davis is correct, the overall economic situation is complicated. But it's obvious that your average immigrant is at least more motivated than your average native since the former has already had the ability to get up and leave one country and figure out how to get to another one. And in every rich country in the world, immigrants do the jobs that natives refuse to do, at the bottom of the pile. And at the top of the pile, you just have to look at the employees of Cambridge University to see how much immigrants have contributed to the UK.

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