Saturday, 25 July 2009

Once again, positive immigration story totally ignored

In yesterday's Independent and Financial Times, there were a reports about Eastern European migrants taking jobs and benefits in Britain since EU expansion in 2004. The stories were based on some academic research from University College London, namely Professor Christian Dustmann.

And what did the research conclude?

Immigrants from the eight Central and Eastern European countries that joined the European Union in May 2004 are less likely to be claiming welfare benefits and less likely to be living in social housing than people born in the UK, according to a new paper from UCL. What is more, they have made a positive contribution to the UK fiscal system, paying more in taxes than they receive in direct and indirect public transfers (such as benefits, NHS healthcare and education).

Here are some of the key facts from their press release:

  • A8 immigrants who arrived after EU enlargement in 2004, and who have at least one year of residence – and are therefore legally eligible to claim benefits – are about 60% less likely than natives to receive state benefits or tax credits, and to live in social housing.
  • Comparing the net fiscal contribution of A8 immigrants with that of individuals born in the UK, in each fiscal year since enlargement in 2004, A8 immigrants made a positive contribution to public finance.
  • In the latest fiscal year, 2008/09, A8 immigrants paid 37% more in direct or indirect taxes than was spent on public goods and services which they received. This is even more remarkablebecause the UK has been running a budget deficit over the last few years.
  • In 2008/09, A8 immigrants represented 0.91% of the total UK population, but contributed 0.96% of total tax receipts and accounted for only 0.6% of total expenditures.

Prof. Dustmann is quoted saying:

“A8 immigrants are on average more educated than natives and figures show that they experience rapid wage growth during their stay in the UK. We should therefore expect their tax payments to increase considerably over the next few years.”

A quick search of each newspaper's website, and Google News, indicates that the Mail, Express, Sun, Star, Telegraph, Times and Guardian have all ignored these findings. You would think the usual suspects would like a bit of academic research on immigration, rather than relying on half-assed, biased Migrationwatch bullshit.

But when the answer doesn't suit their agenda, they clearly don't have any interest in reporting the facts.

In Janaury 2007, Express editor Peter Hill gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Amongst many extraordinary and unbelievable claims ('I constantly reinforce this message, that we must be truthful in what we say'; 'It is very wrong of people to suggest that we cannot be truthful in our headlines. We must be able to be truthful in our headlines') he said the following:

'I think all my journalists are well aware that I do like the newspaper to be fair, and certainly to be truthful; but we have to report what we see. Quite frankly, there is not an awful lot of positive news on this particular subject. I am afraid most of the news is of a very negative nature'.

So here's a positive immigration story. And he doesn't bother running it.

At the same hearing, Mail Managing Editor Robin Esser said:

The idea that they are running around looking for inflammatory things to say about asylum seekers is wrong.

Really? So why has the Mail ignored this UCL research to report on the 'Bloody Siege of Calais', One of Queen's guards is an illegal immigrant, and Three Ethiopian exchange students 'vanish' during trip to Houses of Parliament?

(The Queen's guard story is interesting for the language used. An unnamed military officer uses the phrase 'the potential damage an enemy could do there' as if an illegal immigrant is not only automatically 'an enemy' but also a definite security threat. This was in the same manner as the the Sun's Loo Goes There story about a stowaway on a bus that went to Sandhurst. That story said: 'Afghan illegal who got into Sandhurst could have been a Taliban suicide bomber bent on causing carnage'. Because - of course - all Afghan's are Taliban, and all illegal immigrants are dangerous potential suicide bombers. The Mail version of the Afghan Illegal Immigrant at Sandhurst story, incidentally, included a crucial line towards the end: 'They were unable to confirm the man's nationality.')

Anyway, the same that Hill and Esser were lying through their teeth, The Guardian's Alan Travis told the Committee:

Recent Mori research in this area showed that Daily Express readers think that 21% of the British population are immigrants. The Daily Mail readers say it is about 19%. Guardian readers say it is about 11%. We are all actually exaggerating. It is only 7%.

Yesterday's Independent also included an investigative feature which claimed that in the past 23 days, 21 foreign language students in Brighton had been targeted by criminals. Some of these crimes were thefts from their homes, but there have been several more violent attacks, including two Uzbeki teenagers (14 and 15) being told to 'Speak English' and being called 'Pakis' as the attackers tried to force their way into their house.

Cause and effect. Cause and effect.

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