'Open the gates to immigrants' says the OBR - we need them

Our pension crisis could be alleviated if we invite 7 million more immigrants over the next 50 years, a government body reckons.

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 03 Sep 2013
We’ve got a bit of a problem here in the UK. Some might think a population that lives longer is irrefutably a good thing. But the UK’s ageing population is causing headaches, and it’s only going to get worse – unless we encourage more immigrants to come to the UK.

The latest report from the Office of Budget Responsibility says we should entice 140,000 extra foreign workers to head to the UK each year. If we do this for the next 50 years, we should be on our way to giving employment and the public finances the boost they need to deal with pensions.

‘Our analysis shows that overall migration has a positive impact on the sustainability of the public finances over our 50 year horizon,’ says the report.

‘There is clear evidence that, 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.’

According to the boffins at the OBR, the UK’s borrowing will rise to 99% of GDP if migration continues as it is. This would rise to 174% of GDP if immigration were to stop all together.

This puts Cameron in an interesting situation. The PM has pledged to slash the levels of immigration to 'tens of thousands’ during this parliament. Last year he managed to drop the number of immigrants by 89,000 to 153,000.

Do we sense an impending U-turn? It would certainly make a lot of business' lives easier...

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime