UK Immigration: Rise of Migration Reduces the Strain on UK Economy

This week, it has been reported that the rise of migration in the UK could reduce the strain that the ageing population has on the UK economy. In 2013 the Office for Budget Responsibility stated that the ‘UK needs millions of migrants‘ over the next 50 years in order to reduce the “unsustainable” pressure that the ageing population is putting on the UK economy.

Rise of Migrant Workers help the UK

The rise of migrant workers in the UK has helped the UK economy grow in a way that sets it apart from other European countries. For instance, Moroccan-born comedian Gad Elmaleh and Belgian singer Stromae are not household names in the UK and yet they are able to sell out top venues in London. This shows the diversity of cultures in London and the UK as a whole. Clementine Bunel, a French national who is a concert promoter residing in London stated, “for some artists, London is like playing the big cities in France.”

The borders between the UK and the rest of the world seem to be blurring and yet the UK Prime Minister David Cameron seems determined to reduce migration from Europe. According to the EU’s statistics office Eurostat, in 2080 the UK population is set to hit 85 million therefore overtaking Germany as the biggest economy. Furthermore, the ratio of people aged 65 or over to those aged 15-64 will increase steadily in the UK and as a result will help to cope with the cost of caring for the elderly.

With the General Elections approaching Mr Cameron announced last week that he wanted to restrict welfare payments and tax breaks for new arrivals from the EU. The Labour party seem to have a similar stance. If the UK Government achieved their net migration target of below 100,000 a year there is a risk that the UK economy would suffer and be 11% smaller by 2060.

UK Political Parties Risk ‘Shooting’ themselves in the foot

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, if net migration does fall below 100,000:

  • Healthcare spending is expected to increase from 7% of GDP to 8.8% of GDP;
  • Long-term social care costs are set to rise from 1.3% of GDP to 2.4% of GDP.

Nielsen, UniCredit’s chief economist stated his concerns of UK political parties plans to reduce migration:

“They do risk shooting themselves in the foot. All the studies show that the effect [of immigration] on growth and on the fiscal side has been significantly positive. I don’t see why this will change.”

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