Kent County Council report reveals cost of migration into Kent of Bulgarians and Romanians from next year
The impact of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants into the UK from January could cost public services in Kent an additional £3m a year, a confidential report has found.
The report, not yet released officially, says that in the next five to 10 years, some 8,600 migrants from the two countries could settle in Kent, creating pressure on the NHS, local councils and schools.
The report was commissioned by the leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter earlier this year to explore what impact there could be on public services as well as the potential wider economic benefits.
It concludes the impact would be an estimated £3,120,000 per year, after deducting the additional council tax new arrivals could contribute.
But it suggests the impact is mixed and may not be as acute as some have suggested, saying that “in general, evidence suggests that Bulgarian and Romanian migrants are likely to be “light users of public services” and generally “young, healthy and motivated to secure employment.”
At the same time, the arrival of migrants is expected to create pressure on schools in some areas, with an extra 390 primary-aged children estimated as needing places at county schools.
But council officials say they expect most of those to be employed and renting homes privately, creating little pressure on social housing - although there may be some competition for jobs.
It states: “With a relatively low unemployment rate, Kent may be an attractive place for migrants looking for work, and evidence is mixed on whether this could increase competition for jobs in Kent.
Based on previous populations of Eastern European migrants, it is likely the majority of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants will be young, healthy and motivated to secure employment.
"There may be some family migration, with Bulgarian and Romanian people bringing children with them.”
On the impact on public services, the report says: “In general, evidence suggests that Bulgarian and Romanian migrants are likely to be light users of public services.
Additional Bulgarian and Romanian children who migrate to the UK with their families or are subsequently born here will require school places, which could present pressures in areas where school places are already limited.”
The report also suggests the arrival of migrants could actually boost the economy of Kent and the UK: “The total net economic impact of Bulgarian and Romanian migration into Kent, deducting the expected costs, is an estimated £70,650,000 contribution per year.
"However, a significant proportion of the economic benefit is likely to accrue at national level, whereas the majority of the costs on public services will be felt at local level in Kent.”
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