How many EU migrants have come to the UK?

Conservative MPs are concerned about the big difference between the number of NI numbers issued to EU migrants in recent years and the official figures for EU migrant numbers. I was pleased to see this morning that this concern is shared by John Wjhittingdale, in the Cabinet. New National Insurance numbers for EU citizens have been issued at a rate more than twice the number of EU migrants recognised in the official in the last five years. An additional 1.25 million people are involved. Last year alone the figures for new NI numbers at 630,000 were 145% higher than the 257,000 EU migrants officially recognised.

We need to know the answer for proper planning of public services and housebuilding rates, and to inform the debate on whether we now need to regain control of our own borders through Brexit.

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  1. Iain gill
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I’d believe conservative mp’s were bothered if they asked the same question about supposedly temporary ict visa entrants, and their families, who are now settled here with indefinite leave to remain and it indeed British passports in many cases.

    • Hope
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      In 2002 I attended a meeting where Clearsprings, service provider for asylum seekers, made it clear the government did not know how many people were entering the country but recognised the public sector in south east was being overwhelmed. Hence their plan to distribute to other areas. There is no reason to suppose this policy has stopped since then.

      The ONS during the last parliament stated the UK needed more migration, presumably for the alleged growth by cheap labour.

      Cameron needs o be held to account why he is hiding the true figures from the public. I think we have been told one thing by Cameron while in contrast actively continuing mass immigration.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        People like John have a seat in parliament exactly to hold people like Cameron to account. The vast majority of this country is totally and utterly cheesed off with the immigration situation, that politicians can remain in power while residing over this shambles makes a mockery of any pretence we have democracy.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted March 6, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Donald J. Trump Position on Visas

          “Megyn Kelly asked about highly-skilled immigration. The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay. I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”

          If only a UK candidate was to say the same about ICT visas here…

          • Hope
            Posted March 7, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

            The government does not even know how many people are coming in the UK and how many leave. Years of incompetence at the Home Office and No minister has got to grip with it for many many years.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        The official immigration figures quoted in government releases come from passenger surveys – these rely upon people telling the truth and are, at best, a complete guesstimate.

        • Mark
          Posted March 6, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          There is evidence within the statistics that shows an increasing tendency to lie. If you look at the statistics for “intended length of stay”, you find that there are more people who said on immigrating they would re-emigrate within four years than the total number of emigrants. If they kept their promises, emigration would actually be about 150,000 higher (difference between red and yellow lines in chart below). Before 2000, the data show immigrants were more truthful. Chart:

          Of course, it begs the question as to how many fail to admit altogether they are immigrating when surveyed.

      • hefner
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Official census is only carried out every ten years. Last one was in 2011 and published on 17 December 2013.
        Analysis of the results and of the trend in immigration since 1951 can be found in “Immigration patterns of non-UK born populations in England and Wales in 2011”.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted March 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          I can guarantee the houses in Slough with 10 recent immigrants living in sheds in the gardens are not filling in the census forms correctly.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    After the LEAVE victory on 24th June 2016, somebody is going to have to get us out of the EU.
    The omens are not auspicious. Federica Mogherini in a recent speech came out in favour of Britain staying in:
    “On the other hand, a roll-back of European integration would have a very serious economic impact. Think of the potential reintroduction of frontiers, which could cost our economy almost half a trillion euros in a decade.
    “Should British voters decide to leave the EU, the question-mark on Britain’s relationship with the single market could prove very destabilising for British firms.
    “The future of our Union has never been so open. And yet, we need a united Europe more than ever.”
    I see that as a threat.
    Before we even start to negotiate we need to accept the offer of Associate Membership by joining EFTA and the EEA.
    The problem is that we will have also to accept “freedom of movement”. Immigration is something which we are going to have to fight to get our point of view across. The EU people think it is their problem and that nationalities are the problem, not the solution.
    So getting our borders back is going to take some time – years?

    • bluedog
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      A great deal depends on the composition of the British government in the event of Brexit. Following Lord Tebbitt’s intervention, saying publicly what everyone thinks, it seems increasingly unlikely that Cameron can survive as Conservative leader and PM if the referendum backs Brexit. So, assume Cameron and Osborne are relegated to the backbenches, who leads? How efficiently Eurosceptic will they be? There is no reason why an independent British government cannot kick the habit of subservience and unilaterally decide a great deal very quickly. It will simply be a question of telling the EU what the rules are. Two years maybe the timetable within Article 50, we could opt for two months, saving time and money.

  3. stred
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The discrepancy may be because many EU workers come and go back home frequently. My Polish friends go back as often as every fortnight on a cheap flight. Some even work for the airlines and do a shift, landing at their home airport. They live in both countries but are here most of the time, send money home and spend on accommodation and food rather than luxuries. They use the NHS but sometimes have to go home for proper treatment and use their own dentists.

    Others from further east seem to settle and are skilled at working for a while, obtaining a NI number, then qualifying for full benefits, including HB, tax credit and family allowance, rarely going home to see the relations, as they have plenty here.

    • StevenL
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      NI numbers have a black market value as they are “worth” 20% of everything you earn over approx £10k.

  4. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I have been firmly convinced for several years that the true number of Migrants to the UK has been hidden from us. Politicians know, that despite their blathering on about’ diversity ‘ and our ‘moral responsibility’ that the rate of growth in the numbers is very worrying for the majority of people here.
    The truth is that the top Politicians are untouched by this. There will always be good school places for their children, good health care for them and their families, and good housing in a good area. It may sound harsh, but I think many of them are quite happy to see this country ‘sink into the Sea’ as long as they are OK, and they continue to get elected!

    • hefner
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      CG, Difficult not to agree with you.

      Even in areas with relatively high immigration as Berkshire, there are very marked differences between, say, West Reading and the “best parts” of Wokingham-Bracknell-Windsor.

  5. James Matthews
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    It would also be nice to know how many of the 1,25 million are real people, really in the country, and of those that aren’t, how many are being paid benefits.

    Are we being misinformed as much about the scale of fraud as the scale of migration?

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Oh, and a third question, of those that are real people, really in the country, how many are really citizens of the EU?

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Some possible reasons below.

    Surely the number of NI numbers issued will be equal to the gross number of immigrants who arrived here.
    All will want to be able to claim free health care, so it would apply to all members of a family.

    In the past I believe it was only the head of the family that was counted in the official figures, all other family members were excluded is this still the case ?

    It is because the government keep on trying to quote net migration figures that you have what seems a huge difference.

    The problem may also exist because as I understand it, we do not actually count the new people who arrive here, it is an estimate based on a sample.
    If that is the case we do not have a clue really as to the exact amount who arrive, it could be more or less.
    Do we operate the same system for those who we think are leaving ?

    Remember we had a border control system that was “not fit for purpose” for many years, we could be still on catch up mode.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Could it be that we do not vet properly all those who are applying for National Insurance numbers before we simply dish them out.

      A National Insurance number is a very, very valuable document, as it is the key which unlocks a whole lot of Benefits to the holder.

      Could it be that visitors simply apply, using a relatives home address to get such a document, which then would entitle them to become a health tourist for the rest of their life.

  7. Nigel Bennett
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    ALL the facts are readily available on the DWP website at:
    which show exactly how the 630,000 EU migrants who were given NI numbers are accounted for. Total migrants receiving NI numbers for 2015 is given as 883,000 but of course this does not include all those who are here but have not applied for a NI number, such as family members and illegals etc.
    I don’t see how any part of the government, especially the Home Office, can be using a different set of numbers. The figure of 257,000 quote above is clearly spurious and without foundation.
    Surely, another minister has only to request a written answer from Ian Duncan Smith to settle it once and for all, and for it to be raised at PMQs?

    • Chris
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this, NB. I had seen this 883,000 figure mentioned elsewhere and wondered where it came from.

      PS Do hope the Vote Leave event at Wokingham went well. Unfortunately I was not able to be there.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Clearly, they must be made to answer democratic questions,. Either Mrs May is a liar, or not

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what I read lately, I am always amazed at the utter incompetence of the governments in charge at the time. The general public always seem to sense that things are not as we are being told they are and yet the government act as though it is a surprise to them. Just what are they being paid for? The news from the EU that all countries are going to have to take in more migrants is not good. As you say John, how can we plan our needs in future if we don’t know the numbers? Just where are all these people going to live? Where are all the children who have no parents going to go? We can’t even look after our own folk properly let alone take in more from different cultural backgrounds and with all the baggage they will bring. The amount of relatives back home will be another burden when they all come over. I just hope to God we vote OUT but it will take someone really committed to the cause to lead us after a result. What we don’t want is Cameron making a complete hash of it all and then saying to us “This isn’t going to work and we are having another referendum to go back in”!!!!!!! I would put nothing past him. I get the feeling Cameron is less trusted now by the public than ever and all the bad mouthing of cabinet ministers will break the conservative party just like Labour. What a situation to find ourselves in at a time when we need strong government.

  9. turbo terrier
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Well this has come as a big surprise. NOT

    It is the failing of government, what gets measured gets done but of course you have to have a good counting process to start with.

    Where is all the money going to come from for all the public support services I ask myself.

    Will we see those responsible for this “error” if found correct fall on their swords?

    Not holding my breath.

    The whole mess is disgraceful, no wonder they want to keep coming here its too easy to hide under the radar

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Many are now suspicious and disbelieving of any government statistics. Jonathan Portes, a former chief economist at the Department for Work and Pensions, said on a recent Daily Politics programme, that when he asked for details of those NI numbers from HMRC he was told that wasn’t possible because it could influence Cameron’s EU renegotiations!
    Is there a similar discrepancy between the numbers of non-EU migrants and NI numbers issued to non-EU migrants?

  11. agricola
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Is it a case of the Home Office and the Border Force having a totally different record of what is happening to that of HMRC.

    The last recorded net migration figure was 323,000, but that is only half the story. The total number of immigrants for the year ending September 2015 was 617,000. If their intention was to work, draw benefits or both, then they would require a NI number. The fact that 294,000 people left the UK in the same period is irrelevant. If these people had an NI number already they will have taken it with them for administrative purposes like drawing their UK pension or getting an EU Health Card which is issued in the UK.

    Of the 617,000 immigrants 87,000 were returning UK citizens who would in all probability have an NI number so we are talking about 530,000 with a potential requirement for an NI number.

    If you are talking exclusively about the 257,000 immigrants from the EU then it is truly alarming if the 630,000 NI numbers we allocated to EU citizens in the same period. This is pure speculation on my part, but is it possible that when the 257,000 got their cards they also obtained cards for spouses and children. For sure you are right in requesting clarification.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    In many parts of the country we can see that we’re not being told the truth.

    • StevenL
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      They probably are telling the “truth” as they believe it to be. The real truth is that we’re not a police state, the council don’t have CCTV in your house and they have very little actual idea what’s going on.

      • stred
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        If they are ‘telling the truth;, then they are truely stupid.

  13. ian wragg
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    How many have applied for multiple numbers. We are all aware how the culturally diverse amongst us seek to fleece the benefits system.
    I am well aware of an acquaintance who on reaching pension age despite never having worked or paid any taxes starts to draw her pension in a few weeks.
    She is in receipt of a council flat and pays no council tax.
    Yesterday she was complaining to my wife that £160 per week was not enough to live on and when the payments begin she will return home as the cost of living is about a third of the UK.
    Seemingly her benefits to date are in excess of £200 per week and she is annoyed at the reduction.
    Then Gideon wonders why the national debt is £1.6 trillion.
    How many more people are we keeping in a life of luxury when they have no intentionof contributing.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Exactly while many can be working very hard indeed, earning say £60K+ and yet still be left with less than £150PW of disposable income after housing, taxes and commuting costs.

      • hefner
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        LL, Are these £150PW per person or per household?
        If it is per person, I guess a lot of people in the UK could do with that and not complain.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 7, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink


          I count myself as one of LL’s examples and confirm it is £150 per household.

          The middle paid are truly fleeced to subsidise the low and high paid.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The numbers are alarming . Traffic volume , hospitals , schools -the entire public interface is strained to the limit . With the most densely populated country in Europe we cannot be controlled by outside influences ; our borders have to be so secure that we only admit those who will a) contribute successfully to our economy and way of life and b ) those who will not create a burden on our infrastructure ( large families etc ).

    We are a Christian country and it matters that we maintain it ; we speak English and it matters that we keep it , we have laws and it matters that we abide by and keep them . There are other factors as well ( I don’t wish to raise some of them for fear of raising objections ) . Each of these considerations ought to be borne in mind when allowing a migrant to live here ; there should also be time constraints because every new migrant who qualifies to live and work here should not be given permission to do so for ever .

  15. Antisthenes
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Always the perennial dilemma when it comes to any information we are given how accurate is it. Is that information being manipulated by unscrupulous people. Those who have a reason to cover up the truth and those who gain advantage by giving misinformation. Even those who do it for what they believe to be honourable reasons. And most convince themselves that the latter is why they are being mendacious or covering something up.

    Immigration and Brexit are currently the most pressing problems and the most controversial. It will be very distasteful if the choosing of which of the various solutions to these controversies is made by which group of liars we believe the most. By far the best option for solving these two problems is by having as much truthful information as possible available.

    So this discrepancy between official net migration numbers and the number of NI cards is a concern and have implications that maybe far reaching and dangerous for some people. If it can be proved that the conflict in numbers is because the true net figure is considerably higher than the official figure then heads will role and a vested interest(s) will be discredited.

    David Cameron’s reluctance to make finding out the truth possible by handing over data relating to the cards issued makes it look like he is involved in truth manipulation and now cover up. It could of course be that there is an innocent explanation and it is what he tells us it is. I would rather that he did not release the data in case the innocent explanation proves to be correct. As I am just as happy to use others underhanded tactics and rely on malicious gossip, rumour and innuendo to win the case for Brexit and tougher immigration controls.

    That rather contradicts my previous position that it would be wrong for the arguments to be won by those who are the best cheats and liars. But what the heck if you cannot beat them join them (or at least employ the same strategy) a useful truism.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear that you have joined Truth. DC is a liar.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Of course we need to know. Why are the Government being so obstructive? I suspect we can guess.

    We need to know how many of these NI numbers are active and how much tax they are paying of or benefits they are getting. That way we can make a judgement as what the net cost to the government is for the NHS, education, social services, dentists, roads, language lessons, defence, housing, the endless bureaucrats, green crap subsidies, happiness indexes and all the rest of the stuff government (often pointlessly) does.

    We also need to know so that governments and people can plan properly for this increased demand.

  17. acorn
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    JR, has there been a parliamentary answer of how many National Insurance numbers are on the DWP database? Back in 2007, when there was talk of National Identity Cards, there were 76.7 million. DWP reckoned that 9 million were dodgy and would be investigated.

    I reckon about 6.2 million numbers, have been issued to adult overseas nationals since 2007, and 6 million kids will have turned 16. making circa 88 million. But, I don’t know how many have been cancelled, or how many remain active linked to widows pensions and similar.

  18. bigneil
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Simple – either more people have come than thought – or the criminals have multi-registered in several towns just to claim multiple benefits. The scam has been done by many Africans over the years. Those found out are then jailed, then on release and facing deportation, they claim asylum based on a claim of persecution if sent back – -and bingo – stay here for a life on benefits, sponging on the very system that they robbed.

    England – the country where foreign criminals are rewarded with a house, benefits and healthcare -FOR LIFE – never to work or contribute – all for committing crime, even up to murder. Stupidity beyond belief.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

      The current preident of Nigeria has had something to say about this. An honest bloke . Please read.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    John Longworth, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said after careful analysis he has concluded that “the UK would be better off taking a decision to leave the EU”, as he criticised David Cameron’s renegotiation for not going far enough.

    Well done to him – the case for leaving is overwhelming. The case for voting leave in the first referendum overwhelming too, even if you just want a better deal and to remain. Why would anyone vote remain in the first one? (or indeed the second one).

  20. Big D
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    John, I have always taken the ONS migration stats with a very large pinch of salt as for years they have shown the number of Russian-born UK residents at 40k, whereas the Russian Ambassador was talking of 400k Russians in the south-east 10 years ago. For similar, non-EU nationalities, I tend to assume the stats are out by a factor of 10. Ben Judah in his recent book This is London assumes at least 600k illegals in London.

    • Hope
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      JR, it is good for you to highlight. However, there is no curate means of counting people in or out of the country. May has allowed this to continue when she knew there was a problem, when hundreds of thousands of people lost to her system. Cameron has deliberately hidden the figures from the public because it was claimed it would hurt the EU referendum. At what point do you and your colleagues hold Cameron to account and get rid of him? He is going, he has insulted supporters, associations, anyone who likes other parties? We read he had to grovel to Junker for help, aided Hollande when he made veiled threats to our nation and then he made the ultimate insult to those brave souls who gave their life for their country to free the French, not once but twice. Something Hollande should be eternally grateful for as the French capitulated, not once but twice. Instead of making threats to the UK he should proclaim his eternal gratitude for the freedom our brave men gave him, his countrymen and the rest of the countries in the EU.

      • Chris
        Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        But, what is he going to do about this? Vague protestations are no good. Radical action by him is called for. This is incredibly serious.

      • stred
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        May should be ashamed of herself.

      • Ken Moore
        Posted March 7, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Despite this, Conservative mp’s still speak about Cameron with reverential tones, grateful to him that he managed to beat an unelectable opponent.
        It was these same people that actually believed he was more euro sceptic than David Davis!

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Eurosceptics should visit a military cemetery, Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday, as he warned that the “enormous stupidity” of two world wars could return to Europe.

    Perhaps they should, but if they think about it wisely it it will surely just strengthen their desires to leave the EU and restore some democracy – to the UK at least.

    Co-operation of democracies is the way to peace. Not a socialist, command economy, anti-democratic superstate.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Cheeky banking tax avoidance twat! Mymates and I have been visiting the enormous cemeteries for 30 years. Why one of the decendent of the bombers trying to finish the British and free French armyof ids using this argument is beyond me.

      • stred
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        sorry IDS , I meant’ off is.

        • stred
          Posted March 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Must put google grammar on- too not to.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Surely there are two possibilities.
    Firstly, the number of immigrants is being grossly understated or
    Secondly, some immigrants are collecting more than one number and conceivably using them somehow to commit benefit fraud.
    There could, I suppose be the possibility that some of the NI numbers were issued to non-EU immigrants in the belief that they came from the EU, but to me this seems unlikely.
    I can’t believe the suggestion being put around by some in the media that it’s due to immigrants returning home for a while and then coming back and getting a new number because they are not aware the old one is valid.
    Whatever the cause, the public should be given the information now, before the referendum, particularly as more people are seeing ever increasing immigration as a reason for voting ‘Out’. No doubt Cameron will prevaricate until after the vote.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Well, there is another possibility, that two branches of the state apparatus are using two different definitions of “immigrant” so their statistics are not comparable.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      British people who wish to live in France can stay most of the year, come home for a few weeks, and continue to be taxed as British. EU citizens can come here too and do the same. If they work for a large EU company, such as an airline, they can be paid in their own country. If on the black market,it doesn’t matter. Either way they live in another country, while being counted in another.

      • hefner
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Strictly speaking, it is not “a few weeks” but at least 183 days. The respective Border Agencies should (in principle) be able to check that.

  23. miami.mode
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It has been previously pointed out that you only need an NI number and an address to obtain a UK EHIC card which can be used to get non-emergency treatment in some European countries the cost of which is then charged back to the UK. Control of government expenditure often seems so lax that a medical description would be diarrhoea.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I think one key to this discrepancy may be in that “EU migrants officially recognised”, because apparently the ONS uses the UN definition:

    “Length of stay: In its analyses of migration flows into and out of Britain, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses the UN definition of ‘long-term international migrant’: “A person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least a year [….] so that the country of destination effectively becomes his or her new country of usual residence”.”


    “The main source of data on this is the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which is in turn the basis for ONS estimates of net migration … for any given individual arriving in the UK, we do not know how long they will stay. IPS data are based on respondents’ intentions rather than recording what they actually do.”

    While on the other hand officially you need a National Insurance number to work even for part of a day, or if you or your partner are claiming benefits:

    So this means that if somebody from another EU country says on arrival that they only intend to stay for a short time, for a variety of reasons, they do not get counted into the numbers of EU immigrants by the ONS, but if they then want to do any work officially they must get a National Insurance number.

    The ONS do try to refine their statistics:

    “In calculating its estimates of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM), the ONS attempts to adjust for ‘switchers’ – those who stay longer than intended or depart sooner than intended – but this is only an estimate and is also based on self-reports.”

    Therefore it seems that the ONS do not know with any accuracy how many people from the rest of the EU are in the country at any time, legally, let alone how many people from outside of the EU are in the country at any time, legally or illegally.

  25. hefner
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    So, the UK does not know how migrants are on its soil. And it is an island.
    And the UK health system takes one, two, three weeks+, to deliver a death certificate.

    Fortunately, after Brexit, all these problems will be things of the past.

    • Hope
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said. But you might ember that border agency staff are not allowed to ask EU citizens why they are coming to our country or how long they are going to stay. How can it possibly imagined, or claimed, that a we are safer in the EU! As for the EU arrest warrant, ask the poor family who were detained for taking their child for better treatment abroad than they could get in the UK, or the citizen incarcerated in Greece without the protections of our own legal and judicial system. Just imagine the Eatern European countries you could be whisked away to and detained without proper evidence!

      • Chris
        Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Well said. This situation is unacceptable.

    • stred
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      Well it would be a start.

  26. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Peter Oborne is spot on today as he says:-

    The truth is that George Osborne has been the most profligate Chancellor in recent British history. Despite being a Tory, his recklessness is of a scale that makes Gordon Brown (who sprayed vast amounts of money at Labour’s vested interest groups) look like a miser in comparison.

    Also he has managed to double Tolley’s Tax Guide by approximately five million words now totaling around ten million.

    So lots more unproductive jobs and wasted time for directors, staff, lawyers, bureaucrats, tax book publishers and accountants. Is his aim to damage the UK’s competitivity before breakfast, lunch and dinner – thus reducing the tax take too?

  27. Yosarion
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    John, back in the mid to late nineties I was told by a mid ranking recently retired Met officer that the their official figure for London was Seven Million, the unofficial figure was Eleven Million, I dread to think what those figures would be today.

  28. oldtimer
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    It sounds, and probably is, out of control. Quite possibly an EU migrant has more than one NI number if this is beneficial in securing benefits from the UK. The potential scope for fraud, using multiple identities, is huge. This possibility should be added to the reasons for this matter to be clarified forthwith.

    Somewhat off topic I learned yesterday evening, from a source who was in a posiiton to know, that the Cabinet Office employed 3000 staff during the last coalition government! It was said it has probably declined, but only by a little, under the current government. Perhaps some of them should be enlisted to demystify the question you have asked – though whether Mr Cameron would actually permit them to publish anything detrimental to his Project Fear campaign must be not so much open to doubt as an utterly risible notion.

  29. Dennis
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    A point I believe has not been made before about the number of current Syrian migrants who will perhaps stay in the UK and Europe.

    Those migrants presently staying in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordon mostly will return to Syria when conditions there are favourable (who knows when though?) but those who are in Europe and coming will in my view will mostly wish to stay in Europe. Is this view reasonable?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I don’t imagine any refugees or migrants in UK or Germany or anywhere else will ever go home, and by invoking the right to family life argument they won’t have to. It seems burning their passports so it is unclear where they came from is also a useful tactic.

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Not just reasonable, but pretty much a certainty. Over the decades I have encountered many people who have claimed refuge here from intolerant regimes or physical distress of one kind or another. I can not think of a single example of anyone going home after the conditions they allegedly fled from changed for the better. People know where they are better off (although, sadly, their children and grandchildren often don’t).

  30. lojolondon
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    John, I am sure you saw the FOI request put to the Home Office for the number of new NI cards issued, and that the outrageous response was that they accepted the FOI question, but would delay the response until after July SO AS NOT TO AFFECT THE REFERENDUM RESULTS!

  31. Dennis
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Off topic:-

    How to find out how much prostitution and illegal drug business was done in each EU country to calculate contributions to the EU?

  32. Margaret
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    WE now have forms in our practice asking if the patient is insured or not ?

  33. Anonymous
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    630,000 = 7 packed Wembley stadia. Picture it.

    No wonder there is a housing crisis and homelessness has doubled.

    Anyone who says that this hasn’t had an effect is either a liar or an idiot.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Or both of course.

      It has also suppressed wages as the remain side (Sir Stuart Rose) freely admits. It has also made huge demand on the NHS, schools, roads, transport, the police, social services …..while most pay no where near enough taxes to cover these – for a start they need a place to live which might cost £200K+ to build.

      We need selective immigration from all the World, not the current (clearly racist) system of open door to all of the EU.

  34. Margaret
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    We also recommend that a pension is taken out .. Our 40-50 years have been diminished significantly. I am slightly emotional and burnt out this week fighting off the money gods. Those who can only see their lives in terms of money and status. When I qualified my nursing school badge was based on the cross ‘the healer’ . I do not believe in the thing in itself, but when it went out of my possession, many died. I had taken it to the jewellers to be repaired. This phenomena of amulets may not be as bizarre as it sounds when you consider a long line of people repeating a healing process and then a break in the line of healing causing disruption. This ,more likely a coincidence makes us examine introspectively and look at the way we conduct ourselves looking after the ill. I cried when it was out of my possession as the signification of people before money was misplaced temporarily and the reticence of the jeweller to return it to me as an important artefact of the past upset me.
    We do need money , but do we have to pander to these people making money out of our very souls before we die.

  35. ian
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Zombie Britain

  36. HK1
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    It is an absolute disgrace that any politician – let alone a Prime Minister – would encourage leaders of a foreign country (France in this case) to threaten his own country.

    • Gary C
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I agree it is outrageous, Cameron is selling our soul to the EU . . . . He should be tried for treason.

    • hefner
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      You might be a bit too tough on poor Cameron. There are plenty of people in North of France who would be delighted to be rid of the Calais jungle.

      Moreover if one believes French “tabloids” (Parisien Libere), there are plenty of French people who obviously consider Brexit as a pure British problem, but which they hope will be solved once and for all when the “whinging English” are out.
      There might be a gap between what the elite and the people say, and it exists not only in the UK but also in other continental countries. But it might be that Hollande did not need much push to say what he said.

  37. The Active Citizen
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    A viewer’s impression: JR, you did a great piece to camera on Sky News this afternoon. I thought you made excellent points very fluently and you weren’t interrupted. You spoke for 1min 22secs.

    At around 4pm, they replayed your interview, followed by a studio interview with the Deputy Director of BSE. For once she was interrupted and questioned about what she said. However she got 4min 1sec – three times your allocation.

    So there were pluses and minuses, from a media balance point of view. Overall though, BSE had much more time to make more points, which Lucy Thomas took advantage of, and of course she had ‘the last word’ because she followed you. I mention this purely as a snapshot of the media’s treatment whenever a Leave spokesperson speaks.

    Still, I was left with a really good impression – good content, and put across in a way that really meant something to the viewer. If only you were chair of a small panel each morning for a televised ‘Brexit Breakfast Briefing’ for the media!

  38. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    He just gave his very sensible personal opinion did he not? What on earth is wrong with that? It seems to me that perhaps the organisation has agreed to be neutral and the “remain” side are trying now to make an issue of it to get their “remain” view across.

    I really cannot see why such good betting odds are still available on a “leave” vote winning. No one wants to pay a huge fee to have open door non-selective immigration, rule from Brussels and the destruction of UK democracy do they? It is like asking the English if they want the SNP to hold the balance of power with Ed Miliband.

    Voters will surely vote leave. Everyday more and more of the public realise how the remain side simply have no arguments, just project fear (and project lets cover up the NI numbers).

    • sm
      Posted March 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      “Voters will surely vote leave” – er, no, many will vote Remain; several, though by no means all, of my friends will do so because they believe the UK has a duty to remain in the EU to prevent its rupture!

      While helping to support an ‘Out’ stall in our town today, I met several members of the public who asserted that we were “stupid”, or “bloody idiots”, and were quite unpleasant to us.

      • James Matthews
        Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        ” they believe the UK has a duty to remain in the EU to prevent its rupture! ”

        Really? A strange attitude. The EU is a Franco – German project which operates mostly for the benefit of France and Germany, particularly Germany. It is one to which we were a very late comer (and judging by the response to Cameron, not one the rest of the members much care about). If it is so fragile that it can’t survive Brexit it doesn’t deserve to.

        We have no duty to preserve the EU, nor should we want to.

        It was a bit rude people to call you idiots. It is, however, what millions think.

  39. Chris
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Express is reporting:
    Britain could spark EU WAR: Juncker says UK could BREAK Brussels peace.
    BRUSSELS chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned Britain could spark World War Three if it votes to leave the European Union (EU).

    I think the Remain camp have only themselves to blame for headlines such as these.
    I think Juncker is hardly an asset to the Europhiles and only serves to attract ridicule.

    • hefner
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Yes, and according to the same Sunday Express, the end of the world is nigh.

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes this debate becomes quite surreal, but I really would be fascinated to know how Juncker thinks Brexit might precipitate war and between whom?

      Does he think that without British calming influence (!) Germany and France will resume hostilities? Or will Germany and France jointly attack Britain, the vanguard coming through the tunnel disguised as asylum seekers? Will Putin be tempted to invade Poland in the expectation that, because Britain isn’t in the EU, NATO won’t react.

      Can’t think of any other possibilities, but all suggestions welcome.

  40. StevenL
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I once worked in a pub (2001) where the chef had 2 national insurance numbers. I asked him how and he said You get one, then you see someone dodgy and you buy another one

    The 0% allowance is per NI number, not per person.

  41. ChrisS
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s really very, very simple :

    CMD is refusing to release the figures and other info around the quantity of NI numbers issued.

    There can be only one reason for this : the figures have to be damaging to the Government and the Remain campaign.

    All the more reason to wind up the pressure until they have to give in.
    Has anyone submitted a FOI request yet ?

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Related to this is one simple question:

    “How efficient are we at sending home those whose applications for asylum have been turned down?”

    I ask this because I have read that well over 50% of them are still here. What are the facts?

    If there have been practical problems in returning these people home – particularly if they won’t tell us where home is – we need to create a ‘devil’s island’ that will be their temporary home until they co-operate.

  43. stred
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    As a suggestion to improve anyone’s input . Use Google grammar. It works very well. Unfortunately not on it presently.

  44. Excalibur
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    My eldest daughter, born to English parents, both born in England, who is a British passport holder, had to bleed from the tear ducts to obtain a NI number, because she was born in Malaya. Why are they being handed out like confetti now ?

  45. ChrisS
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Excellent performance by Boris on the Marr program this morning, despite constant interruptions from Marr all the way through. He asked important questions then wouldn’t listen to the answers.

    Despite Marr’s best efforts, Boris got his points across. Marr should be reprimanded for his performance.

  46. ChrisS
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Project Fear moves on to Project Threat :

    Franck Dhersin, Mayor of Teteghem, a suburb of Dunkirk, said the 2003 Touquet agreement will be torn up immediately after a Brexit vote and all the migrants around the channel ports will be immediately put onto hired DFDS ferries and sent across to the UK!
    He also said that French gendarmes would be called in to police the vessels when the evacuations begin.

    Well, firstly it isn’t an agreement between the channel ports and the UK, it is an international agreement between the two states that has nothing to do with the EU.

    Secondly, if the French are happy for their ships to be stuck sailing up and down the channel without an agreement to land the migrants, that’s up to them.

    Somehow I doubt whether it will come to that. Common sense will prevail, I’m sure.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted March 6, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      What will it take for the ‘British public’ to see through the Eu ?.
      It really feels that even if the Eu decided to murder all first born babies the pollsters would be telling us that the IN side are leading in the polls. I have never seen a case which is so overwhelmingly clear be so skewed by lies and scaremongering. It’s just depressing more can’t see through this.

      A club doesn’t have to issue threats to keep it’s members – but a protection racket does. Why can’t ‘the people’ that answer the ‘opinion polls (about 40-50% of them) who want to stay IN see this’.
      Even if they can’t be bothered to think about the arguments surely anyone with a basic grasp of maths can see that importing 3 – 600,000 newcomers as dictated by Eu rules isn’t sustainable and is going to drive living standards down ?.

      Voting IN is a vote for a national suicide and a leap into a darkness that will be all but irreversible. Maybe if the nation votes IN it deserves what it has got coming – there have been enough warnings.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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