By Giuseppe De Santis
There is an argument that the pro-immigration lobby uses very often to justify mass immigration and it’s this: we need immigrants to sustain our pension system.
The logic behind this kind of thinking is very clear: as the UK population ages and families are having fewer children, we need more immigrants to pay contributions so we can sustain our pension system.
Of course, this is a big lie because immigrants will retire as well, and someone needs to pay for their pensions. Clearly, current immigration levels are unsustainable, but mainstream media pundits keep repeating that immigrants are needed to pay for our pensions, and just a few days ago, Sir Steve Webb made a similar claim in the Daily Telegraph.
The former pensions minister Webb, who is now a consultant for LCP (an analytical consultancy business) said more immigrants are needed to make the British pension system solvent. However, he later admitted that, in the long term, this would only work if immigrants, once retired, go back to their own countries and survive with lower pension payments. Therefore, they would not add to the demand of services in the UK.
Steve Webb, of course, is not alone in this line of thinking, given that plenty of commentators keep repeating this nonsense to justify mass immigration. However, the good news is that inside the Civil Service, there are people who have a touch of common sense.
One of them is David Miles, an academic who is one of the three members of the Office of Budget Responsibility’s executives team, who rightly argues that increasing population to prop up the economy is unsustainable because there is a limit in the number of people that a country can sustain and this is especially true for an overcrowded country like the UK.
According to Mr Miles, there are other solutions available, such as raising the state pension age, encouraging people to save more for retirement, and raising taxes to make the state pension and health service more affordable.
Another option to increase the workforce is to tackle the number of people who are ‘economically inactive’ because of health reasons.
Of course we can agree or disagree with Mr Miles but at least he is honest when he claims that immigration is not a solution.
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