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Recent immigrants to UK pay in more than they take in benefits

By Costas Pitas

Recent immigrants to Britain pay more in taxes than they take out in benefits, a study on the impact of immigration said on Tuesday, and another study argued the influx of skilled immigrants was correlated to an increase in productivity.

Anti-immigration feeling in Britain has been fuelled recently by warnings in the right-leaning media about new arrivals of so-called benefit-scrounging immigrants claiming state handouts and free healthcare.

According to a wide-ranging study based on data from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, immigrants arriving from euro-area countries between 2001 and 2011 paid 34 per cent more in tax than they received in benefits, while those from other countries paid in about two per cent more than they took out.

All immigrants were 45 per cent less likely to claim from the state than ‘native’, British-born citizens, the report showed.

“If you look at those immigrants who came after 1999, both EA (Euro Area) and non-EA immigrants have made a positive fiscal contribution,” Christian Dustmann, co-author of the report from University College London, said.

“Over the same period, native-born individuals basically took more out of the welfare system than they put in, in terms of taxes.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has made immigration policy an important plank of his government in the face of the perceived threat that the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is siphoning off support ahead of a parliamentary election in 2015.

UKIP, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU and for a halt to “open door” immigration, made sweeping gains in local elections in May, winning almost one in four votes, mostly at the expense of Cameron’s Conservatives.

Census data shows nearly four million migrants settled in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011 against a total population of 56.1 million, the vast majority of Britain’s estimated current population of 63.7 million.

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