Brexit: UK already set to lose £16bn from falling immigration – which Theresa May wants to cut dramatically

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 23 November 2016 17:26
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street

The grim cost of Brexit Britain closing its doors to foreigners has been laid bare, after official figures revealed the falling number of migrants coming to the UK is set to hit the country for £16bn.

Data from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility suggested the huge bill could soar even higher if Theresa May pushes on with the discredited plan to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”.

It follows a divisive referendum campaign which focused negatively on migration, including the infamous “breaking point” poster, leading politicians to suggest that foreigners are taking British people’s jobs, and to a wave of hate crime against overseas nationals.

Forecast documents published by the OBR have predicted there will be a £122bn black-hole in the public finances by 2020, with £58bn directly related to the EU referendum.

Of that number, £16bn of the loss is down to an expected falling number of foreign nationals coming to the country over the next five years.

In Numbers: Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement

That sum alone could pay for hundreds of extra NHS doctors and nurses, but it may rise higher if the Government pursues its stated goal on reducing net migration.

The OBR’s document states that it based its predictions on the government implementing a tighter migration regime, “but not one sufficiently tight to reduce net inward migration to the desired ‘tens of thousands’.”

The pledge to reduce net migration by that amount was first made by David Cameron, but the target was repeatedly missed.

Despite Mr Cameron committing to the target over and again, his administration implemented an economic policy requiring immigration for GDP growth.

During the referendum campaign immigration was exploited by Brexiteers in the Leave campaign, with Nigel Farage appearing in front of a poster showing a line of migrants and the phrase “breaking point”.

Ms May has also committed to the “tens of thousands” target, promising tighter immigration rules.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd was attacked after a conference speech in which she suggested foreigners are taking jobs British workers might do.

There was a sharp increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated crimes recorded by police in England and Wales following the EU referendum.

In July 2016, police recorded a 41 per cent increase compared to the same month the year before, according to a Home Office report.

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