Tories now saying that getting migrant workers in will cut billions from deficit

13 July 2012

Higher levels of immigration over the next 50 years would spare taxpayers from the need to endure much greater austerity, the Government's fiscal watchdog has said.

The ageing population will put growing financial pressure on future taxpayers and governments, and Britain will need to undergo an extra £17bn of spending cuts and tax rises to bring down the national debt to 40 per cent of gross domestic product by 2062, the Office for Budget Responsibility said.

This is on top of the £120bn fiscal consolidation the Chancellor, George Osborne, is pushing through as he seeks to close the budget deficit. But higher levels of immigration would help the economy to grow faster and ease the pressure to cut spending, according to the OBR.

Boosting immigration would prove controversial, however, because the Coalition has pledged to reduce the annual figure to the "tens of thousands" of people by the end of this parliament in 2015, down from the current official level of 260,000 a year.

The Treasury is already warning other departments that a "very tough" government spending review will be needed before the 2015 election – and the OBR's verdict provides Mr Osborne with ammunition. The OBR's analysis was based on the assumption that annual net migration over the following five decades will fall to 140,000.


It also showed that if annual immigration were to remain at present levels of 260,000 the economy would grow more quickly. The OBR said that higher immigration would raise the annual growth rate over the next five decades from 2.4 per cent to 2.7 per cent. Under these circumstances the size of the fiscal consolidation needed to bring down the public debt to 40 per cent of GDP would be three times smaller, at just £4.6bn.

Even the OBR's central projection, which sees net inward migration falling to 140,000 per year, would prove contentious if enacted because of the Coalition's pledge to dramatically reduce immigration.

The Government is struggling to meet its target of just "tens of thousands" of immigrants coming to the UK each year, and some ministers want to see foreign students taken out of the figures on the grounds that few of them remain in the UK permanently. The move would be controversial as it would be seen as an attempt to "move the goalposts" so the Government can hit its target.

The economic benefits of migration highlighted by the OBR could make it harder for the Conservatives to justify their tough approach on the issue. Private polling for the Tories suggests that the three issues of most concern to voters are the economy, immigration and welfare. Tory strategists plan to exploit immigration in the run-up to the next election as the two Coalition parties diverge.

George Osborne's watchdog, the OBR, have come up with some interesting analysis which decided that, if we cut net inward migration, the scale of the public austerity facing Britain would be three times larger.

The OBR said: "Higher net migration than in our central projection – closer to the levels we have seen in recent years, for example – would put downward pressure on borrowing and PSND [public sector net debt], as net immigrants are more likely to be of working age than the population in general."

So, we need to get more migrant workers in to help us out with the national debt? That'll be popular with the Conservative Party won't it?

This analysis comes with the fact that our ageing population will be putting huge pressure on state finances through increasing health spending, higher state pension costs and rising social care bills.

So there you have it. The Tories might be singing from a different hymn sheet, provided George Osborne is willing to listen to his own watchdog.

TOPICS:   Government


  • Mr M.
    Doesn't this rely on all migrants coming into a job straight off the boat!
  • Chewbacca
    Welcome to the muslim republic of Great Britain circa 2040 AD
  • TimB
    Until said migrants reach pension age, which is going to be the same time the average working adult will be reaching pension age. As soon as that happens, we're all fucked.
  • Sicknote
    Migration is good for this country. I look forward every day to our staff kitchen looking like some down-town Bangalore eatery and the men's room toilet seats having shoe scuff marks on because some immigrants don't realise you need to sit down and not clamber on the porcelain. I especially look forward to seeing friends laid off and then a week later being replaced with someone that speaks about 8 words of English.
  • zax
    Immigration should be cut to tens of thousands. Why do we need so many people to be let in ? But, immigrants are necessary for economy. Crap pay but higher return. Us Brits wont ever work beyiond a certain amount! No wodner we r fucked.
  • The B.
    Are you feeling alright Mof? That was an actual article, not some unfunny piece of fluff that everyone had seen 6 months ago but an actual article, with proper writing and opinions and stuff. Saying that, what a load of bollocks. You have a huge amount of money that needs to be paid out to pensioners, doleys, etc and a declining birth rate meaning less money to pay out to them with. So your solution is to bring in a load of immigrants to pay more tax and cover the costs? What happens when the immigrants want their pension and their kids want their dole? The whole system was doomed to failure from the start due to the way it works, the only way you can solve the situation is to sort out the joke benefits given to the civil service who are milking the system for all it's worth.
  • BaceFook
    Nothing like this to bring out the xenophobes. Bloody luddites.
  • Riff R.
    Well, serves the Gov right for borrowing money against the future and hoping later generations will repay it. Shame they didn't factor in the UKs population decline... Well, when the current bunch of dolts (aka MPs) running this country are struggling pensioners wondering why there's no money left to support their retirement and oh the young seem a lot more obstreperous these days moaning about debt and no money, perhaps they'll have regrets on the stupid decisions they made.
  • Johnny2shoes
    Well done adults/Children of today do not want to work British are becoming lazy give ther job to migrant workers Walk into a Pret, its a fact that british peopel do not apply for it, why not? please explain
  • Mr Y.
    Yes us immigrants will sort it out after all we are all in high skill well paid jobs no cash in hand nonsense and all the money we have will be spent in the UK and not disapear via western union to the family back home to help them plus buy a bit of land to build a house to use on our retirement from the UK no no no...
  • The B.
    "when the current bunch of dolts (aka MPs) running this country are struggling pensioners" Yes, because that is exactly what is going to happen with their huge civil service pensions
  • Joulupukki
    I seem to remember Labour saying that illegals escaping from the Iraq war included doctors and scientists. No, honestly. Well the nice Iraqi chap at our local hand car wash knows a lot about drugs alright.
  • captain c.
    Cutting legal immigration also cuts the HUGE fees they charge for visas. In France the paperwork required to marry abroad and bring your wife back home is £0.00; so far I have paid out about£4,000, with another £2,000, plus fees and the costs of passing the new "Life in UK" and "B1 English" exams. As one of the newspapers pointed out, meeting these requirements mean that anyone who DOES manage to pass them will know more about the UK, and speak better English, than most school leavers of the last 20-30 years.
  • Yue
    So they're saying that Labour were right on the economy when it came to immigrants?
  • oliverreed
    It's okay, we've got our reserves in gold which have shot up in value whilst not investing everything into Euros. Oh wait..... Wasn't there a study that each migrant benefits the country by pence? Anyhow there won't be any crops this year for them to pick where I live because of the shit weather.

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