6 Facts you need to know to have an honest debate on Immigration

 

After the economy, immigration is probably the biggest issue in British politics. According to polls on issues it is the only one besides the economy that regularly gets double digits in terms of people’s priorities. However, despite this it is a topic that gets scandalously little attention, and when it does the level of debate is often rather lacking, if very passionate. To that end here are 6 Facts that everyone who wants to have an honest debate on immigration need to know.

UK-Border-Heathrow

1)      Britain isn’t overcrowded or even near full

Only 1.5% of Britain counts as developed. There is 8.5 times much as woodland in Britain as there is development. England with its many busy cities has 2.27% of land classed as built on, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have less than 1% of their land developed. Over 78% of Urban Land isn’t developed or built on meaning the number of buildings in the UK could over double without any Urban sprawl or change to non-Urban areas. Simply put, Britain is nowhere near full, in fact we have acres and acres of space. This isn’t unique to the UK, the entire world population could fit into the State of Texas. England’s green and pleasant lands are not at threat from immigration, not even close.

 

2)      Immigration is not the main driver of population growth

For those that are worried by population growth, it is births, not immigration that should be of main concern. In 2011-12 there were 254,400 more births than deaths while net immigration was 165,600. According to Migration Watch 75% of those births were to UK born mothers meaning that around 190,000 births were from ‘British’ mothers, still significantly higher than the net immigration level. Even if net migration was zero, Britain’s population would still be growing, indeed it would be growing faster than if net migration stayed as it is and births minus deaths equalled zero. With the amount of space we have it is questionable if we have a population crisis at all, but if we do it is birth based, not immigrant based.

 

3)      Immigrants affect House Prices, but not how you think.

Housing makes up the bulk of any ‘cost of living crisis’ far more so than energy prices or any other areas politicians seem to focus on. Immigration naturally affects house prices, but instead of pushing them up to unaffordable levels as many seem to fear research from the Universities of Newcastle and Cambridge shows that immigrants actually push house prices down and make them more affordable.

 

4)      Immigrants don’t take our jobs.

One of the biggest gripes with immigrants is that they take jobs and put Britons out of work. However good this line of argument sounds, unfortunately the facts don’t back it up. Ryan Bourne of the CPS took a look at the figures and found that ‘the evidence suggests little overall effect on unemployment or pay’. Much of the mistaken belief that immigrants take or steal jobs come from the ‘Lump of Labour fallacy’: the mistaken belief that there is a fixed number of jobs that we are all competing for. Furthermore, immigrants often come over and take highly skilled jobs in areas where there is a shortage of domestic expertise; The Telegraph reports that up to 20% of British skilled jobs now being taken by immigrants. Whatever criticisms you may have of immigrants, evidence points to them having little to no overall impact on domestic unemployment or domestic pay. They don’t force down wages and they don’t take jobs.

 

5)      Immigration is the same as Free Trade

Bizarrely there are many who argue against immigration but are first in line to argue for the benefits of free trade, without seeming to realise that they are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing. What is the difference between 100 Frenchmen coming to Britain, building cars in a factory then selling them to Brits, and 100 Frenchmen building cars in a factory in France and selling them to Brits? The same number of cars are made and sold, the same number of jobs are taken by non-British workers – it is simply the location of the building that is different. If you believe that immigrants take British jobs then you have to believe that free trade agreements take just as many jobs.

 

6)      Immigrants are net tax benefits

Aside from taking British jobs, another core (misplaced) criticism of immigrants is that they cost Britain too much, or that they take our benefits. Yet again however, empirical evidence shows that this commonly held belief is incorrect. Immigrants are net tax benefits, and on average they pay more in tax than the average Brit and take less in benefits and services. In fact if you wanted to lower Britain’s debt and deficit one of the best ways you could help would be to let in more immigrants. They more than pay for themselves, with Eastern EU migrants especially being one of the biggest groups of net tax benefits to the UK.

 

The debate on immigration in Britain is one that needs to be had, and hopefully when the much demanded ‘honest debate’ on immigration is had, the actual facts, rather than the (often untrue) fears presented as fact can be heard. It is time we debated immigration based on fact, not on fiction.

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. I could say all this “Immigration good, negative reports of immigration bad….and inconvenient” is utter garbage, and it’s only scratching the surface. There are thousands of middle class parasites living the high life on utter b***shit and invented twaddle. But note how often the Somali extended families are moved next door to THEM…..

    • I feel that immigration is a good thing when done right for example Australias approach where you have to have a skill and enough money in the bank to survive if all else fails and that skill hasto be a skill that the country needs, the problem with the UK is that the government here let’s in any body and they take all the unskilled work which I am apart of, where the foreign employeeswI’ll often be less hard working and always play the race card when challenged. They often mass share cheep houses so there outgoings are lower and move there money back home, they have lawyers who assist in finding benefits for them and employers are often asked to choose them over UK residents my partner applied for 500 jobs after the maternity from our child and got under 20 replies with 260 applying for one shelf stacking job where I was employed, so don’t bull shit us this country cannot support more cause it can’t support its self now.

  2. For all the nonsense in this article you only have to go outside to see what immigration has done. 600,000 immigrants do not work (and that is only EU immigrants) and 500,000 immigrants are in social housing

    Please sign and share, blog, tweet, facebook the Daily
    Express petition to stop EU immigration. Over 82,000 have signed in 8 days.

    Sign here- https://petitions.express.co.uk/Say-NO-to-new-EU-migrants

  3. This needs looking at, both for what has been said and what has been avoided.
    First of all that 75% of births were to UK born mothers.
    Unless you also say how many of those mothers had mothers who were born in the UK then you are potentially hiding the fact of changes in culture and ethnicity in the UK. Whether or not you are comfortable with this, many people are not.
    In your article are also avoiding the very important distinction between legal and illegal immigration.
    With one very important exception, which I will come on to later, I am in favour of legal immigration where immigrants comply with the process in place.
    Legal immigrants are likely to be law-abiding people and, like all law-abiding people, they are likely to be net contributors.
    Illegal immigrants are criminals and should be treated as such. They should not be treated the same as legal immigrants, there should be no amnesty and they should be deported.
    You’ve also avoided the issue of race.
    Although readers here are unlikely to be racist it is an issue that must be addressed because others outside this readership distort the issue. The recent controversy about the vans ‘in the UK illegally’ which were denounced as ‘racist’ even though there was no mention of race demonstrates that it is a subject that must be faced.
    Your idea of immigration as free trade is naive in the world we live in. It will be sustainable when movement is roughly equal between, for example, the UK and Pakistan. Until then it’s a major problem.
    But the most important issue that you have failed to address is one of culture.
    And here I don’t want to offer any hints or suggestions about what I believe the problem to be, so I’ll say it clearly; I am very firmly opposed to the spread of Islam and I would stop all muslim immigration today.
    UK society is changing, I say deteriorating, because of muslims who have no desire to integrate and who benefit from favourable treatment by the authorities.
    If tyou think that is not true then please explain the behaviour of Islamic street gangs in Tower Hamlets, explain how Islamic sex grooming gangs were able to operate for so long, and explain how demonstrators holding placards saying ‘Behead those who insult Islam’ can avoid arrest.
    You have failed to point out that not all immigration is equal.
    Let’s stop any self-righteous, feel-good nonsense and face these facts.
    Immigration of skilled, hard working people who follow the legal process is good.
    Illegal immigration, immigration of economic migrants prissily called ‘asylum seekers’ and immigration of muslims who bring their dark ages desert death cult are all bad.

    • I am not here to discuss immigration in the UK (I don’t live there), but I would like to comment on your problem with islam. You see none of the things you have mentioned are actually permitted by islam. Please stop blaming their behavior on their religion, when the people who does this (a few out of the many muslims who lives in the UK) probably are bad people for other reasons. Islam is in fact a very beautiful and loving religion witch (mostly) offers equality between men and women – much more than christianity does. I am not a muslim myself, but I have the deepest respect the religion and those who manage to follow it properly.

  4. http://tyneandwear.sky.com/news/article/88127/newcastle-council-ordered-to-pay-for-asylum-seekers-flying-lessons

    Went to College with this person. Tell me how it is fair to have flying lessons paid for out of taxpayers’ money free of charge with no obligation to return the money when hundreds of thousands of British (and international) students nationwide are having to rack up tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt to obtain an equal level of education.. I am all for giving the boys an education and a roof over their heads to allow them to make a living.. However paying for flying lessons is an incredibly over indulgent lifestyle for them to be having on the taxpayers’ behalf.

  5. The issue with the Frenchmen building cars in Britain is surely that they take all the profits back to France but while building the cars they use our health and education services and use our roads to transport their raw materials and goods. Yes corporation tax should cover that, but we now know how Google, Amazon and Starbucks handle their taxes, the French would be fools not to do that. Until there is at least EU wide cooperation on taxes, your point 5 is simply an argument against free trade. And of course, once there is EU wide cooperation it becomes a global problem which should form part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which Britain would do well to actively take part in rather than this absurd “in/out referendum” sideshow.

  6. The debate on immigration does need to be had I agree, however I think it needs to be discussed rather than British people who don’t like the idea for whatever reason being tagged a racist. Most of the problems arising from the debate on immigration is that you can’t say anything about it without someone saying this, thereby creating barriers. I have read ur 6 points and I don’t agree with them all, they need much more dissection and cannot be taken in isolation as fact or beneficial to the country. I am not against immigration per say, I am the product of it, however I am against being bullied into agreeing with it on all levels and not being allowed to question. The immigration that seems to be the issue is in poorer areas, not with skilled migrants as you say. Once again i reiterate I am not against it and if there are plenty of very good reasons for doing it but I won’t stop questioning it either, surely that is my right as a tax payer.

    • Paying tax isn’t a way of buying rights. This would imply that people who live on benefits, the elderly and disabled, have no rights. You have the right to question immigration, everyone has the right to question everything. The final point in the article states that immigrants pay more tax than Brits so according to “my right as a tax payer” it’s the immigrants who should be setting immigration policy. This is what i would call a Daily Mail-ism and as usual, it doesn’t stack up.

  7. I am not disagreeing with the whole article, I just want to put across an alternative way of looking at the living space argument at the start of the article; I think that the article looks at the problem in two dimensions rather than three.. What I mean is, yes the land could be better used.. however you are looking at it as only a problem of every square metre is not being used to its full potential, you fail to take into consideration that when population increases this increases pressure on the infrastructure.

    Our roads and motorways are already over congested due to the increased demands on all public services and essential amenities (supermarkets, NHS, waste disposal, etc). I think it is important to realise that building more housing is not the solution to the problem

    Just an opinion it would be interesting to hear discussed. 🙂

    • But surely that is an argument for investment in infrastructure not one against immigration. As if you do the former to benefit the latter the economy would take off like a rocket.

      • Oh yes, sorry – I was not trying to use that as an excuse for blocking immigration, I was simply stating that the government only has so much money to improve public services. The money needs to come from somewhere and it is not as if an increase in immigration is also massively increasing tax revenue to improve the infrastructure.

  8. “Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.” ― Douglas Adams

    • Hey, that’s clever. It’s almost like a joke, except it wasn’t funny.

      I await your next comment, in which you will make at take at least some effort to *actually* counter the claims of this article.

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