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'We must reject intolerant rhetoric on immigration'

Julie Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West, says it is imperative that all views, facts and stats on immigration are available

You will have seen in the news this week the report by two leading migration economists from University College London highlighting the benefits that European migration can have on Britain.

The report published by CReAM, the independent and interdisciplinary Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, says that European migrants made a net contribution of £20 billion to UK public finances between 2000 and 2011. Those from the original 15 EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, contributed 64 per cent – £15bn more in taxes than they received in welfare – while east European migrants contributed 12 per cent, equivalent to £5bn more.

This will, I’m sure, upset my political opponents in Ukip who seem hell-bent on convincing everyone that the only way to solve the problems of the UK is to get rid of European immigrants. This report contrasts sharply to the rhetoric of Nigel and his cronies who are concerned the report is too pro-European. Whatever your view, the points it raises help to move the debate on immigration forward, as it must, away from the intolerant rhetoric of UKIP and the far right. If we are to have a sensible and open debate about the immigration issue, it is essential to have access to both sides of the argument.

There are, of course, problems; immigrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) made a negative fiscal contribution of £118 billion. This Conservative-led Government has changed the rules to more strictly control global immigration and cut this burden on the UK taxpayer. It is also worth noting that the rules now ensure that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately.


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