Claims that tightening controls on immigration would cost the Exchequer up to £6bn a year have been repeated by the BBC over recent days as if fact and the record needs putting straight, said West Midlands UKIP MEP James Carver.
The Office of Budget Responsibility’s assumptions that this would be the result of cutting net migration to 100,000 a year are “at best questionable”, he maintains.
Its forecast assumes that reductions in net migration are as likely to affect someone coming to fill a highly-paid job as someone seeking minimum-waged work.
But Mr Carver said: “Tightening immigration controls will result in fewer lower paid workers and those who will need to claim benefits settling here. Higher paid workers who can make a good fiscal contribution will be allowed.
“The ORB does accept it is only an assumption that migrants make a similar contribution to the public purse as the existing population, and therefore, it is wrong for the figure of £62bn to be banded about as a fact.
“Many are likely to at least start off in low-skilled jobs, attracting low pay, and it could be many years, if ever, before they catch up. Indeed, they are likely to be a cost to the country.”
Mr Carver added: “As information is repeated through the media it’s all too easy for assumptions and opinions to be inadvertently transformed into hard facts, a danger heightened in the run up to elections.”