UK Immigration: Economic Burden or Benefit?

This week on the IEA Podcast, host Matthew Lesh is joined by Harrison Griffiths, Communications Officer at the Institute of Economic Affairs, to discuss whether high levels of immigration to the UK are delivering the promised economic benefits or placing burdens on housing, infrastructure, public services and social cohesion. This week’s question: Are immigrants burdening Britain?

They analyse the key arguments made in a recent report from the Centre for Policy Studies that claims immigration has failed to boost economic growth in Britain while undermining wages and productivity. Harrison pushes back on claims that immigrants deter capital investment and are a fiscal drain, arguing these trends have more to do with poor government policies than immigration levels.

The discussion also covers public concern over immigration versus demand for immigrant labour, whether the UK should shift to a “brightest and best” approach admitting only high-skilled immigrants, and the toxic effects of the small boats issue on the immigration debate. While disagreeing with much of the economic critique of immigration, Harrison acknowledges there are reasonably salient cultural and democratic concerns around integration that deserve consideration.