Migrants ‘in £25bn boost to economy’

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Immigrants to the UK in the last decade contributed £25bn – more in tax than they received in benefits – and were less likely to claim handouts or live in social housing than people already living in Britain, a report has found.

The study, by University College London, found that people who had moved to the UK since 2000 had made a “substantial” contribution to public finances, rather than being a drain on them, the BBC said.

Those who arrived since 1999 were 45 per cent less likely to receive benefits or tax credits between 2000 and 2011 than those born in the UK, and were three per cent less likely to live in social housing, according to Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini from UCL’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration.

“These differences are partly explainable by immigrants’ more favourable age-gender composition,” they said. “However, even when compared to natives with the same age, gender composition, and education, recent immigrants are still 21 per cent less likely than natives to receive benefits.”

People from the European Economic Area (EEA – the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) contributed 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits in the decade to 2011, while those from outside the EEA contributed two per cent more in taxes than they received in the same period, the report showed.