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Curbing EU immigration could cost UK economy £60bn by 2050

2 min read

10 September 2013

New research reveals the potential costs of cutting EU immigration.

Leaving the EU or tightening our borders with Europe could cause a two per cent fall in Britain’s GDP by 2050, new research suggests.

The report from Harvey Nash and the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that tighter controls could lead to a £60bn real term cost to GDP over the next 37 years. It would also mean a 0.5 per cent increase in the level of government borrowing.

Recent migrants are more likely to be in work (63.3 per cent) than UK-born citizens (56.2 per cent).

Those from the traditional EU 14 countries are more likely to hold senior managerial or professional jobs than Brits and earn on average 7.6 per cent (£2,035) more.

Albert Ellis, CEO of the Harvey Nash Group, says: “Non-UK EU born workers are bringing much needed skills and value to the UK and there is little evidence that EU immigrants are having a negative impact on wages or unemployment. In fact, immigrants are helping to create jobs – a broad and diverse labour market fuels growth as this report shows.

“We know that the availability of talent is a major factor for businesses deciding where to locate. Our EU membership is important to attracting the right people and, in turn, for us to be globally competitive.”

Charles Davis, head of macroeconomics at Cebr, says: “Non-UK EU-born workers earned £39 billion in total in 2012, bringing a wealth of skills and experience to the UK workforce and adding value to the economy. 

“The departure of such workers for the UK, or new measures to prevent EU migration, could create skill shortages, hold back economic growth and worsen the position of the public finances.”

Many EU migrants come to the UK to work but not for their whole lives, which helps offset the ageing population. Curbing their number could result in a greater burden on public sector finances as fewer taxpayers would be supporting a relatively larger number of pensioners.

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