We did know how many stay after all

While typing up the last post, I came across something in the BBC 'Record number of people leave UK' story that I was going to make an offhand comment about - but I think it deserves a post of its own.

The thing I came across was this:
Meanwhile, the figures also indicated that during the same period, 74,000 people arrived in the UK from the eastern European countries that joined the European Union in 2004, while 16,000 people from those countries left.

However, according to Home Office statistics, around 200,000 people from the same countries registered for work in the UK during that time.

Campaign group Migrationwatch said the figures did not add up.
Followed by a quote from Sir Andrew Green.

This is the offhand comment I was going to make:

It doesn't take a feckin' genius to work out why there's a diference in the immigration figures and the Worker Registration Scheme figures if the immigration ones only count people who have been here for a year.

Since I wasn't 100% sure if that was why there's a difference I would have said so and left it at that. But then I noticed the next bit of the BBC report:
But the Home Office said that while the ONS figures only included those staying in the UK for more than a year, its statistics featured all short-term applications for work, as well as applications from those who may never arrive in the country.
Which made my point clear for me. This is something I've suspected but wasn't sure of for a while. The Mail's 700,000 figure counts every single person from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 that have ever applied to come to work in the UK. Even the ones who never turned up. But the ONS figures count every eastern European who actually came and stayed for a year or more. The first bit of that deserves a bold paragraph of its own.

The Mail's 700,000 figure counts every single person from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 that have ever applied to come to work in the UK. Even the ones who never turned up.

We can actually find out how many have stayed long term by counting the ONS immigration statistics, which count people who stay for a year or more. According to these figures, last year 74,000 new eastern Europeans had been here for a year, and 16,000 who had been here for more than a year left. That's a net gain in one year of just 58 - 59,000. The Mail will have been counting that figure as well over 200,000.

The ONS News Release that the articles all take their figures from includes figures from past years for this. Since 2003-2004, there's been a total inflow of just 171,000 people who have come from the A8 eastern European countries to live in the UK for more than a year until the middle of last year. In the same period, there's been an outflow of 29,000. So the total number of eastern Europeans from those countries who have come to stay in the UK for a year or more since one year before accession to mid 2006 is just 144,000. Even if we're really, really generous and assume that the number will jump to a net of over 100,000 next year and pretend that next year's figures will show 250,000 staying here for more than a year overall, the Mail is still overestimating the number by 450,000 when it quotes its 700,000 figure, like it did yesterday.

Since I started this blog, there have been times where I'm staggered by how much the tabloids exaggerate and distort figures. This is one of them. I'm astonished that nobody anywhere seems to have covered the actual difference between these figures and the way they're distorted by the press and MigrationWatch. The dishonesty in ignoring these figures in favour of ones that show the numbers to be several times higher - and then adding more on by always making sure to point out that the real number will be higher because the WRS doesn't count the self-employed is pretty astounding. Back in the article I covered in '24% of Polish people want to kill us in our beds!' James Slack said:

Figures released last week revealed that 640,000 Eastern Europeans, most of them Poles, have registered to work in Britain.

The true total is likely to be even higher as, in most cases, the Government keeps no record of the self-employed, spouses or children. Some estimates put the figure at 800,000.

Even adjusting the 144,000 to add an extra year's worth onto the total gets you nowhere near 800,000. In that article, Slack argued that based on 640,000 coming to the UK, 166,000 would want to stay for good. But we know that the real figure is far lower now.

The BBC itself here doesn't cover itself in glory. Although it covers the discrepancy in the figures and includes an explanation, it actually gives more weight to MigrationWatch. It does this in a few ways. Firstly in giving a subheading about the figures being questioned, secondly by foregrounding the alleged discrepancy in the BBC's own words, thirdly by including Sir Andrew Green's reaction to the supposed discrepancy in a direct quote while relegating the explanation to an indirect one, and lastly by naming Sir Andrew Green but only attributing the explanation to the discrepancy to just 'the Home Office'.

I can understand why people wouldn't want to use year old figures in articles and reports, but the situation here is farcical. The BBC would be accused of left-wing bias if it didn't give due prominence to MigrationWatch, but it's pretty clear from this that MigrationWatch is talking out of its bottom. The BBC should be able to give Sir Andrew Green the short shrift he deserves.

Instead, the guy has been pretty successful in setting the agenda for the entire country's approach to immigration, and we're supposed to believe the media has a left-wing bias. And a Polish plumber came out of my bum last time I did a poo.

1 comment:

septicisle said...

One other thing worth pointing is that the accession figures document has a survey of migrants asking them how long they intended to stay. I can't open it to check at the minute as my reader's repeatedly crashing, but the vast majority all stated they only intended to be here for 3 months and then return home. The fact that this is very rarely mentioned is part of the lie that all those who have come here since 2004 have stayed, when it's completely untrue, as those figures about the number of people leaving Britain only counts those who have been here for over a year.