My Urgent Question on EU Migrants: National Insurance Numbers, 12 May 2016

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): To ask the Home Secretary to make a statement on the number of national insurance numbers issued to EU migrants.

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): For years, UK migration figures have been measured independently according to agreed United Nations definitions. Today’s report by the independent Office for National Statistics is a clear endorsement of the validity of those figures. I welcome the clarity that the ONS has provided on this important issue, and am glad to have the opportunity to clear up some of the misconceptions about the figures for national insurance numbers and what those may mean for EU migration.

On 7 March this year, the Office for National Statistics published a note explaining why long-term international immigration figures could differ from the number of national insurance number registrations, concluding that the two series are likely to differ. At the same time, the ONS undertook to conduct further analysis of the issue. It has published its conclusions this morning; I stress that that is independent work carried out by an independent statistics authority. Its conclusions are clear. The ONS has now stated that the difference between the number of long-term EU migrants and the number of national insurance registrations by EU nationals can largely be accounted for by short-term EU migration to the UK, and that the independent international passenger survey remains “the best source of information for measuring” net migration. The ONS also says that national insurance figures are “not a good measure” of levels of migration, even if they are helpful for understanding patterns of migration.

A national insurance number can be obtained by anyone working in the UK for just a few weeks, and the ONS explains clearly that the number of national insurance registrations should not be compared with migration figures because they measure entirely different things. Short-term migrants have never been included in the long-term migration statistics, which are governed by UN definitions. There have always been short-term migrants who are not picked up in those statistics, but short-term migration will not have an impact on population growth and population pressures, as by definition short-term migrants leave the UK within 12 months of arriving.
The Government look forward to the ONS’s follow-up note later in the year, which will set out its analysis in greater detail. We must now be careful not to distort the figures following the ONS’s clear statement. I welcome its conclusions, which I hope provide reassurance to those concerned that national insurance data could suggest that the published migration statistics were inaccurate.

The Government take very seriously the need to reduce net migration to long-term sustainable levels, from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. We have taken a number of steps to achieve that, of which the Immigration Bill, which completed its parliamentary passage this week, is just the latest. Clear and accurate statistics are integral to what we are seeking to achieve. I am pleased that today the ONS has, with its normal impartiality, confirmed that the statistics based on the international passenger survey that we use have the necessary integrity and remain the best measure for understanding net migration.

John Redwood: I am grateful to the Minister for his statement, but does he not accept that the very popular programme of making a substantial reduction in net migration that he, I and other Conservative MPs stood on at the general election is quite impossible to honour as a promise given the Government’s own figures for migration, never mind the figures for national insurance? Migration has been running well above the maximum total that we suggested to the electorate. Does that not show that all the time we stay in the European Union we cannot control EU migration in the way we promised at the general election? Does the big difference between the national insurance numbers and the migration figures have implications that will worry Members across the House, given the impact on public services?

Over five years, 1.2 million additional people came to the UK, got a job and a national insurance number, and lived here for a considerable time, even if some of them have now departed. Those people needed doctors surgeries, school places for their children, and so on. In the past two years, an additional 1.1 million people have registered for GP services. That implies that national insurance numbers are closer to the truth, and that we need to consider those figures as well as the formal migration numbers when planning public provision.

Does the Minister share my concern that we are not offering a sufficiently good welcome in terms of GP places, health facilities and school places, and that that is putting a lot of pressure on settled communities and not offering something good to the newcomers? Does he share my wish to get a grip on that, so that we can properly plan our public services? The note that was slipped out—fortunately Mr Speaker allowed this urgent question—does not explain that discrepancy or deal with the fundamental point that if someone comes here, works and gets a national insurance number, we must provide public facilities for them.

James Brokenshire: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for allowing me to clarify those points, and today’s statement from the ONS is clear. As Glen Watson, the deputy national statistician for population and public policy, said: “We are confident the International Passenger Survey remains the best available way of measuring long-term migration to the UK.”

My right hon. Friend correctly highlighted the pressure on public services, and the Government remain committed to reducing net migration to the long-term sustainable levels that existed before the previous Labour Government. We remain focused on achieving that, which is why we have taken steps to reform the visa system and to confront illegal migration. Measures in the Immigration Bill, which the House approved earlier this week, are pivotal to that.

The ONS is clear that we should not be looking at national insurance numbers for an assessment of the pressures of migration. Some have suggested that leaving the EU will in some way deal with the migration issue, but we need only consider the examples of other countries that have decided to be outside the EU yet have free movement and pay into the EU budget. There is an idea that things would be better outside the EU, but I find it inconceivable that we would have access to the single market and not have those issues of free movement.

We must also stress the important achievements of the Prime Minister in his renegotiation, and in putting the welfare brake into effect and dealing with some of those pull factors, as well as important steps on deregulation. He secured important elements in that renegotiation for the benefit not just of the UK, but of the EU as a whole. We must grow that economy and see other European nations succeeding and creating jobs and employment in the way that this country has done. I recognise the concerns that my right hon. Friend has rightly highlighted about public services. Those issues remain a concern of this Government, but we have taken, are taking and will continue to take action to see net migration figures reduce to sustainable levels, and to address concerns about public services and the pressures on our communities.


  1. Antisthenes
    May 13, 2016

    If it is accepted that the answer is accurate and there is reason to believe that it is not as those who say they are going to stay for a short period may often end up staying much longer. My son in law who is French came over to work for what he thought would not be for long and after more than a year he is still here. It appears it might become permanent. I am a Brexiteer but I do not fear that leaving will jeopardize his right to stay in the UK despite the nonsense being spouted by the stayers. Of course he is married to a UK national so can fall back on that but I believe in the event we leave he will not have to.

    If say 1 million short stayers do leave within one year then undoubtedly they will be replaced by another million. A revolving door so to speak. So under reporting has to be at least by that number. So there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

    Reply Anyone legally here today will be entitled under international law to stay on Brexit.

    1. Hope
      May 13, 2016

      Look at the vast increase in Eastern European benefits claimed over the last five years under Cameron! Are you seriously telling us that he did not know? He did not know the nationality of benefit claimants, he did not know the nationality of NI numbers issue? It is such ridiculous a claim. The response from the above minister is equally stupid. EU nationals are not asked where they are going or how long they will stay. The veracity of his reply needs to be examined. With all the information available weave expected to believe it was not known and that some survey is accurate! When you enter the US they take your prints, and retina scan, before you set off your ESTA form has to state where you are staying and that you have a return ticket and they check you out!. Brokenshaw thinks a limited passenger survey cuts the mustard. It is breathtaking incompetence and we are not safe with this sort of idiot holding public office.

      Cameron said back in February we would have to accept freedom of movement for staying in the single market. There is no way we should or would accept him in office post EU referendum. EU budget not disclosed until after Brexit, leaked report from Germany showing their aim to have an EU army, navy and air force.

    2. stred
      May 13, 2016

      Absolute nonesense is put about by the scientific establishment about the UK being unable to recruit foreign scientists.We already do so, as the British education system produces too few. We will continue to do so under an Australian immigration style method of selection, and there will be 10:1 EU scientists delighted to have a job here, as they are pissed off with the paternal French and German systems.

  2. Beecee
    May 13, 2016

    I fear that the Government/Remain will soon decide, if not already behind closed doors, that the free movement of EU citizens is not migration and therefore can be excluded from the numbers. Voila – Manifesto promise achieved at the stroke of the pen!

    And no more problems for Schools, the NHS, benefit payments, housing, public services, local communities, jobs, etc. I do not know why we were concerned?

    Apart from being able to read his brief – Mr Brokenshire certainly does not understand what he is saying. If he did he would know that no brake on welfare payments has yet been approved, nor is it likely to be.

    1. Mark
      May 13, 2016

      I think Mr Brokenshire understands exactly what he is saying – the official data , “the International Passenger Survey remains the best available way of measuring long-term migration to the UK”. That is, there are better ways of measuring but they are not available (nor it seems going to be made available).

      The most obvious thing to do would be to require carriers to provide details of outbound and inbound passenger numbers. With the new PNR legislation, that should allow numbers by nationality to be counted directly – at least for air travel. Extending that to ferry and rail services ought to be a trivial matter.

  3. lojolondon
    May 13, 2016

    Dear John, Thanks for this, but I fear that the government’s position is downright dishonest as far as the EFFECT of the situation goes. OK, so it is possible that a person came here from Romania for just a couple of weeks, applied for an NI number and then left. The point is to ask why? I have been to other countries for more than a month, and never thought to apply for their equivalent of an NI card. Let’s follow the money.
    An NI card gives full access to all UK benefits – from healthcare to benefits payments, to housing, transport, disability claims, etc – all these require a basic NI card to start, and there is often no further check once you have a card, eg arriving at A&E, show your card, do not speak English, you will be treated, no doubt. Let’s say these people have started some kind of claim, then went home to their country of origin – is there any mechanism in place to prefent such fraud? I believe not if we look at the headlines where professional scammers pay poor people to come to the UK and attain an NI card, all the fraud flows from that first, one card.
    I believe the whole position of the Government is to ignore this, knowing how serious it is, because this is really explosive information, and may well affect the Brexit vote. Of course it makes it far easier that all the left-wing MSM have swallowed the story hook, line and sinker, and have moved on to ‘Tory Election Fraud’ in every headline and on every broadcast.

    1. A different Simon
      May 13, 2016

      Contrast the case of arrivals with that of a Briton who has paid into the system and done the right thing by trying to make provision for their old age and loses their job .

      There appears to be no assistance for the Briton until they have sold everything including their house .

      It’s even more irksome when HM Govt has given your job to someone on an ICT visa .

      It is now apparent that the reason why Cameron and co disbanded the British Army was to prevent any possibility of a military coup in the face of their continued treason .

      Traitorous scum the lot of them .

    2. alan jutson
      May 13, 2016


      Your outline of the situation is absolutely spot on, I have just returned from 3 weeks abroad, and neither my wife or myself even thought about considering making an application or registration in any of the Countries we visited.

      Yes we have a “free” (reciprocal arrangement) with our NHS European Health Insurance card, for which you correctly outline needs a National Insurance number to gain, and lasts for a whole 5 years at a time.

      What an incentive for a foreign visitor to register for a national insurance number, Free healthcare for 5 years and you do not need to be a permanent resident, as you only require a UK address between application and receipt.

      Too many Politicians too dim to realise, too many civil servants too well paid to care.

      Lost the plot is too kinder word.

      1. alan jutson
        May 13, 2016

        Simple question John.

        You suggest that those who are only intending to work a short time are not counted, how about those who do not intend to work at all, are they excluded from the figures as well.

        Seems like the counting system is a complete and utter shambles.

      2. A different Simon
        May 14, 2016

        Alan Jutson ,

        Couldn’t agree more .

        Neither the polis nor the civil servants have any skill in the game and are indifferent towards the plight of us plebs .

        The sort of six figure plus a pension money middle ranking civil servants are on looks even eye watering when you actually meet the people in the flesh and realise they are beyond mediocre and can only thrive in an artificially bloated bureaucracy .

        No wonder the gravy train troughers are Remainians .

    3. acorn
      May 13, 2016

      HMRC stopped issuing National Insurance “Cards” mid 2011, as part of Osborne’s first austerity / deficit reduction plan (failed). You can only apply for an NI number from a identifiable UK address and will get a reply to that address; and, may be interviewed at a Job Centre. Persons familiar with the matter, tell me there are ways of tracing the use of the same NI number, at different times in different places.

  4. Roy Grainger
    May 13, 2016

    “the Government remain committed to reducing net migration to the long-term sustainable levels that existed before the previous Labour Government”

    I am tired of hearing this – I want to hear HOW they will achieve this because as far as I am aware it is impossible to do whilst in the EU. Even the goal to reduce NET migration is wrong, they should reduce immigration – they could easily reduce net migration by bringing in a very high top tax rate thus forcing high earners to leave (as France did). Incidentally this would also reduce child poverty as measured by the idiotic method they employ.

  5. Nomis
    May 13, 2016

    I fail to understand the obsession with the single market. Yes it would make business transactions more straightforward, but it’s not as if other countries outside of the single market have particular difficulty trading goods and services with the EU. I certainly would not approve of the post-Brexit UK government negotiating away control of our borders or paying a membership fee for access to the single market. I would want the UK to be a strong, truly independent country with a similar relationship to the EU as, say, Australia or New Zealand.

  6. JJE
    May 13, 2016

    The ONS was wrecked when it was moved to Newport. Anyone with marketable skills and/ or working spouse and family bailed out. Add in political interference and blatant abuse of statistics and it is worse than worthless. None of these bodies are really independent when Ministers appoint the top people.
    There was a follow up study on the debacle that identified Reading as the edge of the Pale – the furthest out they could expect to relocate functions from London and reduce office costs without losing all the key staff. Perhaps you could offer to look for a home for it in Wokingham?

  7. NickW
    May 13, 2016

    There is tacit agreement on both sides of the referendum debate that if Great Britain stays in the EU that our Country will cease to exist in the foreseeable future; it will be subsumed into the EU; those who would have us remain cannot pretend otherwise; they cannot stand in front of the juggernaut which leads to complete union, and the failure of any meaningful renegotiation demonstrates that fact very clearly.

    Some of those organisations and individuals who speak for remain argue against the surgery, not the necessity for it, because they are afraid of a little pain which is magnifying daily in their imaginations. When it comes to a matter of survival, short term discomfort has to be set against a lifetime of benefit. Others argue against Brexit because they are benefiting from Britain’s membership of the EU and are looking forward to feeding off the corpse when Britain as we know it ceases to exist.

    In order to survive, Great Britain has to be separated from the EU; the surgery is essential, we cannot and should not allow ourselves to be persuaded otherwise.

    As with surgery, we require courage and determination; the referendum will show whether or not the British still have those qualities, or have become sheep, to be herded by the barking of the institutional dogs wheeled out on a daily basis by the half of the Government which has seized control.

    1. NickW
      May 13, 2016

      It has to be said that it would be foolish to pretend that there are not those in Europe who would see the end of Great Britain as a desirable goal. We should not be helping them achieve their aim; our politicians should not be helping them achieve their aim.

      n.b. The EU was deliberately set up to abolish the Nation State, and the different natonalities of Europe all have different ideas about which nation states they would most like to see abolished, (“Not Mine” is the universal cry.)

  8. Bill
    May 13, 2016

    Brokenshire’s comments do not answer the questions (a) how many temporary visitors return and how many stay? (b) what period of time is ‘short-term’? (c) if a national insurance number is issued, can it be re-used by someone who makes a second short-term visit? (d) how does the government decide where to put extra schools and hospitals since it does not know where short-termers will live and work? (e) how does it ensure shorter-termers do not overstay? (f) does the ONS simply count the most solid and collectable figures rather than the more volatile and tenuous figures? (g) what happens to those short-termers who do not want a national insurance number because they do not want to work i.e. they are dependents of migrant workers? (h) what evidence is there that the Civil Service in its various departments engages in joined up thinking by linking the issuing of national insurance numbers with the provision of services?

    All in all, the government should be in sackcloth and ashes over its duplicitous and incompetent performance.

    Reply Short term is defined as under 12 months. Multiple re-entry means they can be short termers more than once. My main points were people staying less than 12 months still may need homes, GPs, school places for children, and on their own long stay figures they are miles off target.

    1. Bill
      May 15, 2016

      Thank you.

  9. agricola
    May 13, 2016

    And at the end of his ministerial contribution Mr Brokenshire was seen to slide down his chute to Wonderland in time for tea with the Mad Hatter.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    May 13, 2016

    The minister’s position is that as the extra 1.2 million people who came here are not part of the official statistics they were not actually here.

    I thought both Ronnie had died but you and the minister played out one of there sketches in Parliament yesterday.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      May 13, 2016

      their sketches

  11. ian wragg
    May 13, 2016

    John, I find it incredible that you can continue to address these people as ………my honourable…….
    When we all know that they are lying through their teeth.
    The passenger survey is little more than a gestimation and a woefully inadequate method of counting immigration especially when it relies on the honesty of they questioned.
    The Conservative party as well as the Limp Dumbs and Liebor aided and abetted by the IMF, OECD, UN,EU and all the other organisations, actively promote immigration to the west in a deliberate attempt to neutralise us.
    Immigration won’t stop until we have been dragged down to the level of Gambia or Romania when it will be possible to install world government.
    Of course before we get to that the sheeple will revolt so the likes of Brussels will want a strong military to control the masses.
    then we have the likes of major telling us things could get ugly if we don’t be quiet about immigration.

  12. stred
    May 13, 2016

    James Brokenshire is a good MP and a capable performer in parliament. He is also a lawyer. This is why he knows how to refute the obvious truth and obscure the reasons. He refers to the ONS as an independent body and concludes that the real figures for immigration are correct, as defined by the UN. If this is the case then the use of a clipboard and uncheckable questions by the ONS shows that their chief officers are incompetent or seeking to act politically to help their masters. For the UN to disqualify a refugee or migrant because they do not declare intention for permanent residency would disqualify them as refugees. No refugee would admit to wishing to return home.

    Brokenshire then refers to the government’s effort to tighten up on migration, forgetting to point out that these largely unsuccessful measures apply tp non-EU migration. It may be a good time for him to return to his job as a lawyer, as many in his contituency will not be pleased with his performance.

  13. A different Simon
    May 13, 2016

    John ,

    James Brokenshire and his ilk are being obtuse .

    They are treating the British people with utter contempt .

    You must be able to see that they are sticking two fingers up to your good self .

    British citizens only role in the establishments new Britain seems to be to pay for the largesse shoveled out to all and sundry except themselves .

    Why have we become third class citizens in our own country ?

    What did we do wrong to bring down the vengeance of the establishment upon us ?

    Was it the working and lower middle classes failure to embrace socialism ? Was it because we bred too much ?

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 14, 2016

      More because we stopped breeding too much!

  14. Lifelogic
    May 13, 2016

    The more I see of Christine Lagarde the more convinced I am that I want this socialist lawyer to have nothing what so ever to do with the government of the UK. A period of silence would be welcome. She could use in to contemplate her past disasters, her absurd and proven wrong predictions and her “violation of all the rules”.

    Yet another in the wrong, wrong, wrong, Heath, Major, Kinnock, Brown, Bliar, Clegg, M Heseltine, K Clarke mode. Keep getting it wrong and keep being asked back by the BBC for you next wrong words of “wisdom”.

    We have quite enough home grown socialists like Cameron and Osborne thanks. We certainly have no need of people like Christine Lagarde. She is not even amusing, just profoundly wrong and very depressing and a lawyer to boot. Nothing positive at all about her.

    1. hefner
      May 14, 2016

      Christine Lagarde, lawyer, yes, socialist, are you sure? Do you ever check your facts?

      If Nicolas Sarkozy had been a socialist, he might have taken Lagarde as his socialist Ministre des Finances. Unfortunately for you, Sarkozy would, I guess, really hate being called a socialist …

  15. Lifelogic
    May 13, 2016

    The cheers for the high court children are not the property of schools with parents to be fined at will. Children often learn far more outside schools. Alas it seems the government will change the law to usurp this common sense.

    1. a-tracy
      May 14, 2016

      I hope the government do change the law to protect children of poor quality parents. If you think that doesn’t matter to you because you’re a good parent, who picks up the tab for drop outs, the unemployable, the feral and serial family claimants?

      This isn’t about getting a cheap holiday, this is about children’s futures. We can attest to the fact you don’t need to provide a foreign holiday every year to create a rounded individual.

      You’re quick to condemn failing schools but in your vision what do you do with children of parents who can’t be bothered to get up in the morning, half the time now they’re walking to school in their pyjamas having failed to provide breakfast for the child that morning. Don’t be selfish!

      My children didn’t miss one day of school other than through illness and I can count those days on one hand. Sometimes you go away every other year on holiday and make it more special instead of sitting on a beach watching everyone brown. Schooling is more than just teaching the curriculum.

      We had a system where different areas of the Country had different school holiday as is the case in Scotland now, they messed with this in England and these are the repercussions, but to hear comfortable people moan about the expense of a fortnight in school holidays and want their child treated differently to save a bit of money teaches them the wrong lessons in life, when you’re finally in work you can’t just demand your own way to the organisations detriment – or perhaps this is one of the reasons there are absence problems when people just take whatever they want regardless to the consequences to others.

  16. JJE
    May 13, 2016

    I was intrigued because I have travelled in and out of the country more than most but never been asked to participate in the ONS survey. In fact I can’t remember the last time I saw one of their survey points staffed.
    Some points I found.
    There are no names or personal details recorded so follow up is impossible.
    The response rate is 79%, so 21% of those selected to be surveyed do not answer. People who are talking on a mobile phone are not approached as it is policy not to interrupt their conversation.
    Coach drivers at ports of entry can refuse to let the survey staff even board their vehicles.

  17. Martyn G
    May 13, 2016

    Could all this prevarication, uncertainty, half-truths and data manipulation perhaps be the reason the government decided a couple of years ago that the usual 10-year national census was to be abandoned?
    No census = no one has any idea as to how many people, regardless of their origin is in the UK. That being so, how can any government worth the name plan for the required resources (schools, houses, hospital, roads etc etc etc…..

  18. Dame Rita Webb
    May 13, 2016

    It would be nice if someone would ask HMG as to when they are going to announce that we are full up and we cannot accept any more?

  19. Denis Cooper
    May 13, 2016

    Seven references to “independent” bodies working “independently” and coming up with “independent” conclusions, what has now become the standard response of mendacious politicians to the problem that many people no longer trust a word they say.

  20. Mick
    May 13, 2016

    No matter how you rapp it up there is far to many eu migrants being let in full stop, off topic I see the bias eu loving BBC are still upto there old tricks by touting Christine lagarde and not having a expert on to counter her on the issue

  21. Denis Cooper
    May 13, 2016

    This is crazy.

    A million people turn up, but because they all say that they do not intend to stay more than a year they are held to add nothing to the population. Then let us suppose that million are all true to their word and they do leave before the year is up, but they are replaced by two million other people who supposedly also add nothing to the population because they all say they do not intend to stay more than a year. And so on; could we end up with twice as many people in the country on any given day, but with the same official population because half of them are foreigners who have said they will be here for no more than a year?

    If somebody who is apparently in good health comes here as a tourist for a week there is still a chance that during that week they will fall ill or have an accident and need medical treatment, but it will be a small chance. However if somebody comes here for fifty weeks, still less than that magic year, the chance that they will make use of the healthcare system is fifty times greater, and if there are enough of them then obviously that will have an impact on total demand for healthcare.

    Similarly with other public services, the child of a short term tourist may well not need any childcare or schooling while they are here but the child of a medium term migrant worker will, and the only difference between the child of a medium term migrant and that of a long term immigrant is that the former is actually likely to be rather more of a nuisance to the nursery or the school than the latter, not having been here to learn the language and only staying for a few terms before leaving.

    And of course all of them, tourists and medium term migrants and long term immigrants, will be using the transport system and using water and producing waste. Does the minister think that it makes no difference to road congestion if somebody from abroad is driving around, provided they do that for less than a year before they go away and are replaced by somebody else from abroad driving around?

    I’m not saying these people are doing anything wrong, far from it in almost all cases. Our government and Parliament have given them the right to come and go as they please and to get jobs or work as sole traders or start up businesses here and earn much more than they could hope to get back home, transport is now much cheaper and easier than it used to be, and so too are communications for making necessary arrangements and keeping in touch with family and friends.

    For some our possibly over-generous welfare benefits may be a secondary attraction, and for a very small minority that and/or the opportunities for lucrative crime are what mainly interests them, but on the whole these are decent enough people who are taking up the chance to better themselves through honest work in another country. I think it is quite wrong that the government has been depicting them as scroungers, while paradoxically also saying how much we benefit from their presence.

    But to pretend that because they may not be here continuously for more than a year they add nothing to the population and to demand for public services is nonsense.

  22. mick
    May 13, 2016

    Just watched Brexit The Movie, what a fantastic move and vote winner it would be to get it put on main stream TV,

  23. Margaret
    May 13, 2016

    Every week tens of migrants register with my practice . Every week just in that little area many will be claiming free medical treatment from the NHS. Whilst I prescribe free medication for them, I buy from supermarkets. Whilst they have money doled out to them I have to earn. Whilst they get their salary paid to them if they are qualified in the NHS and are allowed to pay into NHS pensions , I am not . I have served the NHS for 40 years and have the private sector take money out of me in sub contracting ,whilst we give to those who have done nothing. I have paid over 40 years N Insurance and get the same as those who scavenge. Don’t tell me we are fair to our own. I would like to know who initiated all this upside down morality and who continued to play it out, for I would ensure that their names or organisation would be stamped out just the way we have.

  24. zorro
    May 13, 2016

    Wow… so much to comment on…. So, apparently the Minister states that Glen Watson, the deputy national statistician for population and public policy, said: “We are confident the International Passenger Survey remains the best available way of measuring long-term migration to the UK.”….

    Well, I don’t think that this view is reflected in the following report from the UK Statistics Authority on the supposed ‘robustness’ of the measure!….—the-robustness-of-the-international-passenger-survey.pdf

    It is a bit of a joke to suggest that the IPS is the ‘best available measure’ as it could easily be improved by considering other measures such as GP registrations (nationality included), housing allocations, local authority data such as sewage levels in different parts of the country, along with private sector sources on the sale of food in supermarkets.

    There is clearly a lack of transparency at the heart of the matter or a cognitive dissonance in seeking to bury the issue or just ignore it…..

    How can a rather unscientific, random survey which considers the alleged intentions in a very short interview (those who want to talk that is) of 250,000 passengers out of a total of at least nearly 40 million tourists per year, and not withstanding the far larger number of passenger movements into the UK each year (over 100 million movements)? The answer is that it can’t!

    The net migration figure has risen over the last 6 years despite what the government has or hasn’t done to supposedly bring the figure down.


  25. Bert Young
    May 13, 2016

    Brokenshire’s response was sheer waffle ; he knows full well that NI numbers are far more indicative of migrant numbers but chose to verbalise his way around the question . The required discipline in the House prevents the truth from being said and makes a mockery of what goes on there day after day . Whenever I stood in the queue at an airport after a holiday , I was never aware that numbers were being counted in such a way to differentiate between Brits and others .

    1. formula57
      May 13, 2016

      Agreed. Brokenshire by name undoubtedly but broken reed by nature to treat us to such nonesense. This government does not have a grip on this issue and shows by no willingness to obtain one.

  26. Out Please
    May 13, 2016

    Brexit the Movie on you tube. apologies if already discussed. I have no facebook etc to do it so how could this be widely circulated. How do you get things “trending ” Free dvds given out everywhere ?

  27. Out Please
    May 13, 2016

    Post 2. Links to the full Brexit the movie are on Housepricecrash Forum The You Tube is just a trailer, full thing taken off apparently.
    Cant do links..

    1. oldtimer
      May 13, 2016

      Film available here:

      It is also available on Vimeo (similar to Youtube).

    2. jane4brexit
      May 14, 2016

      Brexit the Movie is still, or again, on YouTube. There are trailers too so look for items marked 1 hour 11 minutes long. It really is excellent. I seem to recall Channel 4 having a remit to show alternative views and programmes when it began, so showing Brexit the Movie should be perfect for them…could someone in the leave campaign or you John push them to do this?

  28. Iain gill
    May 13, 2016

    And how many workers, and their families, who entered on supposedly temporary work visas have been granted indefinite leave to remain?

  29. JoeSoap
    May 13, 2016

    Presumably HMRC knows whether wages or benefits have been paid against these NI numbers in the past 12 months? Given that most entrants into the UK can’t live off thin air for 12 months, it must therefore be possible to know how many immigrants are in the UK.
    Surely this is more accurate information than asking a few people whether they think they might stay when they enter? Always use hard data in preference to the woolly uncertain stuff.

  30. Graham
    May 13, 2016

    Long departed Goebbels would have approved of this web of obfuscation from the Ministry of Truth

  31. a-tracy
    May 13, 2016

    Are the records available to show how many of the 1.2 million NI registrations are paying the NI at the rate of 35 hours at our NMW employee+employer?
    How many have made any contribution at all in the financial year 2015/16?
    If there is no payment in a full tax year is the NI number cancelled or are people just entitled to all the services with no payment forever?
    If only 50% of the population pay NI what is the amount of money required from that 50% averaged per person per year to cover the full cost of just healthcare?
    What’s the total amount of the Healthcare bill covered by Employers NI, Gordon Brown added 1% to Employer NI just for healthcare what does this amount to?

  32. Dunedin
    May 13, 2016

    “Net migration” is a very misleading description of what is really happening. Mr Cameron talks of reducing net migration to tens of thousands – so 1,000,000 British out, 990,000 migrants in – net migration equals 10,000 – success!

    However “net migration” does not take account of the skills/education/earning power/tax payments/wealth of the departing Brits compared with that of the of the new arrivals. Nor does it take into account the level of state support needed by the incoming migrants compared to those who are leaving.

    OT I see Mr Alan Johnson thinks we Brexiteers are irrational, radical, extremists – whatever next?

    1. Dunedin
      May 14, 2016

      Apologies – have posted numbers the wrong way round. Being a middle-aged fogey, I may have become rather giddy about my new and exciting status as a radical extremist!

  33. Nigel
    May 13, 2016

    That old saying ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ seems justified a roll-out. Which ever figure is put up won’t be right, but the NI figures are a great concern – if nothing else highlighting that our government don’t have a clue what is going on in respect of immigration or have lied or both:- It is highly, highly likely that the Government(s) of this country have been misleading us about the level of immigration for quite some time – quite possibly very intentionally. Yet more reason not to believe a thing the Remain campaign is saying. VOTE LEAVE.

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    May 14, 2016

    It is clear enough that the Minister – and his Government – will not release the true figures until after the EU Referendum. Yes again, the Remain campaign is resorting to mendacity to bolster its cause.

    We’ve also had more scare mongering from the Governor of the Bank of England and the CEO that things might be bad or very, very bad for the UK if it leaves the EU. Ex-PM John Major also chipped in. Blood curdling statements from the (supposedly) great and good are not evidence. Evidence is quantifying the changes and giving a rational derivation of the consequences.

    There was an attempt to do this in the Chancellor’s dodgy dossier. However, his figures relied on the EU completing a Single Market in services (something we have been asking for and not getting ever since we signed the Maastricht Treaty) and neglecting our ability to sign new trade deals on our own (e.g. with NAFTA after Obama has gone).

    For Mr Brokenshire’s benefit, we want a Canada style deal with the EU so that we get a divorce and don’t have to make payments to the EU and don’t have freedom of movement. The cost of Canada style deal is easily computed. 98% of exports to the EU will be tariff free. Tariffs on the remaining 2% may be generously estimated at 20%. Our export of goods to the EU (2014 data) was £148 billion. So applying the EU-Canada deal to our exports of goods would cost £148 x 2% x 20% in tariffs, i.e. £0.6 billion. This is peanuts in macro-economic terms, so where is the catastrophe?

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      May 14, 2016

      CEO of IMF.

  35. Ken Moore
    May 14, 2016

    Well said John Redwood,

    What a silly head in the sand response from the government – the current situation is potentially dangerous, unstable and uncontrollable – what part of the word UNSUSTAINABLE does the government not understand. It’s not a minor irritation or a something that would be ‘nice to have’…having control and long term stability is ESSENTAIL.
    I hope Mr Redwood keeps the pressure on the government on this issue…

    Mr Brokenshire’s response was that the public must simply put up with mass immigration in the hope that competitor nations eventually take some of the jobs/investment that come here in the hope that the Uk will become less attractive !. Idiotic!.

    Or perhaps we must wait until the country becomes so crowded and services so poor that much fewer people want to live here – is that what the Europhile levellers want ?.
    What kind of a system is the EU when it actively promotes the destruction of member states from within. I’d much rather fight bombs and bullets than have my own government lying to me and destroying my own country from within.

    They don’t ‘get it’ and never will until they are booted out of office.

  36. zorro
    May 14, 2016

    Is my post on this subject still in moderation?


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