MigrationWatch - a bit crap aren't they? But are they getting worse?

There's a press release on the MigrationWatch site at the moment (oh, and the 'editorial blog site', which doesn't appear to accept comments) with the headline 'One in Twelve Social Houses Occupied by Foreign Nationals'.

You might think that would be a bit of good news for the 'not anti-immigration, honest guv' pretend think tank, since last year the EHRC produced a report showing that one in ten people in social housing were migrants. There's been a 2 per cent drop. Except, apparently it illustrates that the EHRC report was 'deeply misleading'. Is that because it overestimated the number of immigrants in social housing?

Surprisingly, no.

Sir Andrew Green has this to say:
"This finally destroys the myth that less than 2% of council and housing association tenants are recent immigrants. It further underlines the failure of the previous government to address the housing crisis despite encouraging massive levels of immigration".
Plus, the press release's Note to Editors has this to say:
In April 2008 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Local Government Association (LGA) published a study by the IPPR which claimed that less than 2% of social housing was taken up by foreign born people who arrived in the UK in the previous 5 years. That formulation was deeply misleading as today's figure illustrate.
The new figures illustrate nothing of the sort.

For a start, the two studies measure different things entirely.  The EHRC study measures the number of people in social housing who were born overseas.  That would include UK citizens and non-citizens.  The English Housing Survey measures the number of households occupied by non-nationals only.

More importantly, the English Housing Survey does not break up its figures into recent and non-recent migrants. Even if the two reports measured the same thing, there would be absolutely nothing in the English Housing Survey that corresponds with the EHRC's 2% figure.  People who are non-UK nationals did not necessarily arrive in the UK in the last five years.

In any case, both studies show that immigrants are less likely to be in social housing than everyone else.

This press release just focuses on one specific subtotal in the EHRC stats that are not related to anything in the the English Housing Survey at all, and gives the misleading impression that this was the EHRC's total.  It's transparently rubbish.

Perhaps that explains why not even the Daily Express seems to have picked this up.

This is not the only MigrationWatch blunder in recent weeks. Just before I went off on holiday last month, the pretend think-tank attempted to sue Sally Bercow for libel over something she said about a Daily Express article that covered one of their 'studies'. While I was away, they had their bottoms handed to them and backed down, which made me chuckle.

Also while I was away, MigrationWatch produced another 'study' about the number of immigrant schoolchildren we'll be seeing invading our schools in the coming years and how much they would apparently cost the rest of us (if you discount the tax contribution of migrants themselves, of course). Although this one got wide tabloid coverage, it was comprehensively trashed by the ippr and Philippe Legrain. Although they attempted a defence or two, it appeared to be a pisspoor one, which Legrain destroyed in a few short paragraphs.

With any luck, this new blunder and lack of attending coverage signals a loss of MigrationWatch's tabloid-baiting skills. Don't hold your breath though.

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