50,000 immigrants 'pay £1 net tax'

Updated: 
Brits save fifth more than in 2004 Around 150,000 Eastern European immigrants pay just £1 a week net tax despite being in employment, migration campaigners have claimed.

Research from think-tank Migration Watch has compared direct taxes and National Insurance contributions paid by migrants with social benefits, such as tax credits and housing benefit, received.


Immigrants who work at minimum wage make "virtually no net contribution", Migration Watch said, and, if in a couple, they can receive more in tax credits and other benefits than they pay in tax.

Migration Watch chairman Sir Andrew Green said the research intended to combat the argument that immigrants "work hard and pay their taxes".

He said: "This analysis shows quite simply that the taxpayer is subsidising their wages; no wonder then that employers are in favour of them and that so many people find the UK such an attractive destination.

"We constantly hear that immigrants work hard and pay their taxes. There is no doubt that many of these people do work hard but it is a fact that those on the minimum wage pay virtually no direct taxes and, if in a couple, they can receive significant sums in tax credits and other benefits.

"Recent claims that EU migrants make a "very sizeable" contribution to the Exchequer have simply not taken into account that the low incomes of so many mean that they receive much more in means-tested benefits than they pay in tax."

Migration Watch said official figures show around 150,000 employees from Eastern Europe pay around £1 a week in net tax, while some on shorter hours pay nothing but still receive benefits.

Employed migrants with a partner receive a net benefit of £88 a week, while those with two children receive a net benefit of £295 a week.

A couple where both partners work on minimum wage would pay in a total £28 net, however, if they have two children they could receive a net benefit of £380 a week.

The group added that the calculations do not include indirect taxes such as VAT nor do they include health, education and social services.

Earlier this month, statisticians admitted a ''substantial'' number of Eastern European migrants arriving in Britain in the last decade were not counted.

Net migration in the UK between 2001 and 2011 was 346,000 higher than previously thought as a result of ''inadequate sampling'' of arrivals into the country, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Against a backdrop of growing concerns of an influx of Romanians and Bulgarians to the UK, and a surge in popularity for the UK Independence Party (Ukip), the Prime Minister last year unveiled a series of tough measures designed to clamp down on abuse of free movement between EU member states.

A Government spokesman said: "The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, which is why, as part of the Government's long-term economic plan, we have taken action to ensure we have a fair system that does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage."

"Other countries across Europe share our concerns, so we'll continue to work closely with them."

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