John Baron MP: ONS must come clean on immigration figures

April 1, 2016
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MP says public deserve explanation before the EU Referendum

The UK Statistics Authority has written to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), stating the public must be informed if published migration data ‘falls short of providing a full picture’. The letter was sparked by the revelation that the DWP issues 1.3 million more national insurance numbers to EU migrants than the ONS says move to Britain each year.

This issue has been raised both by Parliament’s Public Administration Select Committee in 2013 and most recently by Jonathan Portes, a former civil servant and Principal Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. His FOI request to access the data was blocked by HMRC on the grounds it would be ‘unhelpful’ to the Government’s renegotiation discussions.

John said,

“I am pleased the UK Statistics Authority is investigating the worrying discrepancy between the much larger number of NI numbers issued to EU migrants and the Government’s number of migrants apparently arriving each year. Where have these 1.3 million additional numbers gone? We need to know before the referendum.”

“It is concerning the Government is unwilling to release these figures, and feeds into suspicions that immigration is being understated. Only by leaving the EU can we take proper control of immigration, and gain the ability to design a fairer points-based policy open to the whole world, not just the EU.”

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