Brexit Britain needs a migration impact reduction fund
(25 July 2016)
The Government must provide urgent funding to help reduce the impact of migration on public services, according to a Durham University expert.
Immigration was a top concern for Leave supporters that won a narrow victory in the EU referendum last week. Record levels of net migration are believed to add pressure on already stretched public services.
Professor Thom Brooks, a leading immigration specialist at Durham University, called for the return of the Migration Impacts Fund launched in 2009, which was discontinued by the Coalition Government after the 2010 general election. The Migration Impacts Fund was self-financed by introducing a £50 levy on immigration application fees.
Professor Brooks said: “The Migration Impacts Fund helped support about £70m over two years. It was neither funded by taxpayers or the European Union and it provided an invaluable source of new funding to reduce migration-related pressures on local services, covering a range of programmes including English language training, extra support teachers and improving emergency services.
“The Coalition Government stopped support for the fund because it found it ‘ineffective’, but did not replace it with an alternative. The extra income generated was diverted to other Government spending programmes. The problem is that the Government is now forced to find money elsewhere.”
In his research, Professor Brooks claims at least an extra £11.7m could be created by only a £25 levy on immigration applications that could be used to support efforts to reduce migration-related impact. This would add nearly £60m over fives – and twice this amount if the original £50 levy is reinstated.
Professor Brooks added: “A new Migration Impacts Reduction Fund can create an urgently needed funding stream to help relieve migration-related pressures on local public services paid for by migrants. These funds can help support hiring supply teachers, running extra buses or providing other local services now under strain’.
Migration applications can cost over £1,000 and it includes the original £50 surcharge. Instead of spending this money on reducing the impacts related to migration, the Coalition Government diverted this money to paying off the deficit. Six years later, the Tory manifesto committed itself to developing a fund. Brooks says, ‘It’s now time for them to deliver – and to add greater flexibility to how funding can be used for public benefit’.