By Ella Vine
There’s two opposing views on EU migration and the cost of the UK’s membership with the EU. On one side there’s the proponents who argue the economic benefits outweigh the cost of membership, on the other there’s those who argue we pay out more than we bring in. The problem is that both sides are giving contradicting arguments backed by stats and figures, so which one’s right?
The EU attracts a wealth of heated debate in the UK, but beside subjective opinions there must be some realistic facts that any further discussions and speculations are based on. Populist rhetoric on how EU citizens are a burden on society and how much they rip off Britain’s welfare system do not help the discussion and is used by politicians to distort voters’ views and gain their support.
That is why I decided to dig deeper and find out what the true economic cost of EU migration is. This is with the view that 2 + 2 always equals 4 and it always will, regardless of whether it comes out of Conservative, Labour or UKIP’s mouth. I have therefore compiled available research and figures in a short and easy to understand article. The results are astonishing.
Non-British EU citizens bring £14 billion to the UK’s economy a year. This sets off completely the amount that the UK pays as a member-state to the European Union. Recent data shows the UK has paid £20 billion in total, but it received £8 billion rebate back. This, together with the contribution of EU citizens means last year brought the UK a net profit of £2 billion:
£8 billion of rebate + £14 billion of EU citizens’ contributions = £22 billion of return.
Calculations of EU citizens’ net annual contribution
Leading research shows that a non-British EU citizen on average brings in £6,000 a year, while a Briton on average takes out £11,000 a year.
Multiply £6,000 by the number of EU nationals living in the UK we receive the total figure for net contributions. Latest statistics show an estimate of 2.34 million EU citizens are living in the UK (the latest official figures from Nomis – the National Online Manpower Information System, a service provided by the Office for National Statistics – based on passport records). This figure: £6,000 multiplied by 2.34 million is just over £14 billion.
Non-British EU citizens bring an estimated £14 billion net contribution to the British economy. This is a huge amount taking into account the EU nationals form only about 3.5 per cent of the total British population.
Calculations of net profit from EU membership
Data for 2012 shows that the UK’s net contribution to the EU was £12 billion. The contribution of EU nationals living in the UK of £14 billion means that in total the UK benefits by about £2 billion a year.
The figures above are astounding and difficult to dismiss. Regardless of one’s political opinions or siding one needs to base their opinion on facts and accurate figures as a starting point of any debate. As we cannot build economy on imaginative measures, dreamed up presumptions, fear and populist rhetoric, we cannot pretend that we are working for economic recovery and a better society by deliberately using distorted information on migration. Next time, when another politician shouts that ‘we pour billions of pounds for the welfare of EU migrants’, at least we will be able to point out the real figure and question their competency and intentions for misleading the public.
For more information visit www.ellavine.co.uk.