Official figures don’t always tell you the whole story

 

Yesterday we learned that the official figures for inward migration from the EU had been understated in the last decade. An additional 356,000 arrivals have been added to the numbers for the period 2001-10, with 10,000 fewer in 2011. Apparently they undercounted children and people arriving at regional airports.

It is always unfortunate when official figures need substantial revision. Honest mistakes or careless compiling can look like something more sinister to those who worry about the underlying reality the figures seek to capture.  In this case the errors were all ones of understatement, at a time when many people were worrying that the figures were too high anyway.

Similar problems arise if economic figures for growth, jobs and wages have to be revised down, or numbers for unemployment, inflation and other bad news have to be revised up. We learned this week that in an effort to harmonise our economic numbers with the rest of Europe we will witness upwards revisions to our apparent savings rate to reflect those in final salary pension funds, and to our output to credit us with the benefits of R and D being undertaken. It serves as a reminder that all these figures are approximations dependent on assumptions about what you count and what you leave out. All are also prone to understatement as it is difficult in a complex economy capturing all the activity for inclusion in official figures.

What does emerge is the casual way the past  migration figures were compiled, relying on surveys and not on counting people in and counting people when they left. It will come as a surprise to many that when you have a border system with everyone having to show a passport and visa where necessary people have not  not been counted in and logged. The government is trying to remedy this defect so our border control system can have more ability to furnish us with accurate data, and to remind people whose visas expire that they should leave.

Having accurate data is important for a variety of sensible purposes. We need to know how many people need housing, how many children need school places, how many people may need to visit a Dr or hospital. In the last couple of years Wokingham and other places have been playing catch up, trying to add to the school and surgery provision to deal with the extra people we now have in our community. More accurate figures sooner from our border system might have helped make provision earlier, as well as informing a better debate on numbers.

 

 

 

 

thousands

 

Calendar year

Revised Net migration estimates

Original Net migration estimates

Difference

2001

+  179

+  171

+    8

2002

+  172

+  153

+   19

2003

+  185

+  148

+   37

2004

+  268

+  245

+   23

2005

+  267

+  206

+   61

2006

+  265

+  198

+   67

2007

+  273

+  233

+   40

2008

+  229

+  163

+   66

2009

+  229

+  198

+   31

2010

+  256

+  252

+    4

2011

+  205

+  215

-   10

Source: Office for National Statistics

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83 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Deperately incompetent? There was surely a clear and diliberate attempt not to collect proper figures and to underplay it all. The government and bureaucrats must have know the reality all along – from school registrations, employment & NI records, benefit claiment demand, housing demand, doctors appointments, prescription demand, car ownership documents, police records and similar. They simply chose, and quite deliberately, not to look or highlight the issue.

    • a
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      You assume that all government departments talk to each other, or at least someone compares the figures from them all (if they bother to record them)

      My guess would be no one has thought of such.

      I have said before on here.
      Slough council knew by how much the population had grown in their area a number of years ago simply from the amount of waste flowing through their sewerage plants.

      If sewerage increases by 15% its a clue that the population has grown by about the same amount.
      It is so, so simple, as few people evade a toilet.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Indeed not only do government department not talk to each other they very often work directly against and actually fight against each other. Tax payers money wasted with one department fighting with and often undoing the work of the other. While dissembling to the public about what is actually going on.

        Even expensive legal battles to try to shift costs from one arm of the state to another arm. Was it 46(?) separate parts of the state sector just to deal with complaints against the often dangerous, deadly and hugely inefficient UK health care system?

        I suspect that half of the state sector doing nothing of any use or worse, something that is actually negative, is actually rather an underestimate.

        Vast number in the NHS for example spinning and PR, fighting compensation claims and hiding information about the NHS’s incompetence and mistakes. When it could be spent avoiding them and providing better treatment.

        The BBC (true to form) this morning on Offshore Wind something like “some say they are a source of clean power others say they damage the wild life” so that to the BBC is the debate.

        No mention of the main problem. The simple fact that off shore power cost 3-10 times the true value of the intermittent, unreliable electricity produced. Cameron is seems has gone off his love of onshore wind but is now pushing offshore – which of course is even more expensive and pointless.

        What happened to his toy wind turbine gimmick in Notting Hill?

        • Hope
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Clegg made it clear on the EU TV debate there was nothing in place to count people out. So even now the figures are not accurate or could be relied upon. What I found staggering about Clegg is one moment he made this point clear and then later tried to claim immigration was not an issue, yet he does not know the figures even by his own claims!

          Cameron made a promise to reduce immigration, one would think a system to count people in and out might be the first objective to achieve your goal. Earlier this year he stated a reasonable amount of immigration has come from Romania and Bulgaria although he did not have the figures, what a stupid thing to say when he knows there is not a reliable way of measuring who comes and goes or what the actual position is, but both were happy to spin in favour of immigration from the EU.

          Cameron and Clegg might be able to pull strings where their children go to school, where they live, hire cheap immigrant nanny services, or pay for private health care or circumvent the usual way we plebs access public services. The rest of us see and witness the problems and do not like it especially as we are funding our public services and providing houses for them so huegenouts rich and corporate business can have cheap labour at our expense.

          • Hope
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Mass immigration is about changing the UK’s customs, values and beliefs and ridding us of identity as a nation state so that the UK can become a region of the EUSSR super state.

            Equality agenda is nothing to do with equality perse it is about changing our values, customs and beliefs on a minority victimisation label for the same reason as above. Consensus in a democracy would allow us to be tolerant and make sure minority views are recognised and people not victimised, but not held above the majority wishes ie gay marriage.

          • Aunty Estab
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            They can`t count the number of immigrants correctly, think of the mess they`ll make with our bank accounts when they are able to raid them at will! Your thoughts on this new wheeze would be interesting Mr Redwood.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

            Last night’s Panorama was interesting. I urge people to see it. I wonder if they come to the same conclusion as did I?

            Tad

            Reply I am not sure Panorama induced the view in their audience that they seemed to want to induce. I thought the Brent staff often made good points.

          • bigneil
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

            A friends relative works at one of the regional immigration offices. I have been told by them that if a figure is one that the govt doesn’t want us to know the truth – then reduce to a third the official figure given out. If it is a figure they wish to boast about then reverse the maths and treble the actual value.
            As regards the benefits paid out to the people for getting here may I ask, if john allows this to be posted, that you all watch the program on ch5 tonight at 9pm. See how much benefits are dished out to foreigners purely for getting here while there is every winter, English people struggling with the “heat or eat” choice, after working all their lives. As I have posted before – I now get NOTHING -after 45 years of paying in taxes. I am STILL waiting for a reply from IDS’s dept – the longer I wait the more contempt I will have for the man. This attitude towards our own people of lying and cutting benefits – while throwing cash and services to non English speaking foreigners who have no intention of ever working -shows how much contempt we are held in. John -I think you are a reasonable person -and as others have said previously -have you thought of joining the other lot -and I do not mean lab !

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Tad Davidson.

          I was shocked at the ingratitude and the high expectations shown in the Panorama program. Also at the lack of contribution to our society that these people were making despite having been here for a long while.

          The Magic Money Tree has died and they seem completely unaware.

          Clearly they have been coached in having lots of children to maximise benefits. I could not afford to have five, seven … nine children – I certainly wouldn’t expect the state to provide.

          One refugee complained about her flat having a lounge diner and was told that this is how lots of people have to live (I do and I work) The welfare recipient said it was ‘crap’ accommodation.

          The benefit cap is still way above average earnings but despite this dispersals from London are underway as the cost of property is so high (in part owning to high numbers of benefit housing.)

          Expect more Tory voters turning UKIP as a result.

          Not that it matters. We are being outbred at a rate of 5 to 1 by the looks of things anyway.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            “Expect more Tory voters turning UKIP as a result.”

            In the affected regions that is. Some people aren’t going to know what’s hit them.

            It must seem that the Tories are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

            What do they expect if all they can offer is a vague promise of a referendum in three years time ? These issues needed to be dealt with urgently in 2010.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            As John said, ‘ I am not sure Panorama induced the view in their audience that they seemed to want to induce.’

            We reasonably expected this mess to have been sorted by now, and I won’t hold out any hope that it might be sorted to the voter’s satisfaction if any of the three main Westminster parties are elected, regardless of majorities or collaborations. We’ve had enough of it!

            Tad

    • Graham
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Can only agree with the sentiment.

      It’s almost as if the understatement grew as the concern grew – what a coincidence some may say.

    • zorro
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      You are quite right. There is a very simple reason why the figures for something which happens quite efficiently in other countries does not happen here……. Are you ready?……. It’s because they are petrified about what they will find out e.g. the real figures….. The actual number of entrants per year, the type of people leaving the UK…… The real number of overstayers, and those not complying with their visa restrictions. There will be an expectation for action if these figures become common knowledge, and you all know what that would mean…….radical action. How would they do it? No politician wants to tackle that scenario. This is the only real explanation for the assumed incompetence over the years.

      zorro

      • Hope
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        I suspect the quality of people leaving is much higher than those coming in because the UK cannot control anyone from the Eau wishing to enter. Clegg and Cameron know this and have done nothing significant about it.

    • Mark
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I’m sure you are right about that. It doesn’t take much intelligence to realise that Easyjet and Ryanair had opened up routes into Europe and unmonitored ferry routes were carrying coachloads who were not on tourist trips. Those involved in the process of collecting the statistics would certainly have been aware, not to mention many others. Doubtless the first answer was that there was no budget to change things, and the second that keeping quiet was essential to keeping your job.

      In fact, by 2006 there were recommendations for changes in the methodology by the Inter-Departmental Task Force on Migration Statistics which were not implemented until 2009 – as revealed in this report in Appendix A (p20):

      http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/population-and-migration/international-migration-methodology/long-term-international-migration-estimates-methodology.pdf

      It has taken until now for revised historic estimates to be produced, doubtless due to further delays imposed by those too embarrassed to admit something closer to the truth. I’ve not had time to assess the revisions against some other claims based on NINOs that unrecorded immigration might have been as much as 1 million higher than the official statistics prior to revision, but the new numbers are just another set of estimates as we have no proper count base.

      Even now we lack the crudest cross check that could come from asking airlines and ferry companies to report inbound and outbound passenger numbers that could easily be refined by destination because it would be part of their standard management information, and therefore involve virtually no cost in data collection. Given that they are also required to we collect PNR data, with very little extra effort we could get the data broken down by citizenship.

  2. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    There is also a problem with doubling and misrepresentation.
    Migrants moving freely backwards and forwards to other countries and similar in appearance can use the same papers as another.There is also deliberate falsification of documents to consider.
    As far as my job is concerned. Figures are assessed on those needing a doctor, yet I take a surgery every morning, as do many other Nurse Practitioners,yet we become invisible in calculations , as it is talked about as the numbers requiring a Dr.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Five Wembley stadia full of people missed from the figures. Oh dear.

      Of course it’s deliberate.

      The most incredible thing is that Westminster thinks it has got away with lying to us and that we’re too stupid to notice.

      Any discussion on economic policy without numbers on mass immigration is denial or outright dishonesty. Whichever, it is utterly pointless.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        The last Government admitted it actively encouraged migration (Mandelson). Not surprisingly they wanted a permanent socialist utopia as migrants tend to vote Labour.
        This Government can only claim incompetence as it does not assist the Conservatives who still support free movement of potentially 485 million people in their loved EU. Cameron still actively supports the EU.
        The indigenous population want NO migration as the effects do not benefit them at all. If we want free public services within a reasonable timeframe we have to seriously restrict the growth in our population or accept longer waits, congestion, overcrowding, building on the greenbelt, the disappearance of our culture and heritage. All so big business can employ cheap labour in the service industry and rich people can have nannies.
        Migrants have to earn significant wages before they are net contributors to our economy.
        The legacy parties gave up on patriotism years ago. If we want real change and democracy and sovereignty returned we know what we MUST do.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          TA, it’s called ‘the creation of Labour’s client state’.

          Tad

      • Jennifer A
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        I see from further comments that many people do actually think that this was down to incompetence rather than deliberate policy.

        Fools.

        • Arschloch
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Of course it’s all part of the neo lib agenda and the free movement of labour. Everybody is at from Kate Middleton and her Spanish “super nanny” downwards. Mind you if you come and live where I do where the population is 99%white (the non white remainder are gainfully employed in the catering business or by the NHS). You will see all the negative charecteristics that people attribute to immigrants manifest themselves. Like multi generational welfare dependency, a high fertility rate, substance abuse, wife beating etc. The most obese and probably whitest town in the UK is not too far away either. When you tot up the size of the white underclass around the UK it dwarves the size of the immigrant community and you can guess who costs the taxpayer most to maintain.

          JR you have not commented on the elevation of Ms Leadsom I thought she would be just the sort of person to get into the cabinet?

          Reply I wish Andrea well, but let’s see how she gets on as a junior Minister first. I think Esther Mc Vey has already shown herself capable in a junior Ministerial role, and has the ability to propose and defend Conservative policy in sensible ways on the media, so I would like to see her promoted first.

          • Jennifer A
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            Arschloch

            I didn’t comment on the worthiness of migrants. I fully understand the problems with some indigenous people and mass migration has been used as a way of papering over the cracks rather than dealing with it. In fact it has reached the point where wages have been so depressed that even good people are disincentivised from working.

            Do you not agree with me that anything which purports to be economic analysis but which doesn’t include mass immigration is rather pointless – at worst disingenuous ?

        • Kenneth R Moore
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          I have no doubt nobody could be that incompetent.
          But to those on the left there is no real truth – only the accepted politically correct version of the truth.

          Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 today was talking about a story about a ‘racist’ swan at Warwick University attacking only ethnic minority students. He described the Swan as being ‘right wing’ asthough everyone who is from the right in politics is ‘racist’.
          What a nasty (thing to say ed) but typical of the sort of faulty thinking that those in positions of influence use. Noted this story was judged more important than the news about the fiddled immigration figures.

          All part of the a wicked left wing driven policy to destroy England by whatever means necessary.
          What resistance are they meeting – a generally disinterested general public, John Major and now David Cast iron Cameron’s ‘Conservatives’. God help us.

          • zorro
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            Unfortunately, the typically specious nonsense we have come to expect from the BBC….. ‘Right wing’ = racist….. even for swans……

            zorro

  3. alan jutson
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Well what a massive co incidence that the immigration figures are wrong (on the stated low side) when it was the one subject the government refused to discuss properly for years.

    We have to add to those numbers with the illegal arrivals as well, as yet an undetermined number because no one really knows how many.
    Suffice to say that in recent months we have had the Border Agency van appearing locally to raid a number of restaurants in Wokingham, Twyford and Binfield to remove such people such are the numbers.
    Actually I do not know if they have been removed from the Country, but they have from the restaurants (probably let go after questioning, and told to report back to an office in a few weeks time)

    As you say John, at passport control we scan people in, we scan people out, how can it be so difficult, and take so many years to get accurate numbers.

    Do we honestly think that the National Census undertaken every decade is accurate, and that people who should not be here will fill it in, even if they had been issued with a form.
    It should be obvious that any figure gained is an under estimate.

    I guarantee that the big supermarkets know exactly how many people pass their tills every hour of every day.
    They also record everything their customers buy, so that stock is reordered automatically.
    If you are a member of their loyalty scheme they also know what you as an individual purchases on a regular basis.

    Perhaps the solution would be to put the supermarkets in control of our stock of people.

    Meanwhile governments waste a fortune on computer systems that do not work, hospitals likewise.
    I see the Royal Berks Hospital is now Millions in debt because of a failed computer system. Its solution, stop all staff recruitment and sell off some of its land, even though the site is over developed now, has little car parking (but lots of double yellow lines) and even though the area is getting ever more housing who will all want health care.
    Waiting times for some departments are already high, so in addition they keep on being fined for non performance to add to the misery.

    Pray tell me what is the point of fining a hospital, and reducing its available spend to treat people, surely there must be a better way of control.

    Its been said before, but we really do need efficient management, to get back to the basics, to get the true and full facts, and then we can put in the right controls to manage the situation.
    All this pie in the sky theory, finger in the air type calculation when combined with sloppy work, is simply is not good enough.

    • Hope
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      The government, through EU law and directives, is able to regulate the movement of sheep and cattle better than people. What does this tell you about the government? It does not have the will to even look at it, as it considers it something to be left alone as more difficult questions will arise. I think it was the ONS that claimed the UK needed more immigration to help the economy. What utter twaddle. If this is the best it can come up with time to scrap it.

    • zorro
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Tesco estimated that there were 77 million resident based on food consumption figures within the UK in 2007…… No passports are scanned on exit from the UK.

      zorro

  4. Old Albion
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Neither the original figures nor the revised figures mean much. There are no records of the thousands (or is it hundreds of thousands or even millions) who have entered illegally and surreptitiously.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      If they just look at new birth registrations and the names & details recorded they can get a fairly good indication of the numbers.

    • stred
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      How on Earth do they hope to estimate overstaying tourists and students? Do they interview a sample on entry and exit and hope they are telling the truth?

      • zorro
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that’s exactly what they do according to what happens in the International Passenger survey….. A miniscule sample of passengers who are requested to answer some questions and migration figures are extrapolated on this basis. It is nonsense, and unfortunately, the government is making pledges on the basis of this wholly unsatisfactory methodology…… In any case, the latest figures shopworn a rise in net migration to over 200,000 pa. They have no hope of reducing it anywhere near their target.

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Show a rise

  5. Alan
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    What business is it of the government if I chose to go abroad for a short time and then return again? Why are officials employed to log me in and out as though I am in a prison?

    Conservatives should, I think, be supporting our freedom to travel as and we we feel like it, without interference from officials collecting data that no one is going to use for any purpose except political propaganda.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      There are over 7 billion people in the world, and you expect to be given special treatment by the UK government just because you happen to be a UK citizen, presumably, and consider the UK to be your homeland, maybe?

      You’re fussing about the details of your passport being logged when you leave and enter the UK for whatever purpose, which may be criminal for all the government knows; and yet you’re not bothered that now you can’t sign your will without the solicitor you’ve employed for decades demanding your passport and taking a copy for his records; and you’ll find it an obstacle to getting a mortgage if you don’t have a passport to produce, and they will want to know precise details of where you have got the money for your deposit, so make sure that you keep full records going back a couple of decades at least, the five years specified by HMRC is not sufficient; and even if you’ve been a customer of a bank or building society for decades you can’t open a new savings account without proof of identity and address for which a passport alone is not sufficient; and if you then want to take some of your own money out of it in cash they may want to know exactly why you want it; and in due course you won’t even be able to pop round to your local shop to buy a state censored newspaper, or technically even stand on the pavement to cut your front hedge, without making sure that you have your papers on you in case a passing police car stops to check you out; and if you don’t have them on your person then that in itself will be enough to make you a criminal.

      Reply The government could check inward migration numbers without counting the movements of UK citizens, if people are so worried about being a statistic. We are however, statistics to the government in so many other ways.

    • Hope
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Passports have been in place for about 600 years get over it.

  6. formula57
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    The largest revisions apply to the same years when it was acknowledged by inter alia John Reid that the Home Office was “not fit for purpose”. Something seems to have changed in 2010.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the ONS should be renamed the ONJ – the Office for Number Juggling.

  8. Narrow shoulders
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    As a large part of these revised figures is made up of children who will need schooling and each (existing) place costs upwards of £4K (wih additional funding for English as an additional language and minimum wage/benefit recipients) can we finally put an end to the myth that immigration is a net contributor to the economy?

    Downward wage pressure and insufficient services for those already here plus most of those arriving taking low paid unskilled jobs means uncontrolled open borders can not possibly have a net positive effect. Yet Clegg, Cable and Cameron insist we are better off. As with taxation it is only the weallthy and business that truly see the fruits of these policies.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Has any one in government been held accountable for these errors? Or is it continued trebles all round while we subjugate the masses?

  9. stred
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    When other countries, such as the US, have systems which identify and count immigration entry and exit, it seems incredible that the Uk has not managed to install similar systems. It is not as if they have to invent one and have the usual IT disaster. Then of course the person in charge is promoted to a more important job. Let’s hope the tax return figures are a bit more accurate, bearing in mind that the online tax calculator does not know how much the taxpayer has already paid when it calculates how much to pay.

    • zorro
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      It’s a long story…..it’s called e-Borders….

      zorro

  10. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Can we have some additional clarity – what are the figures for England? What do you mean by ‘regional’ airports?

  11. stred
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Talking of not taking responsiblity for failures, the new head of the CPS has just been on R4 saying that she does not accept criticism for the series of recent court decisions. Apparently, the victims did not realise they were victims and things had to be looked at ‘objectively’. They will carry on as normal.

    This week we have had another failure, where evidence was rejected because it came from witnesses who admitted taking part in a crime years ago and had been given immunity from prosecution and paid. In other cases it turned out that a witness had a previous related criminal prosecution.

    In family court cases, the judges have to go have special qualifications to help them understand the disadvantage of accusers. Perhaps jurors will have to be specially trained in the future. Also, recently they changed the rules of evidence so that the witness would be assumed to be telling the truth.

    Try googling sexual abuse claims and the Criminal Injuries Board appears with pages offering sympathetic, anonymous treatment and high compensation, followed by pages of lawyers offering to take on cases for a share of the compensation.

    If all this turns out to be a farce, what will be the reward for failure?

    • stred
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Correction. ..previously related conviction..

  12. John E
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Imagine if we had a National Food Service – we would all be queuing for rationed bread.

    The private sector quickly adapted to stock the greater volume and variety of products being demanded. It’s the planned public services such as the NHS that cannot cope with unexpected changes. What better evidence for the market economy could there be?

    I remember Tesco quietly saying the official numbers were suspect as they could see the actual amount of extra provisions they were selling.

  13. Robert K
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I’m all in favour of keeping track of migrants who need visas. I would be very concerned if our passport controls logged UK citizens in and out of the country.

    • zorro
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      That is already being done under the e-Borders programme when your API data us logged….

      zorro

  14. acorn
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Fortunately some have the time and ability to look inside official statistics. There are always more answers available than there are questions to expose them.

    (refers to a site which would take too long to check out ed) This is an update of my previous on this with the OBR forecast in it. You can see the hits on the public sector spending at the start of the Thatcher and Major governments. You see also that the policy was reversed after three years and the economy eventually gets back on its trend expansion line.

    Now, see how the Cameron government, aiming at a zero budget deficit in 2018/19 will leave our economy some 17% off its long run trend line; and, never looking likely to get back to trend. In 2010, he killed the recovery that was just starting with Mr Darling running an 11% deficit.

    The problem that Darling was going to have was that the private sector households would start paying down debt and saving his deficit (spending) and not re-spending it buying stuff in the private sector. That problem still exists nearly four years later. But, at least we still have our own currency (Thanks JR) and we are not in the Eurozone.

    Reply The main reason we are “off trend line” is the large Recession in 2008. The issue which I have often debated here is whether the new trend rate of growth of our economy is lower than the trend rate 1945-2008 because permanent damage has ben done. On your thesis there is no limit to the amount of state debt we can build up, and more state debt means more growth. How then do you explain the problems of Sweden, Canada, Greece etc who all had to cut spending substantially, discovering state debt led growth was not sustainable?

  15. JimS
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Tesco seem to have a better idea of the numbers than government.
    How come GDP has been virtually static while the population has increased by 20%? Where has it gone? Who has benefited?
    “The Six have attracted large numbers of workers from outside, while the movement of workers within the Six has diminished. When we join, the pattern is likely to be similar”
    - ‘Britain & Europe’ HMSO 1971

  16. Tad Davison
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Not entirely off topic, as it relates to lots of things including immigration. Please try to see the interview given by the economist Ann Pettifor on RT’s Boombust earlier today. If only UK news channels gave us such an insight into the workings of the ECB. They are positively tardy by comparison. The programme should be freely available to watch on YouTube

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • stred
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      UK news also seems to be ignoring the increasing chances of WW III (and presumably the last) if the secondary rebels in the parts of Ukraine with a high proportion of Russian population are shot while evicting them from government buildings. The RT news showed Ukrainian forces carrying automatic weapons, unlike the riot police in the Kiev battle.

      UK news also ignored the UK trying to have Russia expelled from the Council of Europe. This is the council with a lot of self appointed politicians, which was persuaded by British plotiticians to visit Brighton and agree to arrange gay marriage before asking whether anyone else agreed with it. There was silence on this at the time too.

      Yesterday there was an interview with the official in charge of the Council with one of their very bright and attractive ladies who wiped the floor with the little drip. His arguments about democratic validity were pathetic. The Russians have been given the opportunity to make the democratic west look like the USSR used to be. The Hungarian MP who tried to speak and point out hypocrisy was told by the Council chairman to stop and not repeat his criticism. Also, in the Ukranian parliament an MP who tried to put another point of view was duffed up and chucked out. Democracy has been altered recently. Or perhaps the KGB has fabricated it all.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        You’re absolutely right! And one could be forgiven for thinking this denial by the western media must be orchestrated in some way. Instead of real news, we get a constant feed of Oscar Pistorias – the biggest non-news story of the year! Yet people in the west still think of themselves as well informed and free. Yesterday, I had cause to point someone on another blog in the direction of other media in order to check his pro-western bias. I don’t blame him none for being patriotic – so am I – but there’s no excuse for anyone to be so taken in by western propaganda that they believe it, to the exclusion of all else. That is exactly what the EU and its machinery like the BBC wants. Why else would they peddle it at the expense of good, honest, journalism?

        On the KGB fabricating it all, I’d bet my shirt that is what the western powers would love us to believe. The trouble is, other stations outside the Russian sphere of influence are covering it too, not just RT.

        Tad

        Reply I too am fed up with all the coverage of the Oscar trial. It might warrant a report of result, but we do not need the daily twists and turns of the court.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          Earlier, I received an e-mail from my MP, Julian Huppert, who was so troubled by a link I sent to him regarding the alleged falsification of a news story by the BBC, he’s written to the Director General. You might recall it John, and it showed lots of actors who claimed to have been injured in a chemical attack by the Syrian government. Only, when the participants thought they were no longer being filmed, they started laughing, removed their bandages, and got up and walked away. The BBC put it out as genuine.

          This was prior to the vote in the House of Commons, and had that gone the other way, we could now be at war yet again, and that dear Mr Cameron and his Foreign Secretary, Hague were on the side of the United States and their ‘red line’.

          I see that the winner of the prize to give us an amicable exit from the European Union has been silenced by Mr Hague and his henchmen. This is outrageous and the Get Britain Out campaign’s Alan Murad has called for Hague’s resignation – something I and others have wanted for quite a while, ever since he showed his true pro-EU credentials, despite always claiming to be solidly Eurosceptic. This is precisely the kind of duplicity that marks the modern Tory party as untrustworthy and not worth voting for.

          I pity men like you John, I really do.

          Tad

          • Mark
            Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

            Mr Hague should explain why Iain Mansfield is not being recalled from Manila on promotion to a senior position in the EU renegotiation team. Perhaps a PQ might be in order?

          • alan jutson
            Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

            Tad

            Its simple those who hold the power of negotiation on our (so called ) side, do not really want to get out !

            Thus we have the silly list of demands (requirements) suggested by them for negotiation that JR listed the other day.

            Shameful that a man who has won a prize for his work should be silenced and allegedly banned from press comment.

            Thought we had free speech, but not if you want a job in Camerons Government it would seem, hence the reason why John will never be asked to be a member of the inner circle, well not publicly anyway.

        • stred
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          re the power of the MSM. I was in Budapest recently and found myself standing next to an Englishman in a cafe toilet. He said he was on a Danube cruise and was very annoyed that he could not visit Crimea because ‘those bloody Russians had invaded’. He was going to get his own back by never going on holiday to Russia. I asked whether he knew that Catherine the Great used an English engineer to build the port. He replied ‘Just like Russians. Why couldn’t they build it themselves, they just steal other people’s countries’.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      …not there yet Tad; it’s always possible to find previous shows on rt.com/shows/ – this Boom Bust interview starts at 16.00. Incidentally, if you haven’t seen it, on the latest Worlds Apart, there is an interview with another Eurobuffoon concerning a motion to suspend Russia from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; that’s another Eurotrough of which I’ve never heard; no wonder the Eurotroughers hate Eurosceptics.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Why has it taken so long to produce these revised figures? We now have revised figures going back from 2011 to 2001 but we don’t know the “true” figures for 2012 and 2013. We know that all the three main parties at Westminster with their unswerving support for membership of the EU are de facto supporters of unrestricted immigration from the EU. Anyone to whom this is an important issue can expect no solace by voting Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem.

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I read this in Benedict Brogan’s morning briefing today: “William Hague isn’t happy. The Times Diary details that the Foreign Secretary “is said to be furious” that a civil servant – Iain Mansfield, director of trade and investment at the British embassy in the Philippines – has won the €100,000 IEA “Brexit” prize. Mr Mansfield had a string of interviews lined up, but, funnily enough, has been silenced.”
    Another example of your Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary in action?

    I also read in the Telegraph concerning Mr Mansfield that: “The 30-year-old Cambridge graduate was praised by judges of the “Brexit” prize for his “convincing and comprehensive” arguments and the Thatcherite think-tank behind the contest looked forward to him advancing his views in a series of interviews.
    There was one snag, however. Mr Mansfield is a civil servant and his essay appears to have been rather too well-argued for his employer, the UK Government, which remains committed to staying within the EU.
    Having accepted the prize at a ceremony in Westminster on Tuesday evening, Mr Mansfield was told he was banned from giving media interviews. His regular blog on economic affairs also appears to have been removed from the internet. ………He had also obtained prior clearance from his employers at the British Embassy in Manila, where he is director of trade and investment. A source told The Telegraph on Thursday night that Mr Mansfield had ended up in a “spot of bother” with his superiors over the essay, and had been put in “lockdown” until further notice.”
    The firm hand of your Eurosceptic leaders?! North Korea will be taking lessons.

    • formula57
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      So the choice is to listen to Mr Iain “there are plausible arguments supporting Brexit, make up your own mind if you want it” Mansfield and Mr William “Let’s bomb Syria” Hague?

      Personally I applaud a man who authorizes spending £10,000 in these austere times on re-stuffing an FCO snake but I know which individual ought to have the brighter future.

    • Richard
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the IEA deliberately selected Mr. Mansfield’s essay as the winner because they knew he was a civil servant and hence would end up, as you say, “in a spot of bother” enabling the government to more easily dampen down any media coverage of the whole Brexit idea ?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      We get further away from traditional Conservative ideals with each day that passes. Personally, I am closer to despising the Tory party than I even thought possible at one point, and Hague is just another EU puppet. I am right to choose UKIP, and the Tories were absolutely wrong to choose Cameron and Hague.

      Tad

  19. Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    How can anyone possibly miscount by that amount?
    I visited what would be probably described as a third world country on a cruise, and the immigration officers ran everybody’s passport through a card reader attached to a laptop. It took minimal time and seemed to work effectively. OK, someone with a good forged passport would probably have got past them but at lest the exact numbers of people were known. All the details were kept, and they checked the name against a list for undesirables.
    On exit, exactly the same procedure, so they would know exactly how many people had entered and left the country.
    They used basic technology, not costing a fortune, and it performed its function. Yet this country, with all its resources doesn’t seem to be able to carry out such a simple task, no doubt bogged down with huge interlinked computer systems at horrendous expense.
    My 5 year old grandson can count up to 100 so why on earth can’t our border guards? The whole thing smacks of gross incompetence.

    • zorro
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Do not worry, the technology exists and British companies have been involved in implementations of border system solutions in a number of foreign countries…..just not here.

      zorro

  20. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I could understand missing those who rowed up the beaches/slung under trucks and dropping out of aircraft undercarriages. To witness and not count in this context is deep incompetence .

    Even the cop on the crime stats could see what was going on with computer fiddling and he and his family gain the familiar trashing for being….ummm – honest? Competent is a better word.

    Anybody going to talk to Putin properly yet…like stop the action/threats of !

  21. Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I presume disciplinary action is being taken against whoever got these figures wrong.

    I certainly do not want to see taxpayer money being wasted on a pension for a civil servant who has done such poor work.

    Why has it taken so long to discover this error?

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Look at those numbers for legal NET immigration, as originally published or as now revised, and compare either set of numbers with the median number of about 70,000 a year that the British people actually want for GROSS immigration according to the opinion poll mentioned here:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/03/there-is-no-left-and-right-expect-in-political-imagination.html

    Directly ask a representative sample of the citizens of this country:

    “What should be the maximum allowed level of annual immigration?”,

    giving them options ranging from “Zero” to “No limit”, and this is the kind of picture which emerges:

    19% opt for zero immigration
    27% opt for more than zero but no more than 50,000
    15% opt for more than 50,000 but no more than 100,000
    6% opt for more than 100,000 but no more than 150,000

    and so on downwards towards very low levels of support, until suddenly there is the conspicuous outlier of 6% who opt for “No limit”.

    And it is that 6% who want unlimited immigration who are getting their way while the views of the other 94% count for nothing at all, they might just as well not have the vote.

    It is perfectly clear that neither the last government nor this government gives a damn about the views of those who have foolishly elected them into power, they are just interested in maximising immigration into our country under all possible pretexts and by all possible means.

    And of course even these published numbers are only part of the story, as there is also large scale illegal immigration tolerated by the government – let us remember who cut the budget for the Borders Agency – then later somebody like Boris Johnsom will suggest an amnesty, and then as has been found in other countries the first amnesty will encourage further illegal immigration, necessitating another amnesty, and then another …

    We are supposed to be a democracy, and one might have thought that it would be for the existing body of citizens to decide how many new citizens they would like to add to their numbers through immigration from abroad; but no, in a deliberate blatant denial of democracy the politicians in all three of the old political parties insist on doing what they want, not what the citizens want.

  23. Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    So can we now accept that those wicked “far right” parties were right ten years ago when they pointed to the immigration shambles?

    etc ed

  24. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    “In the last couple of years Wokingham and other places have been playing catch up, trying to add to the school and surgery provision to deal with the extra people we now have in our community”.

    I welcome Professor Redwood’s honesty in admitting that immigration has resulted in a poorer level of service for his constituents in Wokingham – they have been told like everyone else to keep quiet and wait in the queue. I suspect this is also what is going on nationally.
    Professor Redwood doesn’t explain how the extra services needed will be paid for when the country is borrowing many billions just to pay existing bills.

    In my own small rural market town, the council have already built 300 new homes and have plans to build another 220 (no doubt emboldened by the un-conservative Conservative planning minister Mr Boles) – all on land that was previously used for arable crops.

    The local GP’s surgery is absolutely heaving, the schools are full, the bottlenecks at roundabouts and commuter roads busier than ever. What was once a gentle, characterful market with wide open green spaces is now turning into a commuter dormitory.
    As we have said all along, it’s about the numbers….
    Cameron could tomorrow stick two fingers up to the EU, remove entitlement to benefits and housing from new arrivals, stop the pee take of foreigners hi-jacking lorries at Calais etc.

  25. Bill
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether the revisions have been forced as a consequence of the Farage-Clegg debate? Clegg’s figures for more or less everything he stated appear to be inaccurate. Either he is lying (which is, let’s face it, possible) or the civil servants who briefed him were incompetent (not impossible) or he did not care about accuracy because he simply wanted to make his case.

    What annoyed me especially about the debate was the way Clegg put words into Farage’s mouth. He spoke of ‘your friend, Putin’ when Farage had made it abundantly clear that he does not admire Putin as a human being but, even so, thought that the Russian had outwitted Obama.

    Leave aside the dishonesty Clegg showed over numbers, there is an underlying dishonesty driven by the direction of his polemic. He must be a nightmare to work with – one feels a scintilla of sympathy for Cameron!

    Reply The figures revision is nothing to do with the Clegg debate. I agree Clegg debated in a very unpleasant and very ineffective style – something I am used to from the left in the Commons.

  26. Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, I know, but I just read that Nigel Evans will not be able to reclaim any of his £100,000 legal fees despite being found innocent of all charges.

    He was forced to employ a high cost barrister because the CPS instructed a top barrister to prosecute the case. We also know that Dave Lee Travis has had to sell his house to defend himself against sexual assault charges.

    Surely this is completely wrong ? If the State chooses to take someone to court on serious criminal charges , legal aid should be available to pay for a barrister of the same calibre as employed by the prosecution. Anything less is a breach of natural justice.

    It might also make the CPS think twice before they bring cases like these two.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Chris S

      Yes justice if you can afford it, been like it for years.

      If you cannot afford a top silk to defend you case, you are at a disadvantage, it is as simple as that.

      I really do think that if you are successful in defending your case the other side should pay your costs, why should you be worse off after proving yourself innocent.

      I would have thought the trauma of going through it all would be painful enough, let alone have to take a financial hit as well.

  27. Iain Gill
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Immigration is completely out of control. Everyone knows this, apparently apart from the politicians and mainstream media who keep trying to convince us and each other that the emperor has no clothes.
    It’s not just European immigration either, there are several other glaring holes in the immigration system, one being intra company transfer visas, another being how easy it can be to get indefinite leave to remain, and don’t forget those communities using marriage to systematically move large populations from their parents ancestral homeland here.
    I hope the politicians and mainstream media wake up before it’s too late.
    As for figures I am regularly on some of the biggest sites in terms of IT manpower in this country, and the vast numbers of workers here on intra company visas is obviously significantly bigger than the numbers you would assume from the official figures.

  28. A different Simon
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The mere decision to resort to reporting “net” migration says it all – a comparison of apples vs oranges .

    Surely we have a right to know how many of the leavers are British citizens from birth/childhood and how many were adult immigrants who decided not to stay .

  29. lojolondon
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    John, thanks again for a great article. I have to say this ‘news’ really angered me. For ‘official’ British immigration figures to depend on a random surveys at airports is so clearly open to wild variations that I have to say this is an attempt to mislead. Even much worse, to exclude the two airlines and airports that carry by far the bulk of Budget European flight traffic means that the deception is deliberate, not merely incompetent. Ryanair and Easyjet flights operate from Stanstead and Luton and carry thousands every day to and from all the Eastern European cities, so to exclude these two airports from the survey sample collection routine is absolutely, intentionally dishonest in my opinion.
    Unfortunately, I suspect that no-one will ever be held accountable for this fraud, and the ‘revised’ figures are almost certainly still far short of the truth.

    While on the subject of incompetence verging on dishonesty, I note that since Chris Smith was interviewed in Somerset almost two months ago, there has been no news on him, any actions taken in respect of the environment agency’s activities, or any other government activity to ensure the EA actually does it’s job.
    I would like to hear that Chris Smith has been relieved of his duties, the EA has been taken over by someone who will energetically attempt to prevent flooding in Britain, and that their policies and practices have been overhauled, ensuring that prevention of flooding is their key target, not ‘preservation of flood plains’. At the same time, the EA could be tasked to spend at least, say 80% of budget on dredging canals, riverways and clearing floodplains. Needless to say this would mean that several hundred million could be cut from their budget. Simples.

  30. Martin Ryder
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The awful thing about the immigration figures is that nothing will be done about it. No senior person will be punished or even censured. No Minister will be sacked and no policies will be changed.

    Counting people in and out and controlling the numbers is relatively easily done; other countries do it and keep out most of the people that they do not want to enter.

    The reason that we do not do it is simply because Cameron, Clegg, etc do not want to do it. Clearly they prefer the settlers to the natives. My plan to vote Conservative next year looks more and more unlikely.

  31. They Work for Us?
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Again and again we are treated as mugs, our fate to take in anybody and everybody who wants to come and we then pay to subsidise them. EU citizens (if admitted and if entitled to benefits in theiriown country) should be paid at their nation’s rate, not ours), benefit tourism would cease.
    Proper immigration control should be “air side” and people not deemed to have “landed” unless their papers are in order. Airlines bringing them to the UK should risk being lumbered (and having to take back) anyone who is not allowed to land. The motto should be “who are you and what do you want”. Bona fide tourists should be able to proove their status. No unaccompanied minors wihtout a proper visa should be allowed to land. How many people have we picked up because their relatives want to send them over to live with their auntie and get a free UK state education. etc etc. People who go abroad as foreign fighters e.g in Syria should be deemed to be citizens of that country and have their UK passports withdrawn.
    When oh when will our politicians show some spine and act to protect their existing citizenship.

  32. Trevor Butler
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Here’s figures to adjust the nett migration – I’ve finally got an international transfer out of the EU with the small R&D company I work for – So my wife and I will be off for good on the 3rd of July – hopefully never to return from our Asian hideaway – Anyone doubting immigration numbers should note the number of first generation IT immigrants alighting from the Reading to Waterloo train at Bracknell in the mornings!

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Were you aware, Mr Redwood, that many draft District Plans in the SE have been rejected, nominally by a decision of the Inspector but in reality by Messrs Pickles and Boles, because the planned level of house building?

    Further, the phenomenon of (people born in the UK leaving -ed) London was rampant between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses. The (traditional ed) British population of London fell from 61% to 45%. In absolute terms it declined from 4.3 million to 3.7 million, a reduction equivalent to the population of Glasgow. This was in spite of the London population increasing by 1 million overall.

    New Commonwealth immigration and eastern EU immigration continue apace and (migration out by people born in the UK ed) from London continues. This is THE main reason why Messrs Pickles and Boles want so many new houses to be built in the south east.

    Even Lord Trevor Phillips – not renowned as a radical Right winger – is concerned at the polarisation of residential areas into separate ethnic groups.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      What’s the matter with your editor? The expression ‘white flight’ is used throughout America and its meaning is well understood in Britain. The category White British is used in PUBLISHED ONS data from the 2001 and 2011 Censuses. Both are perfectly legal expressions.

      The editing has transformed a rational argument into gobbledygook.

      Please do us all a favour: sack your editor and publish each contribution either in full or not at all.

      Reply I changed it because I do not think the issue is about colour as most of the new migrants coming in are white as well.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        No, the issue is not about colour, but it is about country of origin and about concentrations of people from particular countries of origin in separate resident areas. When you drive down Southall High Street, the impression gained is of being in Bombay. When you walk down Brick Lane, you get the impression of being in Bangladesh. If you visit certain bars and streets in Brixton, you get the impression of being in Jamaica. etc, etc. Whether you like it or not, that’s the way it is. And London people that don’t like it have left in droves and are continuing to do so. If you think that this is a benign process, I beg to differ.

  34. Edward.
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    I took a short break to Gibraltar a few years ago, seven years actually and at one time you could catch a ferry over to Morocco from Gib’, though now, to go over to Tangier – you have to travel to Algeciras in Spain, Britain/HMG worried about Spanish and Moroccan sensibilities no doubt.
    Long story short, they made me fill in a form on the ferry and checked me as I came into Tangier, then after four hours of hassle in the Souk – all our details were rechecked again as we left – how simple is that?

    We can do it – alas the political will is not there. Politicians, they don’t want to know the real numbers, as Matthew Parris said in the Times a few months ago – the population of Britain is supposedly 62.5 million but easily you can add 5 million to that figure. What about Tesco figures, they project that there are already 80 million here – I regularly travel round the country and witness the population surge at firsthand – my guess would be at around = 69-70 million. In ten years time……………. I dread to think.

    That’s why they don’t count because we [Britons] don’t count and Westminster doesn’t care so long as the baristas serve coffee, the corner shop is open and the maids do their work and welfare for anybody who rolls us, equality and diversity with open borders will endure.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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