Question #3 – Can local services with this potential increase in immigration?
A report by the Local Government Agency argued: “Migration has had many beneficial impacts, particularly in the economic sphere… But it is increasing the population of the UK and, with it, the demands upon local services.” New research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that it’s not. In general across OECD countries, the amount that immigrants pay to the state in the form of taxes is more or less balanced by what they get back in benefits or use in services. Even where immigrants do have an impact on the public purse – a “fiscal impact” – it amounts to more than 0.5% of GDP in only ten OECD countries, and in those it’s more likely to be positive than negative. In sum, says the report, when it comes to their fiscal impact, “immigrants are pretty much like the rest of the population”. Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, labelled the Conservative immigration cap as a “20th century answer” to strains on public services and community relations. In a speech to council chiefs, he argued that the economic benefits generated by migrants – estimated at £40bn by the LGA – must find its way back to the local level.