It is difficult to pin the pro immigration champions down on the definitive benefit of their stance. Like all good politicians they blur the justifications, move from definitive figures to generalisations, then to concepts and morality and back again.
Yet time and again the final defensive position of those who are pro mass-immigration has been the economics. It is a useful position, a good place to launch questions like “Do you want this country to become poorer?” and “Would you be prepared to see living standards fall?”
This is a fantastic argument as it is highly unlikely any politician would answer in the affirmative. One politician has though: Mr Farage was asked the former question by Nick Robinson, to which Mr Farage answered “So be it”.
Honesty in the public arena is hard to come by, and each instance should be noted. This answer was more than any of the Westminster parties have been prepared to give. Yet the question remains a difficult one; the public like to think that politicians know what they are doing, and what they are going to do is make our country a better place.
So what are the facts? Are we richer? More difficult still, what are the actual monetary facts? All of the numbers are tinged with bias, none comprehensive and all therefore all open to rebuttal. In short – no one knows.
We can generalise and make assumptions though. For this we will take an immigrant, seeking unskilled work on the minimum wage, who has come here with their family of their partner and 3 children. Let’s break down the costs. Minimum wage is £6.31, by a 48 hour week is £302.88, per month is £1,211.52, and by year is £14,538.24. Good for them. So with a tax allowance of £10,000, and only £5,000 eligible for tax, you are left with a contribution of about £800 NI and £1,000 income tax. A grand total of £1,800.00 to the coffers of government. I would also add a reasonable £200 for VAT on items. I hasten to repeat that I am no accountant, tax expert or the like. All very rough and ready these calculations. Let’s add some council tax – £1,400.00 if they do not qualify for exemptions. Therefore you have a grand total of £1,800 + £1,400 + £200 = £3,400 in actual contribution.
All good so far. This is excellent news, contribution indeed. But is there anyone out there who thinks this covers the costs? Health care, defence, police, roads, education, translation services, social and welfare services and other costs of integration.
What if the family then find themselves without paid employment? Then you quickly find that this small surplus turns into a large deficit. What if the jobs found are not tax paying (cash in hand)? Then there will be no tax income at all and only costs (we will assume that the individual has been advised not to declare the income to the local council either – therefore no council tax).
Then there are the other, wider effects of mass immigration. The jobs taken are starter jobs – jobs our young or unemployed should be doing to establish a work record (current working time restrictions on the young seem to hurt more than help – but that is another issue).
The influx has placed a massive pressure on the housing market, squeezing young UK families out, this in turn has demanded more home-building on our pressured island, less farmland, more traffic. Are these massive tax revenues of £3,000 per year paying for all this too? I think we know the answer to that.
In short, it looks like it is not economically good news. What is it does do though is depress wages, the wages we, as the ordinary working person, receive. Don’t be fooled by the argument that immigration has kept costs down either – it has not. The main costs have all risen in line with inflation or, usually, well above – dictated by the massive corporations that control them. No number of minimum wage immigrants will affect those prices.
So it is that Mr Farage, who spoke to Sky News on this very topic recently, suggested that £27,500 would be an appropriate figure to aim for. Anyone earning this would be a net contributor to the tax coffers of the country. The effect of this is that it stems the influx of cheap unskilled labour; this encourages business to seek local labour, pay those people properly and this in turn lifts people from poverty – but only if our tax system is reformed – yet another issue UKIP campaigns on. The by product of this is the overall numbers come down and allow our country to absorb, assimilate and integrate those who have made this country their home. Everyone is a winner.
So we have a political class happy to see wages for the most disadvantaged depressed by immigration (while their banking/investment friends earn millions), a massive housing cost rise and huge developments taking place swallowing up swathes of the English countryside. Taxes go up (despite this great influx) and our household costs go up.
So where is benefit? In short there isn’t one. The country will not be poorer for stemming the tide. No one will lose out, and there is every possibility that many of us will gain.
We need a better deal. We need to address the underlying economics of the country – first of which is to enable families on minimum wage to be able to at least rent a home, feed themselves and heat their home, the same for pensioners. Correct investment in energy, some building of new homes and give us time to assimilate those immigrants we have, focus on building an economy which does not rely on low wage labour. This is what I believe UKIP can achieve.