Home office response to opinion poll.

April 03, 2006

The Home Office have made three points in reply to the Migrationwatch opinion poll issued today (see poll) which showed that 76 % of the population back an annual limit on immigration. None of their points stands up to a moment’s examination:

1. That the survey reflects the views of a "small fraction of the UK population".

Many polls are conducted on the basis of 500 to a 1000 respondents. In this case, there were 2000 and YOUGOV have confirmed that the poll is accurate plus or minus 2-3%.

2. That the "UK has a smaller foreign born population than Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Germany and France.

The first four of these countries are entirely built on immigration. In any case the real issue is the scale that immigration has now reached. Under Labour foreign immigration has trebled, reaching 342,000 in 2004 - that is more than the entire population of Bristol.

3. "Migrants generate 10 % of UK GDP while representing only 8% of the UK population"

This was dismissed long ago by the Statistics Commission, an independent watchdog. Immigrants make up 8% of the working population but they have higher unemployment and fewer wives work. In fact, therefore, they comprise 10% of the population of working age and produce 10% of GDP.

We took up this point with the Statistics Commission. They came down on our side. The Chairman wrote "The points discussed above highlight again a concern that the Statistics Commission has raised in other contexts - where policy documents rest their arguments on statistical statements those statistical statements ought to be formally approved by professional statisticians. It is not enough to get the statistic points "more or less right". We will raise this with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Home Office."

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green said ‘The Home Office are clearly scraping the barrel. You can see why. With 76% wanting an annual limit on immigration and only 10% opposing, and also with only 10% believing that the Government are listening, the Government have a serious problem with public opinion which they are continually ignoring.’

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