MYTH: Britain is full
FACT: Immigration to the UK is in line with what is happening across an increasingly inter-connected world
- Immigrants make up just over 10% of Britain’s population, which is lower than many other countries like the USA or Australia.
- Although London is crowded, many cities in the north face the opposite problem. In London the population density is 5000 people per square km but in the North East it’s 300 people per sq km.
SOLUTION: The government should focus on investing in economies across the UK, so there are more job opportunities outside the South East.
MYTH: Immigrants are taking all the jobs
FACT: Labour Force Survey data over the past three years shows that approximately 15% of new hires go to immigrants and 85% to British workers.
SOLUTION: The government should embark on a serious job creation project so everyone who wants work can get it.
MYTH: Immigrants drive down British workers’ wages
FACT: The largest analysis to date has been by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Its findings were released this August and it found that people coming to Britain from Eastern Europe has only had an tiny impact on real wages, if at all.
SOLUTION: The government should be:
- enforcing minimum wage standards
- increasing the minimum wage to the level of a living wage.
MYTH: Immigration has meant higher unemployment for British workers
FACT: Although there will have been some impact on unemployment in certain industries because of people coming to Britain from eastern Europe, the evidence is that the vast majority of British born workers have not been affected.
SOLUTION: Evidence suggests that employers are more likely to give jobs to immigrants if they are more highly skilled than their British counterparts. The Government should, therefore, ensure that everyone in Britain has access to training and decent education.
MYTH: Paying for immigrants and their children is crippling Britain’s public services
FACT: An economic study by the University of London found that people coming to Britain from Eastern Europe, for example, were 60% less likely to receive benefits or live in social housing than people born in the UK.
- The study found that these immigrants contributed 37% more to the public finances than the cost of services they used – very valuable given the debt problems Britain is facing. In contrast, people born in the UK used services worth 20% more than the taxes paid.
SOLUTION: The government should ensure immigrants can work and pay tax so as to support the welfare state.
MYTH: The UK is a soft touch on asylum seekers/the country is flooded with asylum seekers
FACT: Asylum claims in the UK are 33% below the EU average, with the UK accounting for just 9% of asylum claims in Europe – the lowest proportion in over a decade.
SOLUTION: Britain should remain a place where people fleeing persecution can come to find safety.
Some other key FACTS on immigration …
- Freedom of movement within the EU contributes £60bn to the UK economy (Centre for Economics and Business Research).
- Migrant workers are more likely to be in work (63.3%) than UK-born citizens (56.2%). (Centre for Economics and Business Research).
- If net migration was zero growth would have been cut by 0.3%-0.5% a year since 2010 and debt would rise by £18bn in the next 5 years – that is equivalent to 5p on the basic rate of income tax (Office for Budget Responsibility).
- Just one in ten new migrants is given social housing (David Aaranovitch, The Times).
- Two in ten people think immigration is a problem in their neighbourhood.
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