The British government has been warned that it needs to up its annual migrant intake in order to stabilise the economy.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s official fiscal watchdog, the UK will need to continue to welcome hundreds of thousands of working-age migrants each year for the next 50 year, if it is to keep public finances stable.
The OBR revealed that at the UK’s current net immigration level of around 140,000 people a year, the national debt would increase to around 100 per cent of GDP by 2063 – up from the current level of 75 per cent. However, if net immigration levels were raised to 260,000 a year over the next half-century, then national debt would still be below 80 per cent in 50 years’ time.
“Overall, migration has a positive impact on the sustainability of the public finances” said the OBR in a statement. “Since migrants tend to be more concentrated in the working-age group relatively to the rest of the population, immigration has a positive effect on the public sector’s debt dynamics.”
However, an increase in immigration is against current government policy. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged, and has to date been successful in, reducing immigration by tens of thousands of people each year.
Immigration figures released earlier this year showed that 81,000 fewer migrants arrived to live in the year to September 2012, compared with the same period a year previously.