Report highlights potential cost of halting UK immigration

02 Apr 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A recent report has highlighted that, contrary to certain press reports and opinions expressed by politicians, halting UK immigration would prove to be extremely costly for the British taxpayer in the longhaul.

Conducted using figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the analysis was carried out by the Migration Matters Trust and found that if net migration were stopped tomorrow the country's public sector debt levels would rocket.

In fact, debt would increase from its current level of 74 per cent of GDP to around 187 per cent within the next 50 years, putting British national debt above that of Greece, which stands at 161 per cent.

This percentage increase is equivalent to a rise of £18 billion over the course of the next five years.

Atul Hatwal, director of the Migration Matters Trust, a pro-migration organisation, commented: “The British economy cannot sustain itself without migrant labour. By all means let's discuss the issue of immigration openly. But once you set aside the rhetoric and the hyperbole, you're left with a simple truth – Britain cannot afford to shut its doors to migrant workers.”

The report comes amid efforts on the part of the government to restrict migrants' access to benefits and welfare help. The proposed measures would include restricting access to the NHS and council housing for individuals coming to Britain from outside of the European Economic Area. Migration Matters has argued that migrants contribute more to the economy than they take out in benefits, making such action unreasonable and unrealistic.

In addition to the prime minister's statement on the issue, Labour MP Frank Field and Conservative Nicholas Soames penned an article in the Daily Telegraph last month suggesting the immigration to the UK from other EU countries should be halted during periods of unemployment.