Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has labelled a report that showed that UK immigrants had added billions to the British economy as “silly”.
He criticised the University College London report, which found that migrants from the EU made a £20 billion net contribution to the UK economy between 2000 and 2011. The Minister said the report only looked at the economic rather than the social aspects of UK immigration, The Guardian reported.
He said: “I thought there was a silly report, recently, in the last couple of weeks, that said: ‘Oh look in tax terms they have contributed more’. First of all you have to take them all the way through to when they get older and they actually start taking from the state.
“You don’t account for the fact that often in many communities they literally change the schooling because so many people arrive not speaking English. You have then got problems you know with local services, transport all that kind of stuff.”
Mr Duncan Smith said it was essential that Europe looked again at the principle of free movement of people and claimed that Germany has privately admitted the subject has to be addressed.
The Minister spoke out as former Tory Prime Minister John Major also added his voice to the debate. He said that it may be possible to pause migration for a while without stopping free movement between EU states all together.
Mr Major, in a speech in Germany last week, said that there is a 50-50 chance of Britain leaving the EU over the migration issue.