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Watch Out! The Bulgarians are coming! Why Immigration is good for the UK.

 

In light of UKIPs fairly recent success in the European elections, the majority of British MEP's are now from UKIP, with a total of 23 MEPs out of the UK’s 73. According to YouGov, two in three UKIP supporters believe Bulgarian and Romanian immigration will damage the British economy, with a further 54% of the British population believing that immigration as a whole damages the economy. Those whom I have questioned as to why UKIP was their party of choice, all voted for the same reason: Immigration and jobs. Important topics, however immigration is far from a burden to the state. Indeed, immigration does not damage our economy, it strengthens it. Quite simply, it turns out that migrant workers do not deny British nationals their entitlement to employment, they encourage it.

 

Supply and demand plays an important role in the world of business. Application of this simple economic concept can be used to explain one of the main benefits of immigration. It is quite obvious that people must spend capital on essential items such as food or clothing, or even luxury items such as televisions. This spending results in an increase in consumer demand for these items in their respective markets. To keep up with this demand, higher levels of production are required, and henceforth more opportunity for employment. Statistics show only 13% of these new jobs go to migrants, with a staggering 87% going to British nationals. Essentially, 9/10 new jobs go to British nationals rather than migrants. A far cry from the view that migrants steal British jobs from British workers, jobs that I remind you dear reader - would not be available if not for immigration.

 

Another major concern many UKIP voters may have, is Benefit tourism. That is, migration to the UK to claim social security. This is a fallacy. If this were the case then surely even those with a minor level of intellect would migrate to a country where there are far more generous amounts of capital spent per person on social security. Luxembourg for example, spends $17'000 per person on average for social security, dwarfing the UK's $7'000 per person – one of the lower social security expenditures in Europe. There is a significant shortfall in one's logic if you decide to arrive in the UK with the intention of claiming social security, when Luxembourg is not only closer to Eastern Europe, but also has a significantly higher level of social security spending. It does not make sense to pay more; travel further; and receive less for your efforts. It is not easy for foreign nationals to claim benefits either, with migrants being unable to claim benefits for the first three months of their residency – and requiring proof they will not be a burden to the state. It has also recently been announced that rather than being able to claim job seeker's allowance for six months, migrants will now only be allowed to claim for three months – after which they are deemed to be a burden on the state and no longer able to claim.

 

The UK also has an ageing population, with over 10 million people in the UK over the age of sixty five. Quite worryingly, this number is set to increase to 19 million by 2050, a further 9 million in 36 years. These ten million people require free healthcare and prescriptions (with older people on average requiring more medication and care than the young); winter fuel allowance; pensions; and other financial aid which is covered via taxation of the employed. With more people retired and less people in work, there is a problem with less workers available to tax. Immigration helps through increasing the number of people who are available to work, easing the strain of an ageing population.

 

Data shows that migrant workers have paid £25bn in taxes to the British economy. This is £25bn that helps pay to support the retired in the British population, with studentsfrom foreign countries contributing a further £8.8bn. With the number of retired set to increase, immigration plays an important role as a solution to this problem. Without immigration, £25bn less tax would be contributed to the UK which is £25bn less expenditure on the welfare state.

 

There are also claims that migrants come to use the national health service for free operations, courtesy of William Beveridge. There is little truth in this belief. Most migrants have perfectly fine standards of health. Currently, around £130bn is spent each year on the NHS, and only 0.1% of this huge amount of spending accounts for migrants use of the NHS, which is tiny compared to the huge sums spent on the NHS each year. Dissuading migrants to not use accident and emergency may sound like it will save money, however not seeking the help required will increase the costs significantly when a life is in danger. The costs of a hospital bed with specialist doctors and specialist medicine outweighs the costs of a nurse in A&EIt would be inhumane to deny migrant workers A&E for simple procedures.

 

 

If you are still unconvinced that immigration is not a burden to the UK, perhaps future projections shall convince you otherwise. These projections show that significant reductions in immigration will not fill in employment gaps in niche markets, and by 2060 gross domestic product would lower by 11%. This would lead to an increase of income tax by at least 2.2%. So after all, immigration does not seem so bad for the UK and we would be significantly worse off without it. Immigration leads to a bigger and stronger economy with more jobs, and is far from a burden on the state.

 

 

 

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