Conservative Manifesto: Immigration and public services

18 May 2017

“It is right that we want to bring net migration to sustainable levels ... because of the impact that uncontrolled migration has on people … it puts pressures on public services.”

  • Immigrants contribute to demand for public services. If foreign-born people in the UK used public services in the same way as similar UK-born people, they would be expected to make less use of health and social care, but greater use of education.
  • Some public services rely heavily on immigrant workers. Foreign born people are overrepresented in social care and in the NHS medical workforce, for example. However, it is not possible to measure exactly what impact this has on the availability and cost of these services, because of the very large number of assumptions that would be required.
  • It is not possible to say with certainty what the implications of immigration are for the cost, availability and quality of specific public services. These impacts vary by area and depending on the type of public service.
  • Most studies suggest the overall impact of immigration on public finances is small. In the long-run the OBR projects higher net migration would reduce pressure on the government debt, since immigrants are more likely to be of working age than the population in general.

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