Migrants add £37bn to UK's wealth

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The Independent Online

Migrant workers have added £36.7bn - or 3 per cent - to the UK's wealth since Labour came to power in 1997, independent research published yesterday shows - and almost a third of that was generated since the accession of 10 nations to the EU in May 2004.

However, the report, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said the benefits had not been shared equally, and had probably contributed to a rise in unemployment among unskilled young people.

The institute said that 5 per cent of the current working population has come to the UK since 1997 - a third of those since 2004 - and that the new migrants made up 4.5 per cent of the national wage bill.

It said the Exchequer was benefiting, as many of the new workers had been educated abroad and contributed to tax revenues rather than receiving benefits. The report said this effect was strengthened if the migrants did not stay into old age.

However, it said the influx of workers had probably pushed up unemployment by 0.3 percentage points - or roughly a third of the overall increase over that period.

It said more than six out of 10 migrants from "New Europe" were in basic-level jobs.

Martin Weale, the institute's director, said: "Migration is not something that leaves everyone better off... It is matter of judgement for the Government as to how concerned it wants to be about the indigenous population that probably loses out."