‘Financially literate’ understand benefits of UK immigration

23 Mar 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

People who are “financially literate” are more likely to correctly consider UK immigration as a positive force for the economy, according to a new study.

Researchers from the British Election Study discovered that people who had a good understanding of the way the economy works were less likely to see immigrants as a problem and instead tend to believe that immigration “enriches Britain’s cultural life”.

However, those people who did not understand how inflation or interest rates worked were more likely to consider immigrants as a burden on the welfare state.

The British Election Study, which spoke to around 30,000 people, said that mainstream politicians should be discussing the positive impact of immigration as the General Election approaches. This should include challenging the widely-held beliefs that immigrants take British people’s jobs.

Robert Wright, an economics professor at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde and one of the authors of the report, told The Guardian: “What is really interesting about this immigration stuff is that the more you understand how labour markets work, and how taxes work and are spent, the more positive you are towards immigration. It’s as simple as that.”

The full findings of the report will be unveiled later this month at the Royal Economics Society’s annual conference.

It comes as new research from the Office for Budget Responsibility showed the rise in migration over the last year has been an important factor in boosting the UK’s economic growth forecast. The arrival of 298,000 migrants is predicted to add a further 0.6 per cent to the country’s output and will increase the tax collected by the Treasury.