Migrant workers earn more than British


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Migrant workers earn more than British
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 12:21am BST 17/10/2007
Telegraph

Immigrant workers are both higher paid and more reliable than their British counterparts and contributed £6 billion to economic growth last year, a Government study said yesterday.

The Home Office report on migration
Migrants earned £424 a week on average, compared with £395 for UK workers, and paid more in tax than they consumed in services.

However, a separate paper issued together with the study by the Home Office admitted there were complaints about the impact of immigration on housing and other public services. Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said the research showed that ''in the long run, our country and Exchequer are better off with immigration rather than without it".

The report found that in 2006, record immigration pushed the number of foreign workers up to 12.5 per cent – or one eighth – of the labour force, compared to 7.4 per cent a decade ago.

Since average output growth over this period was 2.7 per cent a year and migration contributed an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of this, the study estimated a contribution of £6 billion from foreign workers – or £700,000 a day.

However, the figure does not take account of the costs of a growing population, for instance the impact on public services such as health, education and transport. But the overwhelmingly positive findings were last night challenged by academics.

Robert Rowthorn, an emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University, warned that as well as putting pressure on services, large-scale migration would "undermine the labour market position of the most vulnerable sections of the local workforce". The study, the first official attempt to establish the economic and fiscal impact of the record levels of immigration seen in recent years, states that ''in the long run, it is likely that the net fiscal contribution of an immigrant will be greater than that of a non-immigrant".

It also claims there is no evidence of foreign workers pushing British people out of jobs, although it presents no firm evidence for this.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: ''Labour are being disingenuous again.

"They are equating the effect of migration on aggregate GDP with its effect on GDP per head. They are also ignoring the fact that relying on immigration to boost the economy is a short-term answer.

"What will they do for the million economically inactive under-25s in the country?"
 

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