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EU Migrants A Boon To Britain, Study Shows

Wed, 5th Nov 2014 11:16

London (Alliance News) - Europeans making new lives in Britain pay more in taxes than they take out in benefits, a study released Wednesday showed.

But their value to the economy is largely offset by those arriving from outside Europe whose contribution is smaller, researchers at University College London (UCL) said.

Those arriving from the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 paid in 5 billion pounds (8 billion US dollars) more than their cost to the welfare state, the group found.

The arithmetic includes the immigrants' extra burden on hospitals and schools as well as to the fixed costs of defence and the armed forces.

"On average, immigrants who came to this country since 2000 have been a benefit to the welfare system and not a cost to the welfare system," UCL economics professor Christian Dustmann told the BBC.

He said the latest annual report from UCL's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration showed immigration was not an overall drag on the welfare system.

"This is true for immigrants from European countries as well as those not from European countries," Dustmann said.

The findings were challenged by pro-restriction lobby group Immigration Watch, which noted that the report itself said immigration in total, not just that from Europe, made a "negligible" contribution to the economy.

"It's now common ground that immigration has cost a great deal of money," Migration Watch chief Sir Andrew Green told the broadcaster.

"There are strategic reasons for widening the community, but much of this talk about the benefit of east Europeans is fine for the employer but, for society as a whole, it is very questionable."

Copyright dpa

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