If proof were needed that the Express, supposed flagship title of Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s media empire, were both desperate and shamelessly campaigning for UKIP, this was provided today with a story that was, to the latter title’s shame, lifted by the Maily Telegraph. The target, as conformed by the “Express crusade: get us out of the EU” logo, was eastern European migrants.
“Migrants pay just £1 a week in tax” screams the headline. Readers are told “AROUND 150,000 eastern European migrants are putting just £1 a week into Britain’s tax coffers”, which is a flat out lie, to no surprise at all, as the figures have come from Andrew Green and his fellow frightener-dispensers at Migration Watch. This is all about those paid only the minimum wage.
But do go on: “Migration Watch compared the income tax payments and National Insurance contributions made by eastern European migrants with the welfare handouts received, such as tax credits and housing benefit. The newcomers tended to work in low-paid jobs with income around the minimum wage and therefore did not pay much in direct taxes”. Ooh look, that word “direct” crept in.
Now, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, there is an assumption being made about how the numbers coming from eastern European countries break down into those earning just minimum wage, with apparently no allowance made for those who are self-employed and/or earn more, and someone is missing the point that IT IS NOT JUST MIGRANTS WHO ARE IN THIS SITUATION.
Yes, ANYONE earning no more than minimum wage pays very little in direct taxation, and NOT JUST MIGRANTS. And they only put “just £1 a week into Britain’s tax coffers” if they don’t pay any VAT. Now, for Andrew Green, and Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn of UKIP, let me take this one nice and slowly, so it sinks in without my having to resort to using a Dirty Great Club (tm).
Here in Crewe, we know a bit about how much eastern Europeans pay in VAT. This is because they have a liking for the mysterious fluids that go by the names of Lech and Tyskie. And every bottle or can of the stuff that they buy from Asda, or the local Polski Slep, means they pay VAT (a 50cl bottle of Tyskie costs £1.50 at Asda, so that’s 25p to the taxman). They are paying tax. End of story.
So when Andrew Green says “This analysis shows quite simply that the taxpayer is subsidising their wages. No wonder, then, that employers are in favour of them and that so many people find the UK such an attractive destination”, this is a flat out pack of lies. There is no wage subsidy. As this applies to all minimum wage earners, there is no favour being shown. And it has nothing to do with the UK’s attractiveness.
This drivel is the lowest form of bigotry, so it’s another Benchmark Of Excellence!